Harden Law Offices

104 Main Street, Lancaster, NH 03584 603.788.2080
15 Main Street, Littleton, NH 03561 603.444.2084
199 Heater Road, Lebanon, NH 03766 603.448.3737

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Post Conviction Exonerations Highest Ever

Image result for violent crime

Homicides make up high number of record exonerations:


A bedrock principle of criminal law is often referred to as Blackstone's formulation (Blackstone's ratio or the Blackstone ratio) this is principle states:

"It is better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer",

...as expressed by the English jurist William Blackstone in his seminal work, Commentaries on the Laws of England, published in the 1760s.  Uber-Founding Father Benjamin Franklin took this one step further and said that "… it is better one hundred guilty Persons should escape than that one innocent Person should suffer."
The message to government and the courts is that justice must err on the side of innocence.  I work hard on a daily basis to exude the ideals of professionalism, courtesy and respect but most importantly justice.  Our entire system of justice depends on a presumption of innocence and requiring the government to prove a case beyond a reasonable doubt.

This story by CBS showing a high number of falsely convicted murderers and rapists who were later exonerated means our system of justice is flawed.  The fact that the American justice system is convicting citizens wrongly is simply unacceptable morally and ethically.   It means that we as a country have to work harder to ensure that truly innocent people are not convicted.  It also means that we have to examine our roles in the problem.

United States Constitution

I as an attorney have taken an oath to diligently defend the US and NH Constitutions and each one of my clients. RSA 311:6.  This oath means that I must "do no falsehood, nor consent that any be done in the court.. and will act in the office of an attorney within the court according to the best of my learning and discretion, and with all good fidelity as well to the court as to your client."  I also take pride in knowing the law, rules, procedures and effectively defending each citizen to the best of my training, ability using my experience.

I am very proud to work as a defense attorney for over 20 years serving Northern NH.  I pride myself on helping citizens accused defend themselves against criminal charges.  I have a history of representing citizens charged with serious felonies such as: murder, manslaughter, sexual assaults, first degree assaults, drug charges to DWI, hunting violations and motor vehicle violations.  I believe every citizen deserves a defense and aggressively, passionately and diligently defend each of my clients.  If you are facing a NH criminal case contact me.  I am available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Annulment of Criminal Record in NH

NH Changed the Law on Annulment of Criminal Records:

Restoring Your Constitutional Rights

A modified annulment law, RSA 651:5, became effective on January 1, 2016.  The biggest change was to reduce the length of time required to annul a B misdemeanor from 3 years to 2 years. The amended statute added a clause that if a victim was a family or household member the length of time remains 3 years.

The other parts of the statute remain unchanged which means that NH permits annulments pursuant to RSA 651:5 for most felons after a requisite time period of being conviction free.  The NH statute still excludes certain violent crimes:  (a) capital murder, first or second degree murder, manslaughter, or class A felony negligent homicide under RSA 630, (b) first degree assault under RSA 631:1, (c) aggravated felonious sexual assault or felonious sexual assault under RSA 632-A,  (d) kidnapping or criminal restraint under RSA 633, (e) class A felony arson under RSA 634:1, (f) robbery under RSA 636, (g) incest under RSA 639:2, III or endangering the welfare of a child by solicitation under RSA 639:3, III; or (h) any felonious child pornography offense under RSA 649-A..  

Here is the link for a Petition to Annul.   It is relatively easy to complete the form but if an error occurs a person must wait 3 years before filing another petition.  There is a court filing fee of $125 for each court where there is a conviction.  Upon filing the department of corrections will be ordered to conduct an investigation and produce a records check and submit it to the court.  The DOC charges a fee of $100 for the investigation and records check.  After the annulment has been granted the Department of Safety charges $100 to effectuate the annulment by deleting the computer records.

I am frequently contacted by people looking to annul their records for many reasons.  Some are embarrassed by mistakes made when they were younger.  Some are planning on traveling to Canada.  Some are hoping to restore their right to possess firearms.  The annulment law means that a person who makes a mistake doesn't have to be labeled for life due to a prior act after having served their sentence. This law helps restore citizens to enjoy their full constitutional rights. 

If you have questions about seeking an annulment contact me.  I have assisted hundreds of NH citizens in annulling their criminal records for over 20 years.  I am happy to speak with you and try to help.   Contact me.   

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Snowmobiling DWI/ DUI Laws in NH

Snowmobiles, ATVs and other off highway recreational vehicles are included under the motor vehicle code for DWI/ DUI laws in NH for driving under the influence at  RSA 265-A:2 and aggravated driving while intoxicated at  RSA 265-A:3. These laws make it illegal to operate any OHRV or snowmobile while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs or with a blood alcohol concentration greater than .08% or .02% if less than 21 years old.  There is no requirement for a public way or road open to the public.

NH defines a snowmobile at RSA 215-C:1  as meaning any vehicle propelled by mechanical power designed to travel over ice or snow supported in part by skis, tracks, or cleats. NH defines an OHRV at RSA 259:69  any mechanically propelled vehicle used for pleasure or recreational purposed running on rubber tires, tracks, cushion of air, or other unimproved terrain whether covered by ice snow or not, where the driver sits in or on the vehicle.  This means if you have a motor on any vehicle the DWI/ DUI law applies.

The DWI/ DUI laws in NH apply to operators on private or public land whether they are operating on trails, road, rivers, or lakes.  These strict laws carry potential loss of driver's privileges, fines, impaired driving courses and increased insurance costs.  Attorney Harden has proven track record of defending these cases and it is important to consult with him as soon as possible if you are charged he is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  CONTACT LEN HARDEN

NH law also mandates that a person suspected of being under the influence must consent to a breath or blood test to determine a blood alcohol concentration or face an administrative loss of driver's license through the DMV.  RSA 265-A:4 Implied Consent

NH has some of the best snowmobiling trails with over 7,000 miles of trails available.  NH Snowmobile Trail Map. In particular the North Country has an intricate set of interconnected trails and authorized roadways that enable you to enjoy traveling through remote sections of the Great North Woods and the White Mountains.

The trails are closely monitored by NH Fish and Game and the DWI/ DUI laws are also strongly enforced by law enforcement.  It is important to know the potential consequences of a DWI/ DUI conviction and who to turn to if you are charged.  Penalties

Attorney Harden has practiced DWI/ DUI defense in the North Country for over 20 years and is intimately familiar with the nuances of defending snowmobile or OHRV cases.  If  you're in need of a DWI/ DUI lawyer with years of experience and a history of winning snowmobile or OHRV DWI/ DUI related cases in NH, contact Attorney Len Harden today. 

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Are IQ and educational outcomes in teenagers related to their cannabis use? A prospective cohort study

Are IQ and educational outcomes in teenagers related to their cannabis use?

A study in Britain determines that IQ is not affected by cannabis use in teens.  It is important to look to other countries to learn the truth and scientific realities of cannabis.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Top Federal Lawyer Urges SCOTUS to Reject Lawsuit


Top Federal Lawyer Urges SCOTUS to reject Colorado Lawsuit

The Solicitor General has asked the Supreme Court of the United States to reject the lawsuit filed by Nebraska and Oklahoma based on lacking original jurisdiction. 

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Holiday DWI? You are not alone. Steps to Survive DWI Season.

Thanksgiving to Christmas increases the risk of being arrested for DWI.  Thanksgiving Eve is unofficially the busiest night for bars in the year.  The holiday season is a busy time for travel and increased social drinking.
cmas dwi
Whether you are attending an office party, seeing family or seeing old friends.  It is important to know that the police view this time of year as "DWI Season."

According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), deaths from drinking and driving spike around the holidays, with alcohol being blamed for about 52 percent of fatal collisions on Christmas and 57 percent on New Years compared to a rate of 41 percent for the entire year. In addition to the more than 1,200 alcohol-related deaths that will occur on the road this holiday season, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that more than 25,000 people will be injured.

Federal traffic safety data reveals the death toll per day due to drunk driving is significantly higher during the holiday seasons compared to the rest of the year.  According to a report by the U.S. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, approximately 40 percent of traffic-related fatalities during Christmas and New Year’s are linked to drunk driving. This is a whopping 12 percent higher than the rest of the month of December.

Steps to Protect Yourself and Others

1. If you drink, don't drive. Zero tolerance means no arrests.
2. Plan ahead and have a designated driver or arrange for a ride before going out.
3. Always be polite to police, but decline to provide evidence by declining voluntary field tests and making admissions. 
4. When driving, be cautious and watch for the erratic movements of potential drunken drivers.
5. If you are charged contact a DWI lawyer immediately.

Leonard D. Harden is an experienced trial lawyer focusing solely on DWI and criminal defense cases in Northern New Hampshire. Attorney Harden is the only lawyer in Coos County that handles criminal defense exclusively. His in-depth knowledge and zealous handling of each DWI case set him apart. Attorney Harden has over 20 years of experience in criminal law and a successful track record in defending clients.
handcuffs-transA DWI conviction can have serious repercussions on your life. If you have been charged with Driving While Intoxicated (DUI or DWI) in New Hampshire, it is important that you contact Attorney Harden immediately, 603-788-2080.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Cinderella License is Coming to NH

  Cinderella License Starts January 1, 2016.

Image result for driving a carSome of the most common questions that people facing a DWI ask are:   "how will I get to work?"   "does NH have a  'work permit' or 'Cinderella license'?"  The answer for as long as I have practiced DWI law, over 20 years, was simply there is no provision for work or a so called  'Cinderella License'.   Even now the NH DMV still says no Cinderella License , however, Starting January 1, 2016 there will be some help for NH drivers facing a DWI 1st offense.

NH citizens are often faced with limited mass transit and long commutes to work or school or helping sick family members.  I represent citizens accused of DWI in Northern NH where there are even longer distances and fewer public transportation options.  People charged with a DWI 1st have been forced to come up with alternative ways to get to work or school or face the consequences of  Operating After Suspension.

Finally, common sense has prevailed on our legislature and  they have passed a Restricted License law for first time DWI offenders.  This means that a first time DWI offender will be allowed to drive to work, school, and medical appointments provided they meet the criteria.

The new law RSA 263:57-b and can be found here:  Restricted License

Starting January 1, 2016 NH DWI first time offenders may petition the Court to approve a restricted license after serving a 45 day suspension as long as they meet the following:

       (a) That the person must operate a motor vehicle as a requisite of the person's occupation or employment.
       (b) That the person must operate a motor vehicle to seek employment or to get to and from a place of employment.
       (c) That the person must operate a motor vehicle to get to or from an alcohol or drug treatment or rehabilitation program.
       (d) That the person or a member of the person's immediate family requires medical treatment on a regular basis and the person must operate a motor vehicle in order that the treatment may be obtained.
       (e) That the person must operate a motor vehicle to continue his or her education.
       (f) That the person must operate a motor vehicle to attend job training.

The person must pay a fee and install an ignition interlock device on any cars registered to them, or used by them on a regular basis, for the remaining term of suspension.  If you are currently facing a DWI 1st and want to avail yourself of this restricted license you can petition the court for a restricted license now.

In addition to the court approving the petition you will need to serve 45 days of the suspension, strictly comply with the travel times, places and days ordered, have an installed enhanced ignition interlock device, provide a copy of the Court order to the local police and have a copy in your vehicle.

There are many steps involved in getting approved and complying with the restricted license law.  There are also lots of issues that are unresolved with this new law.  If you are facing a DWI and looking to benefit from this law you need to contact an attorney that is familiar with the law and is able to solve problems with the DMV and the Courts.  Attorney Harden has a long standing good relationship with representatives at the NH DMV, knows all the people to navigate the bureaucracy and has the experience to get you driving as soon as possible.

If you are charged with a DWI in Grafton, Coos or Carroll County contact attorney Len Harden.  He will help  get you driving again as soon as possible.