Arraignment in New Hampshire

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Someone who's been arrested usually wants to know when the first court appearance will be. In New Hampshire, as in other states, that first appearance must occur soon after arrest.


In New Hampshire, a police officer who arrests a suspect without a warrant has the option of releasing the arrestee if it appears that there are insufficient grounds for a complaint. The officer may also release the suspect if the arrest was for intoxication and formal court proceedings don’t seem necessary. (N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 594:18-a.)

Getting to Court

Whether the arrest is pursuant to a warrant or not, New Hampshire authorities must bring an arrestee whom they’ve held in jail to court without unreasonable delay and within 24 hours. (Time limits may vary if the arrest is for violation of conditions of release, rather than a new offense.) (N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 597:7-a.)

Arraignment occurs at the first court appearance—it’s supposed occur at the next available court session, but in no event more than 24 hours from arrest. Weekends and holidays don’t count in the 24-hour calculation. (N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 594:20-a, N.H. R. Dist. Ct. Rule 2.6.)

It’s not always necessary that the authorities physically “bring” arrestees to court. Rather, arraignments and bail hearings may occur via video teleconference. (Larose v. Superintendent, Hillsborough Cnty. Correction Admin., 142 N.H. 364 (1997).)

More Info

For more on arraignment procedure, including the concept of unnecessary delay, see Arraignment: Getting to Court. Also see How should I plead at arraignment?

For legal advice, whether or not you've been arrested yet or been to court, consult an experienced local attorney. That kind of lawyer can fully advise you of the applicable law and protect your rights.

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