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New Hampshire Criminal Law: An Overview

Perhaps you've been charged with a crime and you're preparing yourself by looking up the possible penalties you'll face. Maybe you're a victim and you want to know your rights to restitution or protection against your aggressor. New Hampshire's criminal laws can be complex, but LawInfo can help simplify things and get you the help you need.

Use LawInfo's criminal law articles to help educate yourself about New Hampshire's laws and how they affect your case. You can learn about the difference between misdemeanors and felonies, intoxicated driving charges and many other state-specific criminal law topics. You can also use LawInfo to connect with a New Hampshire criminal law attorney in Manchester, Nashua, Concord or elsewhere in the state.

New Hampshire Capital Punishment

The most serious felony offense, capital murder, is also subject to the most severe sentence in New Hampshire's criminal laws: capital punishment, also known as the death penalty. However, not a single death row inmate has been executed since 1939. In fact, there is no state execution chamber.

According to state law, capital murder is when a criminal intentionally kills:

  • Another person in addition to committing or attempting a kidnapping felony.
  • Another person in addition to committing or attempting a sexual assault felony.
  • Another person in addition to committing or attempting a Class A drug felony.
  • Another person after being sentenced to life imprisonment without parole.
  • A legal occupant of a building in which the criminal committed or attempted to commit a burglary felony.
  • Another person for financial gain or by proxy for the promise of financial gain.
  • A judicial or law enforcement officer.

Crime Classifications in New Hampshire

Every state has its own system of classifying crimes which also identifies the statutory punishments for each classification. New Hampshire has two main criminal offense classifications, in order of seriousness: felonies and misdemeanors. There are also non-criminal offenses called violations.

Felonies include murder offenses and any offenses that are penalized with more than one year of imprisonment. Besides a murder felony, all felony offenses (except for corporate ones) are classified as Class A or Class B felonies. Class A felonies are penalized with more than seven years of imprisonment while Class B felonies are penalized with between one and seven years of imprisonment.

Misdemeanors are less serious crimes than felonies. They are divided into Class A and Class B misdemeanors. Class A misdemeanors are penalized with up to one year of imprisonment and no more than a $2,000 fine. Class B misdemeanors are nonviolent crimes that only incur fines of up to $1,200.

New Hampshire Miranda Warning

"You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you."

Most people in the United States have heard this line at least once in TV shows or movies when the police are arresting a suspect. Hollywood didn't make it up, though. It's part of the Miranda Warning, which is a real warning that New Hampshire must recite when arresting a suspect who they intend to interrogate.

Your Miranda Rights protect you from self-incrimination as long as you don't voluntarily reveal potentially incriminating information to the police. The police aren't required to recite the Miranda Warning anytime they ask you a question, though—only when you are under arrest for interrogation. You can still incriminate yourself with information given outside of interrogation, so be careful of what you say to the police outside of the station.

If you believe that you can't talk to the police without self-incrimination, your Miranda Rights include access to an attorney if you can't afford one.

Speak to an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney Today

This article is intended to be helpful and informative. But even common legal matters can become complex and stressful. A qualified criminal defense lawyer can address your particular legal needs, explain the law, and represent you in court. Take the first step now and contact a local criminal defense attorney to discuss your specific legal situation.

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