Criminal Defense in New Hampshire Federal Court
Criminal defense attorneys Ted Lothstein and Richard Guerriero frequently practice in the United States District Court for New Hampshire. They handle complex felony cases, including several of the largest drug distribution cases that have ever been filed in the District of New Hampshire.
United States District Court – NH
The United States District Court-NH is located across the street from the Concord office of Lothstein Guerriero, PLLC, at 55 Pleasant Street, Concord. Federal courts have jurisdiction over federal crimes – mostly, serious felonies. For example, Ted Lothstein and Richard Guerriero have defended clients in federal court indicted on federal crimes such as:
- narcotics distribution
- large-scale conspiracies to distribute crack and powder cocaine
- bank fraud
- identity fraud
- financial fraud
- felon in possession of a firearm
Minor crimes such as shoplifting or possession of small amounts of marijuana are not prosecuted in federal court. This is no place for amateurs!
Jury Trials in Federal Court
Jury trials in federal court are similar to jury trials in the state courts of New Hampshire, with several exceptions that are more “cultural” than anything else. For example, federal prosecutors have far greater resources than prosecutors in state court, so they often have better evidence, better support staff, and put many more hours into trial preparation than most state prosecutors. As another example, federal judges often question witnesses. In state court, generally, only the prosecutor and defense lawyer question witnesses.
No lawyer should set foot in federal court without substantial jury trial experience and substantial experience with the unique practice and procedure of federal court.
Sentencing in Federal Criminal Cases
Sentencing in federal court is much more complicated than in State court, where there are no sentencing guidelines (in essence, no standardized tables telling the Judge what she should do or what other judges are doing in similar cases). In general, there are three steps in sentencing in federal criminal cases.
First, the Court determines whether a statutory mandatory minimum applies. If so, then the mandatory minimum is the absolute “floor” or lowest possible sentence.
Second, the Court determines, with the assistance of the parties and the federal probation office, the guideline sentencing range under the Advisory United States Sentencing Guidelines (USSG) promulgated by the Congress and the United States Sentencing Commission. If there is a “departure” based on case specific factors such as the substantial assistance given by the defendant to the prosecution with respect to the prosecution of co-defendants or others, then the defendant moves to a lower guideline range.
Finally, the Court will consider the Sentencing Memoranda filed by the defense lawyer and government and decide whether to grant a “variance” – usually to a more lenient sentence than the guidelines call for, although the judge has the discretion to impose a longer sentence.
Ted Lothstein and Richard Guerriero have both successfully litigated these sentencing issues in order to obtain sentences that are much lower than the range called for in the United States Sentencing Guidelines, in a number of cases.
Appeals from the United States District Court – NH
Appeals from the United States District Court go to the First Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston, Massachusetts. Appellate attorneys Ted Lothstein and Richard Guerriero are both admitted to practice in the First Circuit and have both handled appeals in that Court. If the conviction is affirmed (upheld) in the First Circuit, the final appeal is to the United States Supreme Court. Richard Guerriero is admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court and has argued a case in that Court in a high-profile case that originated in the state courts of New Hampshire.
Contact an Experienced Federal Criminal Defense Attorney
As you can see, the laws governing criminal procedure in federal court are much more complicated than in State Court. If you or your family member or loved one faces charges in federal court, it is critical to retain a lawyer who has substantial training and experience defending clients in the United States District Court. People who cannot afford a lawyer will receive the excellent services of the United States Federal Defender Office, or if that office has a conflict, they will receive the services of a private lawyer contracted by the government under the Criminal Justice Act.
For a free consultation with our federal criminal defense attorneys, contact Lothstein Guerriero by completing our online information form or calling our offices in Keene (603) 352-5000 or Concord (603) 513-1919. You may also chat now with a representative by clicking on the live chat button. Evening and weekend appointments are available.