Common Questions Our Clients Ask

Drug Law FAQs

Prescription fraud is generally a class B felony punishable by 3.5 to 7 years in prison for each count

If a person is arrested in NH for possession of marijuana, the police can file a violation level complaint (a non-criminal offense punishable by a fine up to $1000); a class B misdemeanor (a criminal offense punishable by a fine up to $1200); a class A misdemeanor (a criminal offense punishable by up to one year in jail and a $2000 fine) or a felony (punishable by a fine and/or imprisonment in the state prison).

The arresting officer has a lot of discretion in deciding how to charge someone. Usually, the officer puts a lot of consideration into the person’s prior criminal record. A first time offender will likely be charged with a violation or a class B misdemeanor. The real concern for a person being convicted of this type of an offense is college loan ineligibility.

If arrested for internal possession, refuse all field sobriety tests, make no statements and refuse any breath tests.

Drug investigations are complex and utilize a number of law enforcement resources which include use of confidential informants and the “dumping and monitoring” of cell phone records and usage.

You can be an LPN with a conviction for possession of marijuana.
The issue is whether your license will be suspended because of the conviction. In most instances, if it is a first time offense with a small quantity, an LPN will be able to maintain a license but there will likely be a treatment requirement with a probationary license period.

Child Custody & Family Law FAQs

Back child support does not disappear and it cannot be negotiated.

No, a retraining order in most cases is valid for one year and can be renewed thereafter annually.

You need to file a Motion to Reconsider or appeal the decision to the Supreme Court.

Child support can be modified if someone is incarcerated but the support obligations remain and will continue to accrue.

It depends on a number of circumstances but in very general terms, a NH lawyer will likely require a retainer in the amount of $3500.00.

In most instances, a Court will garnish wages for back child support.
If a bank account is identified with funds and there is back child support, there is nothing that prohibits a Court from issuing an order requiring that those funds be relinquished to pay back child support.

Research the attorney’s credentials, word of mouth, local bar association.

DUI/DWI FAQs

Yes. The type of treatment depends on the type of DWI conviction.

To reduce a DWI first offense to a violation level, you need to file a Motion with the court.

A person stopped in NH for DWI has the absolute right to refuse a breath test. Generally, this is one of the best pieces of evidence used against a person arrested for a DWI. If you have been drinking, there is no benefit to taking a breath test. The result, in most cases, will be used against you. Refuse the breath test and refuse the field sobriety test. In most cases, a DWI will be prosecuted in the Circuit Court (formerly district court) in the town/city where the arrest is made.

The bottom line: if stopped for a DWI, be polite to the officer, produce license and registration. DO NOT make any statements about alcohol consumption or where you are coming from. DO NOT take breath test. DO NOT take field sobriety tests!

You cannot be arrested for not taking a field sobriety test. In most cases, it is better to refuse all testing because this is evidence that can be used against you if you are impaired by alcohol.

An Aggravated DWI can be reduced in NH depending on the strength of the State’s case. It’s a war of information, and the more the state has against you, the harder it is to win. It is important to hire a competent attorney to assist in the representation.

Always hire an experienced lawyer if you are arrested for any criminal charge, including DWI. The best analogy is, “if your car is broken, what do you do? You take it to a mechanic.” Same analysis for someone who is charged with a crime, seek help from an experienced lawyer.

Firearm FAQs

Only if the handgun is concealed and the person does not have a concealed license permit.

A NH resident can purchase and own a suppressor(commonly known as “silencer”) from either a NH resident or transfer through a NH Class3 dealer.

You need to have a certain BATFE (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives) form signed off by your Chief Law Enforcement Officer.

You must be at least 21 years old.

You must not have any felony convictions.

RSA 207:4 prohibits their use while hunting, as an anti-poaching measure

You need a permit to carry in NH.

It is unlikely that a NH pistol permit will be granted to someone who has been convicted of a misdemeanor criminal threatening. If the crime is one of domestic violence, one is prohibited for life from owning or possessing a firearm.

Criminal Threatening FAQs

Yes. A text message can be used to threaten someone.

It depends on how the crime is charged. Criminal Threatening can be a violation which is a non criminal offense punishable by a fine only; a class B misdemeanor is a criminal offense punishable by a fine only, a class A misdemeanor is a criminal offense punishable by a fine and/or one year in jail and a felony is punishable by a fine and/or imprisonment in the state prison.

Criminal Threatening is a serious offense that can either be a class a misdemeanor which is punishable by up to one year in jail and/or a $2000 fine. Depending on the circumstances, criminal threatening can be charged as a felony which is punishable by up to 3.5 to 7 years in the NH State Prison and/or a $4000 fine.

Driving Law FAQs

If it is a felony, the offense is punishable by 3.5 to 7 years in prison.

A conviction for Reckless Driving appears on your motor vehicle record.

Depending on the circumstances, you can always win a speeding ticket trial regardless of probationary status. The State always carries the burden of proof and that does not change because of being on a probationary status.

General NH Law FAQs

All felonies are heard in Superior Court.

It depends on where the sentence is served. House of Correction sentences allow for release after serving 2/3 of the sentence. State prison sentences do not allow for early release.

In very limited cases, you can enter what is referred to as an Alford plea to felony matters in NH. This is the equivalent of a “no contest” plea.

Second Degree Assault is a Class B felony punishable by 3.5 to 7 years in the NH State Prison. There are a number of specific alternating elements that the State has the burden to prove beyond a reasonable doubt if one is charged. The most common elements for the State to prove are:

  1. Knowingly or Recklessly causes serious bodily injury to another.
  2. Intentionally assaults another and thereby recklessly inflicts substantial bodily harm.
  3. Intentionally and unlawfully causes substantial bodily harm to an unborn quick child by intentionally and unlawfully inflicting any injury upon the mother of such child.
  4. Assaults another with a deadly weapon.
  5. With intent to inflict bodily harm, administers to or causes to be taken by another, poison or any other destructive or noxious substance.
  6. With intent to commit a felony, assaults another.
  7. Knowingly inflicts bodily harm which by design causes such pain or agony as to be the equivalent of that produced by torture.
  8. Assaults another by strangulation or suffocation.

Every person charged in NH has the absolute right to a trial. It can be a bench trial before a judge or a jury trial before 12 members from the county where you reside. Misdemeanor and violation level trials occur before a circuit court judge. Felony level trials take place at the Superior Court and can either be a bench trial or a jury trial.

Many people elect to enter into “pleas” as opposed to having a trial. There are a number of reasons to enter into a plea agreement with the State in lieu of having a trial. The primary reason people tend to enter into a plea agreement is fear of the unknown. In other words, people tend to want to know exact outcomes as opposed to unknowns if the person is convicted after trial.

With the guidance of an experienced lawyer, plea agreements can be reached that oftentimes result in favorable outcomes for the person charged in light of very difficult situations. There are all types of different plea negotiations that can be reached which is why you want to employ an experienced lawyer.

Persons charged with crimes of domestic violence in NH can be arrested without a warrant within 12 hours of the allegation. This is commonly referred to as the 12 hour domestic violence law.

In most cases, a NH police officer does not have the authority to arrest someone in another state. However, if someone commits a crime in NH, and there is a warrant, NH authorities will generally extradite the offender to NH with the assistance of the jurisdiction where the offender is picked up on the NH warrant. Bottom line, if you commit a crime in NH, NH will bring you back.

People who are convicted of crimes in NH can be sentenced to the county house of corrections where the crime was committed or the NH State Prison. Offenders sentenced to the house of corrections serve 12 months or less and are eligible to earn good time credit which reduces the sentence by 1/3. People sentenced to the NH State Prison are ineligible for good time credit and are eligible for release on parole after serving their minimum sentence. Every prison sentence imposed in NH has a minimum and maximum sentence. If released on the minimum, the inmate will be supervised on parole until the expiration of the maximum sentence.

Earlier the better. Life is short and unpredictable.

You are never obligated to stay with the same lawyer. If you hire a lawyer, you can always decide to change lawyers.

It is important not to violate a court order or protective order. In instances where one does, hire a lawyer.

Aggravated Felonious Sexual Assault is one of the most serious crimes that a person can be charged with. In most instances, a person charged with this crime is facing 10-20 years per allegation in the NH State Prison. The State always has to prove the allegations beyond a reasonable doubt.

In doing so, the State relies on different types of evidence which includes forensic evidence such as DNA, hair, or saliva; witness statements; victim statements; Rape kit evidence collected at the hospital; and statements by the defendant. One of the most important things to do if charged is to MAKE NO STATEMENTS under any circumstances. An experienced attorney is critical to assist in defending against such an allegation.

It is a federal offense punishable by fine and/or imprisonment.

Bernstein & Mello PLLC
21 Temple St
Nashua, NH 03060
Office: (603) 595-1600
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