The Arrest Procedure for New Hampshire Criminal Cases

If you have been charged with a crime in New Hampshire, the process from arrest to your initial appearance in court can be traumatic and stressful, especially if this is the first time you have gone through it. This stress can be reduced if you are represented by an experienced and competent New Hampshire criminal defense attorney throughout the process.


There are three initial steps at the beginning of a criminal case:

  • The suspect’s arrest;
  • Filing a complaint or charging document; and
  • Appearing before the judge (or other member of the judiciary, such as a magistrate or justice of the peace).

 The defendant usually does not anticipate the arrest coming, thus it is unlikely he will have a defense lawyer representing him at the time of arrest. However, if an investigation has been ongoing for some time, such as in white-collar crime or vehicular homicide cases, the defendant may have hired a lawyer beforehand.

 The exact procedure for arresting and booking depends on the locale and arresting agency, but typically, after you are arrested, you will be transported to the local precinct to be “booked” there or at another holding facility.

 “Booking” is the process of identifying you and recording the arrest through photographs and fingerprints, and checking to see if you have an existing criminal record. You will also be asked questions about your residence, immigration status, employment, and health. The charging documents will be drafted by the arresting officer or a prosecutor during this time.

 Then, if you are not released on bail or with a summons, you will be transported to the courthouse, where a bail agency may ask you questions to determine if you have sufficient community ties to recommend release. If you are arrested for a minor crime, the police may issue a citation or summons ticket and forego the complete booking process.

 A New Hampshire criminal defense attorney can help you better understand the arrest and booking process and make sure that your rights are protected at every stage. For a free case evaluation by the lawyers at the Wiberg Law Office, PLLC, please call (603) 686-5454.