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Prosecution Unit
Frequently Asked Questions

  • Who do I contact if I have been charged with an offense by State Police?
    Contact Us
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  • What types of offenses do the District Courts preside over?
    Misdemeanors - are divided into classes. Class A misdemeanors carry a possible jail sentence of less than one year and a fine of $2,000 or less. Class B misdemeanors have no jail time but carry a fine of $1,200 or less.
    Offenses against city ordinances or most motor vehicle rules are called violations, not crimes. You can still be arrested, and fined $1,000 or less. DWIs are either class B or class A misdemeanors.
    Probable Cause hearings:
    District Courts also hold probable cause hearings in felony cases, but do not hear these trials. A person arrested for a felony can be bound over to the Superior Court if a District Court judge finds probable cause. An accused person who has been bound over is then held in jail for a felony charge, or released on bail, until the Superior Court grand jury can meet to decide whether to issue an indictment.
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  • Can I negotiate a case with the Prosecutor?
    Whenever a defendant in a criminal case pleads guilty to a criminal charge, or is found guilty, the judge must sentence the defendant within the limits described above, according to the category of the offense. The judge may also sentence the defendant to probation, counseling and/or may order the defendant to pay restitution.

    Many criminal cases are resolved by the courts through plea agreements between the prosecution and the defendant. Under a plea agreement, the prosecution agrees to recommend a certain sentence to the judge in return for the defendant’s plea of guilty or nolo contendere. The plea agreement is then presented to a judge who decides whether or not to accept it. If the judge accepts the plea agreement, the defendant is sentenced to the agreed upon sentence. If the judge rejects the plea agreement, the defendant has the right to proceed to a trial. A plea of guilty or nolo contendere made by way of a plea agreement results in a conviction, just as if the defendant went to trial and was found guilty.
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  • How do I negotiate a case?
    If you have been charged with a violation level offense (most motor vehicle tickets are violations) and you have plead not guilty, you will be scheduled for a pretrial negotiation session or trial in the court where your case will be heard. You should attend that session or trial to resolve your case. Violation level cases in all courts are prosecuted by the state troopers who gave the tickets. To discuss a case before a court negotiation or trial session, you should contact the trooper's assigned troop station.

    For State Police misdemeanor level offenses, the Prosecution Unit provides primary court coverage throughout the state. If your case is filed in a primary court, any court pleadings should be sent to the prosecutor's office covering that court. The prosecutor's office may be contacted to discuss a case. Please be aware that if you have an attorney, the attorney prosecutor is not permitted to speak with you and must discuss the case with your attorney.

    Primary court locations with contact information.

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  • How does a Criminal Case Move Through the District Court
    The defendant is either arrested or given a summons to appear at court. The police then file a complaint in District Court.
    The defendant is brought before a District Court judge and the defendant usually enters a plea of not guilty at his arraignment and bail is set. He may, however, plead guilty if the judge is satisfied that the defendant is aware of his rights and is voluntarily waiving them by entering a plea of guilty.
    Trial by judge
    A defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty. He will be tried in the District Court by a judge. If a defendant is found guilty by a judge on a class A misdemeanor, he has a right for a de novo trial in the Superior Court. There, his case will be tried in front of a jury.
    If the defendant is found guilty, the state will make a recommendation, as does the defendant or his counsel, and the court will enter a sentence.
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