The state official who represents the government in prosecuting criminal offenses is typically called the "district attorney" (D.A.). Sometimes, they are called the prosecuting attorney. Regardless of what they're called, they serve a county or group of counties.
When the D.A. files the information, the suspect is officially charged with the crime. In other cases, the D.A. might refer the case to a grand jury before charges are filed. These other cases typically involve a felony charge.
In New Hampshire, D.A.s handle prosecution in courts called “superior courts." In New Hampshire, the D.A. is called a "county attorney." The state has ten county attorneys who represent the state in criminal filings. Learn about their role and how to get in touch with them below.
When To Speak With the Prosecuting Attorney
Communicating with a prosecuting attorney can be an important part of mounting an effective defense. A district attorney may be able to reduce or even drop charges in certain circumstances.
Communicating important details about your case may impact their decision on whether to prosecute a crime or offer a favorable plea agreement. But you should be aware their job is to prosecute crimes successfully. So, the prosecuting attorney should be approached with caution.
A defense attorney can often communicate with a prosecutor with less risk and better results. In fact, a prosecutor may refuse to speak with you altogether. This is because some prosecutors and jurisdictions attempt to avoid exchanges between district attorneys and non-attorneys. Legal issues can potentially arise from these exchanges.
But even when a prosecutor is willing to discuss a case with the defendant, there are reasons why you may want to avoid this. For instance, it may result in unintentional admissions, or you may reveal information that the prosecution is unaware of.
You're also likely to be unfamiliar with the prosecutor and the court. A prosecutor or prosecutor's office might have a certain approach to different kinds of crimes or circumstances that influence negotiations.
These factors include the court's caseload or a judge's reputation. A local attorney will be aware of these considerations and will know how to take advantage of them when they ask for a deal.
Negotiating a Plea Deal
A thorough case assessment is wise before deciding to negotiate a plea. There may be grounds to have the case against you dismissed. The rules of evidence and proof are very complicated.
Depending on the circumstances of your case, a procedural error or a lack of evidence may result in charges being dropped. This may occur without you having to communicate with a prosecutor at all.
To negotiate a plea deal, working with a licensed criminal defense lawyer is important. But if you can't afford an attorney, you still have options. Contact the office of the public defender if you can't afford an attorney. Attorneys at the office of the public defender can provide free legal services to qualifying people with low income.
If you need an attorney referral, contact the New Hampshire Bar Association. They can provide free attorney referrals. Otherwise, you could seek help from New Hampshire Legal Assistance (NHLA). They provide free or low-cost legal representation and legal resources under their pro bono program. New Hampshire residents qualify for assistance under the programs they offer.
Otherwise, you could seek help from the legal clinic for criminal law at the University of New Hampshire School of Law. This group provides free legal services to people who qualify. Another organization, the New Hampshire Disabilities Rights Center, also provides these services.
You might also consider applying for free legal aid through 603 Legal Aid. This is another organization that provides free legal services.
New Hampshire Attorney General's Office
The New Hampshire Attorney General is the chief legal officer and law enforcement officer for the state. The Attorney General represents New Hampshire in matters of litigation. The A.G.'s office also represents state residents regarding consumer rights and other legal matters.
Both the A.G. and district attorneys (discussed in more detail below) handle the administration of the criminal justice system and criminal law-related matters in their respective jurisdictions. They represent the government in all criminal cases, from sexual assault to domestic violence to white-collar crime.
It doesn't matter if the crime you've been accused of is a misdemeanor or felony. Either way, the Attorney General and district attorney, depending on where you are located, will handle the prosecution.
Directory of New Hampshire County Attorneys
Each of New Hampshire's ten counties comprises a judicial district, where the prosecuting attorney is responsible for filing criminal charges on behalf of the state. The following directory will help you better understand their role and how to contact them.
For any county attorney's office not listed above, you can easily find them online.
Note: Although we strive to provide the most current contact and website information available for the D.A. offices in this state, this information is subject to change. If you have found contact or website information that is not current, please contact us.
Get Legal Advice Before Talking to a District Attorney in New Hampshire
Before approaching the district attorney, discussing your case with competent local counsel may be helpful. Getting help from a lawyer can reduce the risk of communicating with the district attorney. A local lawyer can also let you know about the kinds of plea agreements typically available. They can tell you what aspects of your case might provide the best advantages or pose the greatest risks.
This area of New Hampshire law can be difficult to navigate. Getting the help you need when dealing with legal problems is important. Contact a local criminal defense attorney to learn more about how they can help communicate with the prosecutor on your behalf.