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How does a criminal charge impact jail time in New Hampshire?

Jail time following a conviction on a criminal charge varies in the state of New Hampshire. In determining the amount of jail time a convicted person will serve, courts take into account the type of crime, the nature of the crime and the law regarding minimum and maximum sentencing for a charge. Sentencing for a conviction of vehicular homicide may be very different than sentencing for drug trafficking, for example.

New Hampshire criminal courts operate under a series of processes and regulations. According to a document published by the circuit court, the level of the crime directly impacts sentencing if a conviction is reached.

A violation is the least of reasons you might appear in a criminal court. These cases are not considered criminal, and do not come with any jail time if convicted. Such cases would include traffic tickets or other citations that are associated with a fine or other such consequence if upheld.

The next level of charge is known as a Class B misdemeanor. Though these offenses are considered criminal charges, consequences of conviction don't include jail time. Class A misdemeanors, on the other hand, can involve jail time if the person is convicted.

The highest offense level is the felony. These cases are handled by the Superior Court after a district court finds there is cause for the charge. Felonies also come with jail time if there is a conviction.

In addition to jail time, any type of case may feature other consequences of conviction. Such consequences include community service, fines, loss of license, probation or the requirement for completing a class or training. Understanding consequences of conviction help a defendant choose the right course of action for a criminal defense.

Source: New Hampshire Circuit Court, "Criminal Case Processes" Sep. 04, 2014

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