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Circuit Court District Division - Criminal - What to do when you arrive

After reviewing the information on these pages, if you need further assistance please contact the District Court Service Center at:

1-877-641-0966 (toll free in N.H.)
603-271-6545 (out of state callers)
districtservice@courts.state.nh.us (e-mail)

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What to do before court

What to bring

What to do when you arrive

What to do when you arrive

Some courts will require you to check in before entering the courtroom while others will not.

You will be required to go through a security screening prior to entering the courtroom. If you have soda or water or any beverage you should probably leave it in your vehicle as there will be no food or beverage permitted in the courtroom. The same applies to cameras, jackknives or any other form of weapon.

When the Judge enters the courtroom, the bailiff will say "All rise" or words to that effect at which time everyone who is able is required to stand until told to be seated.

PLEASE be patient! When in court please remember that this is an important event for you and for everyone else there. Everyone wants the Judge's full attention and consideration and this takes time. Please be prepared to wait a bit understanding that the Judge will give to you the same consideration he has given to everyone else who goes before you.

When your case is called, approach the Judge and stand where indicated. If you do not know where to stand watch other similar proceedings or ask the court security officer which table to stand at . Please do not speak until the Judge asks you to speak.

THE PROCEEDINGS ARE RECORDED. Because of this, more than one person cannot speak at the same time. Do not try to speak over someone else or at the same time as someone else. This will cause errors in the record (the tape).

If you are given paperwork to look over before appearing in front of the Judge, review it carefully! This paperwork may involve giving up certain rights that are important! You must be able to understand what you are doing. If you do not understand, ask for assistance before proceeding. If you are unable to read or write, we understand that this may be uncomfortable, but please let court staff know. Court staff will assist you. It is much too important to know what you are doing.

PLEASE BE QUIET IN THE COURTROOM. Again, please show others in court the same respect that you deserve by being quiet during the proceedings.

If you are the defendant in the case and intend to plead guilty or no contest to the charge or charges, by doing so you give up certain constitutional rights and there may be other consequences to this decision. You may be asked to review and complete an Acknowledgement and Waiver of Rights Form which outlines these rights and explains some of the consequences of a plea of guilty or no contest. The form will not explain all possible consequences but will explain those which are a direct result of your plea.

REVIEW THIS FORM CAREFULLY!!!! BE SURE THAT YOU UNDERSTAND WHAT IT SAYS!! For the Judge to accept your plea, or in other words allow you to plead guilty or no contest, the Judge must be sure that you understand what you are doing and that you have rights you understand are being waived. Your plea must be "knowing, intelligent and voluntary."

Below is a listing of the waiver forms. You may click on each one to review it and you may then print it if you choose. The form that you would use in court depends upon your charge. In addition to the forms below, you may be asked to review and complete other court forms as well.

  • Acknowledgment and Waiver of Rights - Class A Misdemeanor NHJB-2093-S
  • Acknowledgment and Waiver of Rights - Class B Misdemeanor NHJB-2472-D
  • Acknowledgment and Waiver of Rights - DWI First Offense - Class B Misdemeanor NHJB-2821-D
  • Acknowledgment and Waiver of Rights - Violation NHJB-2288-D

Before leaving the courtroom, be sure that the Judge has finished. To leave before the Judge has finished is disrespectful and, in addition, you may miss something that is important.

PLEASE BE COURTEOUS TO COURT STAFF. You should expect that court staff is courteous to you and we ask that you do the same for them. Court staff cannot change the outcome of your case nor have they had anything to do with what has happened, they are merely there to process the paperwork that comes from the courtroom.

Please be sure to obtain any documentation you are to receive before leaving the courthouse and be sure to review it carefully. Failure to do so could have negative consequences.

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