Best New Hampshire Criminal Lawyers

Best New Hampshire Criminal Defense Lawyers

Looking for the top criminal defense attorneys in New Hampshire? You’ve come to the right place. This guide will provide an overview of the leading criminal lawyers in the state, when you need legal counsel, potential defenses, key New Hampshire laws and penalties, and most importantly – what makes certain litigators stand out.

Finding the right criminal defense lawyer can make all the difference if you or a loved one are facing criminal charges in New Hampshire. An accomplished attorney’s skills, resources and track record of positive case results are crucial to protecting your future and avoiding devastating consequences. Don’t take chances – let one of New Hampshire’s finest criminal defense lawyers stand between you and a potential conviction.

When to Hire a New Hampshire Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you’ve been questioned, arrested or charged with any crime in New Hampshire – even a minor misdemeanor – having an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side is highly recommended. The stakes are simply too high to go it alone against the formidable resources of the state. A knowledgeable lawyer can advise you of your rights, build the strongest possible defense and work to achieve the best outcome given the circumstances.

Don’t delay in seeking counsel – the earlier in the process you engage a criminal defense lawyer, the more they can do to protect you. This includes guidance on interacting with police and prosecutors, conducting a proactive investigation, preserving evidence, negotiating with the state, and preparing your defense strategy.

Top Defenses a New Hampshire Criminal Lawyer Can Raise

A skilled New Hampshire criminal defense attorney will thoroughly examine the facts of your case to identify any viable defenses to reduce or dismiss the charges. Here are some of the most common defenses used:

  • Lack of criminal intent – For many crimes, prosecutors must prove you had intent to break the law. Your lawyer can argue you lacked such intent.
  • Self-defense – If you faced imminent bodily harm, you may have been legally justified in using appropriate force to protect yourself.
  • Misidentification – Eyewitness misidentification is a leading cause of wrongful convictions. Your attorney can challenge questionable ID evidence.
  • Unlawful search and seizure – Illegally obtained evidence can be suppressed. An experienced lawyer will scrutinize how evidence was gathered.
  • Entrapment – Undercover operations that improperly induce otherwise innocent people to commit crimes can be challenged as entrapment.
  • Intoxication – You can’t form criminal intent if you were too impaired to appreciate the wrongfulness of your actions.
  • Duress – Committing a crime under threat of immediate bodily harm may constitute the defense of duress.
  • Insanity – Those unable to understand right from wrong or control behavior may have an insanity defense.

Overview of New Hampshire Criminal Laws and Penalties

New Hampshire divides crimes into felonies, misdemeanors and violations based on severity. Felonies are the most serious criminal offenses. Possible sentences for a felony conviction include substantial fines and years of imprisonment. Misdemeanors are less severe but can still result in hefty fines and up to a year in jail. Violations encompass minor offenses like traffic infractions.

Here’s a high-level overview of some key New Hampshire criminal statutes and penalties:

  • Murder – Felony punishable by life imprisonment without parole [RSA 630:1-a].
  • Manslaughter – Felony up to 30 years imprisonment [RSA 630:2].
  • Robbery – Felony 3.5 to 7 years imprisonment [RSA 636:1].
  • Burglary – Felony up to 7 years imprisonment [RSA 635:1].
  • Theft – Felony or misdemeanor depending on value stolen [RSA 637:11].
  • Assault – Misdemeanor up to 1 year imprisonment [RSA 631:2-a].
  • DUI – Misdemeanor fines, license suspension, up to 1 year imprisonment [RSA 265-A:2].
  • Drug possession – Felony or misdemeanor depending on substance and amount [RSA 318-B:2].

A knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer can help you understand the specific charges you’re facing and build strategic defenses aimed at reducing or dismissing them. Don’t leave the outcome to chance – a top attorney can make all the difference.

What Makes New Hampshire’s Best Criminal Defense Lawyers Stand Out

When your freedom and future are on the line, you need a criminal defense lawyer with an exceptional track record of achieving positive outcomes for clients facing prosecution in New Hampshire. Look for these hallmarks of the state’s top litigators:

Specialized Experience

The ideal criminal defense attorney focuses their practice specifically on criminal law and regularly handles cases like yours. Their expertise in the nuances of New Hampshire criminal statutes, case law, prosecutors, judges, and procedures will strengthen your defense.

Resources & Investigation

Top criminal defense lawyers have the resources and skills to conduct thorough independent investigations. This can uncover evidence and witnesses that bolster defenses. A robust investigation by your attorney’s team can weaken the prosecution’s case.

Negotiation Skills

Many criminal cases end in a plea deal. Your lawyer’s negotiation abilities can be key to securing a favorable agreement with reduced charges and/or a lighter sentence. Skilled negotiators achieve better outcomes.

Trial Capabilities

If a trial is necessary, you want an attorney with extensive litigation experience and a proven ability to persuade judges and juries. Not all lawyers have strong courtroom skills – seek one that excels at trials.

Client Focus

The best attorneys are zealous advocates dedicated to protecting client interests. They take the time to understand your objectives and work tirelessly on your behalf. Your future should be their top priority.


Look for a lawyer that makes themselves available via phone, email and in-person meetings to discuss your case and answer questions. Lack of communication or responsiveness can jeopardize your defense.

Top Criminal Defense Law Firms & Attorneys in New Hampshire

Now let’s highlight some of the leading criminal defense attorneys and law firms across New Hampshire:

Craig, Deachman & Amann, PLLC

With offices in Manchester, Nashua and Concord, this firm handles all types of criminal cases in state and federal courts across NH. Their attorneys have over 60 years of combined criminal litigation experience. Founding partner Karl Craig is a former NH prosecutor.

Location: 434 Lake Avenue, Manchester, NH 03103. Website

Shaheen & Gordon, P.A.

This large NH firm has extensive criminal defense experience. Their lawyers take an aggressive approach tailored to each client’s goals. Attorney William Shaheen is a past president of the NH Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.

Location: 107 Storrs Street, Concord, NH 03302. Website

Brennan, Caron, Lenehan & Iacopino

The attorneys at this firm regularly handle complex criminal cases including homicide, sexual assault, drug crimes, DUI and white collar offenses across NH. Senior partner Michael Iacopino is a former prosecutor.

Location: 85 Brook Street, Manchester, NH 03104. Website

Anzalone Law Offices

Based in Laconia, this firm represents clients facing criminal charges across central NH. Founder Anthony Anzalone is a former Belknap County prosecutor. He takes an aggressive approach to defending clients.

Location: 18 Weirs Road, Laconia, NH 03246. Website

Upton & Hatfield, LLP

The criminal defense lawyers at this firm handle cases across NH ranging from misdemeanors to serious felonies. Partner Rus Rilee is a past president of the NH Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.

Location: 10 Centre Street, Concord, NH 03301. Website

Winer and Bennett, LLP

Based in Nashua, this firm’s criminal defense team has over 50 years of combined experience defending clients facing prosecution in NH. They handle everything from DUI to homicide cases.

Location: 39 Simon Street, Nashua, NH 03060. Website

When building your defense team, be sure to thoroughly research each lawyer’s background, experience and track record of success. Schedule initial consultations to get a sense of their communication style, expertise and commitment to clients. With the stakes so high, it’s crucial to have a criminal defense attorney you trust completely fighting on your behalf.