Are you facing criminal charges in the state of New Hampshire? How will you find an experienced criminal lawyer? What penalties might you be facing? And what about the possibility of jail time?
Prepare yourself by learning about your local criminal justice system and criminal law in general.
Technically, the answer is no, marijuana is not legal in New Hampshire. Possessing, cultivating, or selling weed is still illegal under New Hampshire state law and federal law. However, New Hampshire state law has decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana for personal use. Possession of up to three-fourths of an ounce of marijuana is not an arrestable offense, nor will it go on your criminal record.
Possession of less than three-fourths of an ounce on first offense has a penalty of $100. Anyone 21 and older caught with marijuana-infused products like drinks or edibles faces the same fine.
Possession of more than this amount bumps the charge up from a criminal violation to a misdemeanor drug possession. You could face up to one year in prison, a fine of up to $350, and a permanent criminal record.
Anyone with a qualifying medical condition is eligible for the New Hampshire Therapeutic Cannabis Program.
The state of New Hampshire defines a misdemeanor as a crime punishable by either a fine or no more than 12 months in jail.
Two classes of misdemeanors exist in New Hampshire:
Class A misdemeanors: include crimes such as simple assault, stalking, and property damage from $100 to $1,000 which is known as criminal mischief. Class A Misdemeanor penalties are punishable by a fine of no more than $2,000 and no more than 12 months in jail.
Class B misdemeanors: includes driving while intoxicated (DWI) for first offense only, as well as other non-violent crimes. Penalties for Class B misdemeanors may involve license suspension or revocation for certain crimes such as DWIs, or possibly an additional fine of up to $1,200.
Felonies are the most severe criminal charges. There are two classes within this category of criminal cases.
Each felony class is punishable by a maximum penalty as defined by state statute. In addition, a judge also may order you to pay a fine. While the courts may go over the maximum prison sentence in cases where the defendant is a repeat offender, the courts cannot reduce a mandatory minimum.
Both misdemeanor and felony convictions will remain a permanent part of your criminal record in New Hampshire, potentially making it harder to find a job or secure housing in the future.
There are severe penalties for drunk driving in New Hampshire. Drunk driving is commonly referred to as driving while intoxicated (DWI) and driving under the influence (DUI). If you refuse a breath test to determine your blood alcohol content (BAC) level, you automatically lose your license for 180 days under the state’s implied consent law.
New Hampshire law states that a BAC of over .08% will result in a DWI/DUI for anyone of legal drinking age. Police officers can also charge you with a DWI if your BAC is below the legal limit if they believe your driving is impaired. One glass of wine during happy hour after work could result in a DWI charge if law enforcement catches you speeding or passing another motor vehicle improperly due to driving under the influence.
For those under the age of 21, BAC rules are much stricter at just .02%.
In general, DWI/DUI penalties on a first offense may include:
Note that a DWI charge is the same as many driving under the influence (DUI) charges in other states. New Hampshire also has a drugged driving law on the books. Anyone caught driving with detectable levels of any illegal drugs in their system will face criminal charges. Working with a criminal defense lawyer can help you establish a strong DUI defense and avoid additional legal issues.
Who you choose for your legal representation can make all the difference in your case. You need to trust the legal advice you receive and trust the attorney-client relationship. Here are a few suggested factors to consider before hiring a criminal lawyer:
Depending on your circumstances and the criminal charges you face, these questions may help you evaluate trial lawyers and criminal defense attorneys in order to choose the one best suited to resolving your matter.
An arrest and conviction can change everything. Fines or time in jail are the immediate concern, but a conviction will also mean a criminal record that can make it harder to find a job and housing for years to come. If you are arrested or learn you are under investigation, the first thing you should do is contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. You can search LawInfo’s legal directory to find a local criminal defense attorney who can protect your rights, lay out your options, and help you determine the best way to proceed with mounting a defense and limiting potential penalties.