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What will happen at District Court tomorrow?

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New Hampshire:

My 18 yr old son and a 17 yr old friend decided to spend some time a few Friday nights ago shooting a bb gun, using car windows as their targets. They were arrested.
We begrudgingly bailed him out early Saturday morning and tomorrow (May 16th) is his court appearance.

My son may face felony charges if the damage amounts to more than $1000.00. We do not know the dollar amount yet.

What can we expect to happen at District Court?
How does he get a court-appointed attorney?
What does he plea?

The sgt. we spoke to that Saturday morning mentioned that he should plea 'not guilty' to receive a court-appointed attorney and a future court date in order to negotiate his case. Is this what he should do? He is remorseful of his actions and wants to cooperate and put things right. He is not a bad kid - just one who seems to need to learn things the hard way despite his loving parents' advice, direction, and guidance.

His dad and I are sick to our stomachs over this. Anyone with knowledge or experience willing to share with me would be greatly appreciated. Please respond as soon as possible.

Thank you


Senior Member
The police officer you spoke to is correct. Your son will be called to the stand and he will be asked if he has an attorney present. If he answers no, he will be asked if would like to be represented. By answering yes, an automatic not guilty plea will be entered and he will be given information on contacting his attorney and given another court date. In fact, the attorney may be present in the court room. Don't expect to get a lot of time with the attorney, you will get 10 to 15 minutes if you are lucky. Your son should tell him the facts and based upon that information and what he was charged with, he will work out a deal with the D.A.'s office. At the next hearing, the lawyer will tell the judge the agreement between your son and the D.A.'s office, and if the judge accepts it, your son will be done with court. From experience from a couple of similiar cases, expect your son to pay full restitution to all victims, some community service, a short period of probation, and if he keeps out of trouble for a couple of years, his police record will be cleared.


Thank you...

Thank you, Racer. We appreciate your reply. Today has been a long day for me, anticipating what my son may face tomorrow in court.

With the exception of a high school field trip with my government class 25 years ago, I have no experience in a courtroom, so this whole situation is very scary. Knowing what to expect helps all three of us quite a bit. To those who work in the legal and law enforcement professions, this case may be routine. To us, however, it's a very different, scary world. Until two weeks ago, the police station was merely that brick building on Chestnut Street, and District Court was that brick building behind City Hall. We've never had to do business there before.

So, thanks again for taking the time to reply to my question.

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