A criminal case usually, but not always, begins with an arrest. If you are arrested, your first court date and the location of that court will be on your bail paperwork. That date is your arraignment date. An arraignment is when the State formally notifies you of the charges against you. Those charges may be different than those listed on your bail paperwork. That is because the prosecutor will look at the file and make the final determination as to what charges are appropriate. At your arraignment, you will be asked to plea either guilty or not guilty. You will also be asked if you wish to speak to the prosecutor regarding a possible resolution to the case. If you cannot resolve the case that day, you will be scheduled for another appearance at court.
If you are facing a misdemeanor, the next hearing will either be a pretrial conference or a trial, depending on the charge or charges, in district court. In the busier district courts, like Manchester or Nashua, the hearing will almost always be a Pretrial Conference. In the other courts, if the trial is not likely to take more than a half an hour, the Court will schedule the matter for trial without having a pretrial first. At a pretrial conference the parties sometimes reach an agreement. If not, the case is scheduled for trial.
At the trial the State has to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt. The trial is what is known as a bench trial, in other words it is in front of a judge. Generally, the judge makes a decision immediately after the close of the case.
If the charge is a felony, the case will be heard in superior court. There are usually additional hearings between the arraignment and the pretrial conference in superior court. The end result is still either a plea or a trial. However, if there is a trial it is in front of a jury.
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Call Seufert Law today for an experienced criminal attorney to help with your case. Our criminal attorneys offer a free consultation when you call today. We look forward to helping you seek the justice you deserve.
For more information and a free consultation with one of our criminal attorneys, contact Seufert Law Offices, P.A. by calling (603) 934-9837 today.