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From arrest to trial in a NH DWI case

NH DUI GUYServing all of N.H. Offices Nashua, Manchester, Concord, Portsmouth Call 24/7:  (603) 821-0319

From arrest to trial in a NH DWI case

From Arrest to Trial

Once you are arrested, the criminal process against you will begin. If you made bail that night, you will be given a future date for an arraignment. If you did not post bail, your arraignment will usually be held at the next available court session.


Administrative License Suspension Hearings (ALS)

If you refused a breath test, or gave a test above the legal limit, you will lose your license for 6 months or 2 years, UNLESS YOU ARE SUCCESSFUL AT AN ADMINISTRATIVE LICENSE SUSPENSION HEARING. YOU MUST REQUEST THIS HEARING WITHIN 30 DAYS, IT IS NOT AUTOMATICALLY GIVEN TO YOU. DON'T WAIT TO THE LAST DAY TO REQUEST THE HEARING AS IT TAKES A FEW WEEKS TO GET ONE.

Arraignment

A few things will happen at your arraignment. First, you will be notified of the charges against you and receive copies of the complaint.

The Court will ask you how you plea to the charge. The answer will usually be not guilty. There are certain circumstances where it is better to plead guilty at an arraignment rather than further down the line. Particularly, in refusal cases. Contact a lawyer to make sure this is in your best interest.

If you plea not guilty, the Court will address bail, and perhaps modify it. The purpose of bail is to ensure you appear at Court, and to protect others if you are found to be a danger to society.

For a first offense DWI, bail is typically set as personal recognizance (PR), which is basically your promise to appear in Court to answer the charges. For second offenses, or aggravated DWI, the Judge will sometimes issue cash or cash/surety bail; which means you must come up with money before you are released from jail.

 

Discovery

Discovery is a legal term which means you will have access to all of the records the prosecutor has. This includes police reports, your driving record and criminal record, and any witness statements. Once you or your lawyer has these documents, the facts of your case can be better analyzed (at least according to anticipated testimony of the arresting officer).

 

Pre-trial motions

During the time you are awaiting trial, certain pre-trial motions may be filed. These include motions to suppress (which seek to keep out unlawfully obtained evidence), and motions to dismiss (which, if granted, would result in the charge against you being dismissed).

 

 

Plea Negotiations

At some point during the pre-trial phase, the State may make a plea offer. A plea offer is an agreement where the State will make a certain recommendation in exchange for a guilty plea. Sometimes the State will offer to reduce charges in exchange for a plea offer. In other cases the State will make a certain recommendation.

In a case where both sides ask for the same plea offer, that is called a negotiated disposition. When the State asks for a certain maximum sentence, yet you can ask for any sentence, that is referred to as a capped plea. In that instance, the Judge cannot go over the recommendation of the prosecutor.

Every case that involves a negotiated disposition or capped plea will have to go in front of the Judge for approval. If the Judge does not accept the agreement then the plea will be withdrawn and the case will proceed to trial, or the plea conditions may be modified if that is something the Judge proposes.

 

Trial

If you are going to fight your case and reject plea offers, you will eventually have trial. The trial is in front of a jury of 6 people, or you can have a bench trial (trial by a judge).

No matter which type of trial you have, make sure you show up in appropriate clothing. The Jury, and to a lesser extent Judges, will often make certain assumptions of you based upon your appearance and demeanor. Dress in business attire and you will be fine. Whatever you do, do not wear a shirt that has a logo for some beer company, and do not appear disheveled or in any manner that may lead the jury to believe you have a problem with alcohol.

In regard to demeanor, do not speak unless directed to by your lawyer or the Judge. If you have any questions write them down for your lawyer to see. Try to not constantly interrupt and talk to your lawyer during the trial as he must be focused on listening to the evidence.

During a trial the State will go first, calling their first witness. You or your lawyer then has an opportunity to question the witness. After the prosecutor is done with all his witnesses he will rest. At this time certain motions may be made. Then, it is your turn to present evidence or witnesses, or just rest and have the Judge/Jury decide the case.

Disclaimer: Past results do not guarantee a future outcome. Results include cases in both Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Attorney Dan Hynes is admitted to practice law only in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. This website may be considered advertising. Contacting us does not create an attorney/client relationship and the information on this site is not legal advice and may be inaccurate or not applicable to your case. Each case is different.

Mailing Address: Dan Hynes PO BOX 598 Merrimack, NH 03054