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NEW HAMPSHIRE RULES OF CRIMINAL PROCEDURE

ARRAIGNMENT, PLEAS AND PRETRIAL PROCEEDINGS

Rule 10.  Arraignment in Superior Court

 
   
(a) Arrest on a Charge Originating in Superior Court.  Any person who is arrested on a warrant or capias issued pursuant to an indictment or information shall be taken before the superior court for arraignment without unreasonable delay but in any event within twenty-four hours of arrest, Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays excepted.  Such person shall be entitled to a bail hearing at that time.

   (b) Arraignment on Felonies. Arraignment shall be conducted in open court. The court shall read the indictment or information to the defendant or state to the defendant the substance of the charge. If the defendant appears pro se, the court shall inform the defendant of the possible penalties, the right to retain counsel, and the right to have an attorney appointed by the court pursuant to Rule 5 if the defendant is unable to afford an attorney. The defendant shall be called upon to plead to the charge, unless unrepresented by counsel, in which case a plea of not guilty shall be entered on the defendant's behalf. The defendant shall be given a copy of the charge.

   (c) Waiver of Arraignment. A defendant who is represented by an attorney may enter a plea of not guilty and waive formal arraignment as follows. Before the arraignment hearing, the attorney shall file a written statement signed by the defendant certifying that the defendant has reviewed a copy of the indictment or information. The attorney shall further certify that the defendant read the indictment or information or that it was read to the defendant, and that the defendant understands the substance of the charge and the possible penalties, waives formal arraignment, and pleads not guilty to the charge.

   (d) Arraignment on Misdemeanor Appeal. No arraignment shall be held on a misdemeanor appeal. Upon the filing of a misdemeanor appeal in superior court, a trial schedule consistent with these rules shall be issued. The date of the issuance of the trial schedule shall be the equivalent of an arraignment and entry of not guilty plea for the purpose of determining deadlines.

    (e) Any misdemeanor complaint filed with the court without specification of the classification shall be presumed to be a class B misdemeanor unless specified by law or the state files a notice of intent to seek class A misdemeanor penalties on or before the date of arraignment. Such notice shall be on a court approved form.


Comments

 
   
Rule 10(a) is derived from section I of RSA 594:20-a, entitled “Place and Time of Detention,” which requires that, following an arrest, the arrestee be taken before a district court to answer for the offense within twenty-four hours of arrest, Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays excepted.

   Rule 10(b) obligates the superior court at arraignment to advise a pro se defendant of the possible penalties for the offense and of the defendant’s constitutional right to counsel.

   Rule 10(c) is derived from present Superior Court Rule 97, entitled “Entry of Not Guilty Plea and Waiver of Formal Arraignment,” which allows a defendant who is represented by counsel to waive formal arraignment and plead not guilty upon certifying that the defendant: (1) has reviewed a copy of the indictment; (2) has read it or had it read or explained; (3) understands the substance of the charge; (4) waives formal arraignment; and (5) pleads not guilty to the charge.

   Rule 10(d) specifically provides that no arraignment shall be held on a misdemeanor appeal to superior court. Current practice among the superior courts is not uniform on this issue. At present, some superior courts hold an initial hearing on misdemeanor appeals, which is treated as the equivalent of an arraignment; other superior courts do not hold such a hearing. Where Rule 12, derived from current Superior Court Rule 98, uses the date of arraignment as a starting point for the scheduling of certain pretrial deadlines, it is desirable to have a rule establishing a uniform starting point for purposes of discovery and other deadlines in misdemeanor appeal cases. Rule 10(d) designates the date of the issuance of the trial notice by the superior court as the equivalent of an arraignment and entry of not guilty plea for purposes of Rule 12 deadlines.

    Rule 10(e) is derived from RSA 625:9.


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