Harden Law Offices

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

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.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Shameful Politics Hurt Justice

NH Executive Council voting politics instead of justice!

Our judicial system is supposed to be filled with judges who are are fair as the lot of humanity.  It is a sad day when the politics of partisans corrupt the process to derail a truly deserving and qualified judicial candidate. Dorothy Graham you have my vote.

There are currently many judges on the bench in NH who were public defenders, appellate defenders and prosecutors.  A bi-partisan committee vets all judicial candidates and there are public hearings held prior to being confirmed.  There is no role for politics in the process.  The entire idea of our government is to have checks and balances.  This is an example of the check mate stalling and fouling our system. Shame on the executive councillors who voted politics instead of reason.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Laurie list

A good  history about the so called "Laurie list". There is a commission to study implementing a Laurie list set for a final meeting on October 7, 2015. As stated in this article there is no statewide list and each prosecutor is tasked with keeping track of police with issues affecting credibility. 


Thursday, September 24, 2015

ACLU Report Exposes Debtors’ Prison Practices in New Hampshire

 A debtors' prison is a prison for people who are unable to pay debt. Through the mid 19th century, debtors' prisons (usually similar in form to locked workhouses) were a common way to deal with unpaid debt in Western Europe.  Sadly this practice has been ongoing in modern NH Courts.  The ACLU has issued a report detailing the costs, unconstitutional nature and exposed the unfairness of this practice.  Our justice system cannot tolerate these rogue judges' actions.

ACLU report:

CONCORD – The U.S. Constitution and New Hampshire state law prohibit courts from jailing people for being too poor to pay their legal fines, but local courts throughout New Hampshire are doing it anyway. The ACLU of New Hampshire (“ACLU-NH”) today released Debtors’ Prisons in New HampshireDebtors' Prisons IN New Hampshire, a report that chronicles a year-long investigation into New Hampshire’s debtors’ prison practices.
This investigation was initiated after the ACLU-NH handled three cases in 2014 where two Superior Court Judges and the New Hampshire Supreme Court granted relief to three indigent individuals—Alejandra Corro, Richard Vaughan, and Dennis Suprenant—who were (or were going to be) illegally jailed by circuit courts due to their inability to pay fines. These cases, which are described in the “Personal Stories” section of the report, show that debtors’ prison practices can counterproductively lead to termination of an individual’s new employment, impede ongoing efforts of that individual to gain employment, and prevent struggling parents from caring for their infant children.
“Being poor is not a crime in this country,” said Devon Chaffee, Executive Director of the ACLU-NH. “Incarcerating people who cannot afford to pay fines is both unconstitutional and cruel. It takes a tremendous toll on precisely those families already struggling the most.”
The law requires that courts hold hearings to determine defendants’ financial status before jailing them for failure to pay fines, and defendants must be provided with lawyers for these hearings. If a defendant cannot pay, the court must explore options other than jail.
“Supreme Court precedent and New Hampshire law make clear that local courts and jails should not function as debtors’ prisons,” said Albert E. Scherr, a Professor of Law at the University of New Hampshire School of Law and Chairman of the ACLU-NH Board of Directors. “Yet circuit courts in New Hampshire routinely jail people without making any attempt whatsoever to determine whether they can afford to pay their fines.”
Beyond its clear illegality, debtors’ prison practices make no financial sense since the government spends more to jail defendants than it ever recovers in fines. As the report explains, it costs New Hampshire’s county jails approximately $110 per day to house an individual, yet an individual serves off a fine at a rate of $50 per day. This $50 per day amount will never be paid back to the government once that time is served. Based on the data received and this $110 per day cost, the report concludes that the total costs of these practices to taxpayers statewide can be reasonably approximated to $166,870 in 2013 to address an estimated $75,850 in unpaid fines that were ultimately never collected.
“Not only are these courts violating the law, they are actually causing the government to lose money doing it,” said Gilles Bissonnette, Legal Director of the ACLU-NH. “As the report demonstrates, in jailing people who are unable to pay fines, the government is spending more money than the individual owed in the first place.”
“These practices are legally prohibited, morally questionable, and financially unsound. Nevertheless, they appear to be alive and well in New Hampshire,” added Bissonnette.

September 23, 2015 Tagged with: ,

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Jericho ATV Festival

Harden Law Offices would like to welcome all OHRV enthusiasts to Berlin for the 6th Annual Jericho ATV Festival.  OHRV operators in the Great North Woods are permitted to ride on highways in certain areas of the north country.  It is important to be aware of the New Hampshire State Laws and follow local ordinances.

Off Highway Recreational Vehicles (OHRV) have many special rules that apply.  New rules related to road usage in Berlin and Gorham have permitted ATV travel on the town roads.  This is a great family activity that allows young riders to accompany parents and friends.  A complete listing of OHRV laws in NH can be found here:  http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/rsa/html/NHTOC/NHTOC-XVIII-215-A.htm

As a criminal defense attorney, I am often asked about potential legal issues that may arise with OHRV use on a public way.  There are minor offenses such as speeding and illegal crossing of highways; other issues may include Reckless Conduct, Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) or Negligent Driving.

Harden Law Offices encourages everyone to have a safe and fun weekend.  If you, a friend or family member are charged with an OHRV/motor vehicle violation, DWI, DUI or any crime during your stay in the Great North Woods, it is important that you contact an experienced and aggressive defense attorney to discuss your case.  I have been representing people accused of crimes for over 20 years.  See my website here:  http://www.lenharden.com/

Enjoy your time at the Jericho Festival:  http://www.androscogginvalleychamber.com/jericho-atv-festival/

Monday, May 11, 2015

Dog Search

An important 4th amendment case was decided 04/21/15. It says that a 7-8 minute detention to get a dog to search is a violation and suppressed the illegally seized evidence.


Thursday, April 9, 2015

Why video taping laws are important!

The police have a hard job and most try their best to be fair and honest.  It is the minority of police that are deceitful, dishonest and manipulative and those are the ones that society needs protection from.  There is no reason in this day and age to not have recordings of any police stop.  The cost of video recording equipment is minor and the ability to record events in real time is enormous.  At least one state, South Carolina, has a mandatory video recording law that applies on all stops.
The interesting thing is that it was a passerby who videoed the officer who shot and is charged with murdering a black man in  North Charleston, SC. 


If gas stations, big box stores, convenience stores and banks all are video recording us and their employees, it is time that the police and their interactions with citizens should be required to be recorded.  It is good for society to have real time evidence that can help exonerate the innocent and prove cases against the guilty.  Video recording will also prevent rogue officers from corrupting our justice system. It makes sense that we as citizens need to demand video recording of all police interactions and interrogations.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Excessive Drinking by County in New Hampshire

The north country is well represented in this new data.  Grafton, Coos and Carroll are 2, 3 and 4 respectively. 
If you are charged with a  DWI in Grafton, Coos or Carroll county contact Len Harden.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Plea Bargaining and the Innocent

This link takes you to a story about why people may plead guilty even though they are innocent. 
There are many reasons why a person may plead guilty. The innocence project has been showing that people have been pleading guilty who were in fact innocent and proven so by DNA. Convictions of innocent citizens frequently results from false identification and/or lab corruption.  This is an article written by a judge that details the dangers of innocent people who plead guilty.

As a criminal defense lawyer, it is important to protect citizen's rights. Among the defense lawyer's highest callings is to ensure the protection of the presumption of innocence, fighting for justice and not allowing the state to steam roll over rights. 


If you are facing a criminal charge in the Great North Woods, White Mountains or Upper Valley contact me to discuss and defend your case. 

Monday, March 9, 2015

License Plate Tracking

The government is watching us. The ACLU has learned about a license plate tracking program to determine where citizens are traveling. Big brother knows all!


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Grand Juries

 An experienced defense lawyer shared his experience in a grand jury. This is very interesting and highlights how our felony system is supposed to work. Grand jurors are meant to be gatekeepers for felonies not rubber stamps.


Monday, January 26, 2015

How to Select the best DWI or Criminal Defnese Lawyer!

There are thousands of lawyers looking for new clients.  If you have been arrested or charged with a crime how do you decide who to hire?  It is increasingly complicated by the range of choices offered by the internet. Here are 10 tips on how to hire the best DWI or Criminal defense lawyer.

1.  WORD OF MOUTH, ask friends, family and other lawyers who they would hire.  If you know a bailiff or police officer from a nearby town ask them.  The best lawyers are known in the community of lawyers, don't be afraid to ask.

2. HISTORY, ask the lawyer when the last case was that they tried and won.  If the lawyer can't provide an answer then they don't try and win a lot of cases.

3.  CREDENTIALS, does lawyer belong to national groups such as National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, National College of DUI Defense, DUI Defense Lawyers Association and State Criminal Defense Lawyer Associations.

4.  RESPECTED BY PEERS, has lawyer been elected to a board of his/her peers and been asked to teach continuing legal education seminars.

5.  PUBLISHED, has the lawyer been published by independent publishing house on relevant topics.  In this day anyone can self publish, but only a few are asked to write by legitimate publishing houses.

6.  PERSONAL, meet the lawyer and conduct an interview to decide if you trust and are comfortable with him or her.

7.  EXPERIENCE, find out how long the lawyer has been trying cases and ask questions about the focus of their practice.  You want a defender who focuses on one area of law, stable and reliable.

8.   COST, do not eliminate a lawyer due to price. Selecting the best lawyer may not be cheap, but hiring an under qualified one may be catastrophic.  If you want the best defense, be prepared to pay for it.

9.   INTERNET SEARCH the lawyer and look beyond the paid ads to find out what real former clients have to say.  Also dig deep and find out if the lawyer has ever been disciplined by the state bar or even charged with a crime.

10.  COMMON SENSE, ask yourself if the lawyer you are considering is the best all around.  The lawyer you hire needs to listen to you, understand the situation and be able to steer your case in a positive direction.  After meeting a lawyer you should have heard a plan of action on how to win or at least minimize the damage.  Listen to the lawyer and decide if what you are hearing is believable and real.

It is hard to find the best lawyer.  If you have been arrested in Northern New Hampshire contact me, Leonard D. Harden, at 603-788-2080.   I believe that I can answer all of these concerns and help you with your case.


Saturday, January 24, 2015