Legal Question in Criminal Law in New Hampshire

first degree assault in NH

PersonA is charged with multiple counts of attempted first degree assault No one was hurt except for PersonA. Person responsible for shooting PersonA was not arrested. PersonA has been incarcerated for 5 months has been indicted and had 1 hearing, pub defender filed motion for discovery and its been almost 30days and it seems like nothing is happening. Lawyers haven’t even fought for bail reduction. 2nd hearing scheduled in two & ½ weeks is there a max amount of time to disclose all discovery? Is there a max amount of time to ask for bail reduction? Is there a law against attorney discussing case with spouse? Is there a law that prohibits wife from testifying against husband? What can I expect at the next hearing? Should I seek private counsel? It seems like the lawyer is expecting to take a plea bargain? What type of jail time can I expect with a deal since he is facing 30 to 60 years? Any chances of probation since first offense? If goes to trial what can I expect? Any advice please. Thanks. God Bless you!

Case is in superior court in NH

Asked on 9/18/07, 4:43 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

James Dennehy Dennehy Law Group, PLLC
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Re: first degree assault in NH

First Degree Assault is a very serious felony in NH. The level of the offense is not determined by the harm caused but by the potential harm caused. In NH, when a person is arrested for a felony, they usually appear in District Court first for arraignment and then a preliminary hearing. At the preliminary a determination of probable cause is made by the judge. If there was a hearing then the police will usually hold the discovery until after the case gets to superior court. If the hearing was waived, the police usually give up the discovery early. After the preliminary hearing, the case is then bound over to superior court. In the bound over phase, the case usually sits and nothing happens for 90 days until an indictment is filed by the prosecutor. Once indictment is filed, there is another arrignment in superior court and then case is scheduled for trial. This entire process usually takes 6 - 9 months.

Bail is usually heard in district court and if unreasonable, a good lawyer will file a bail motion in superior court.

In criminal matters lawyers only discuss the case with the client. This is for ethical reasons and to keep others from being called as a witness against the client and forced to give-up information learned from the lawyer.

What a husband and spouse talk about is likely covered by priviledge. However, there are exceptions.

The idea of a private attorney is a good one given the serious nature of the case. Public defenders can be good but they are often overworked and you cannot pick the lawyer assigned. It you consider a private lawyer it is important to get someone that just does criminal work. The cost will be determined by the amout of time that the lawyer will give to the case.

Finally, this is very serious and even a first time offender can get many years in state prison.

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9/18/07, 5:43 pm

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