A Case Concerning Pretrial Credit
Pretrial Credit Case
In the recently issued opinion of State v Theo Bosa the New Hampshire Supreme Court had occasion to clarify how pretrial credit should be calculated when a defendant has charges pending in different courts.
Theo Bosa was charged with a felony level assault of his girlfriend in Superior Court. He also had warrants that the police discovered for violated a restraining order by having had contact with his girlfriend. These warrants were issued by a District Court judge.
Mr. Bosa did not have the money to post bail and was held on all the charges pending trials. He appeared in June of 2016 and was convicted of the restraining order violations. He was sentenced to 12 months in jail with all but 4 months suspended. At that time he had already been in jail for 4 months to the pre-trial credit was applied to the sentence.
He remained in jail until late July, 2016 when he went to trial on the assault charge and lost. He was sentenced in September, 2016 to 3 to 7 years in the NH State Prison. We had been in jail fro 243 days prior to his sentence and argued he should be awarded 243 days pretrial credit. The Court ruled that he only got pretrial credit of 123 days because 120 days (4 months) was already awarded to his District Court sentence.
Mr. Bosa appealed and lost. The NH Supreme Court explained that RSA 651-A:23 controls the awarding of pretrial credit. The Court ruled that the statute excludes time spent on another sentence from calculating pretrial credit. Since he was already sentenced to serve the 120 days and since that sentence had the 120 days pretrial applied to it, he could not double-dip and get awarded that time a second time against the new prison sentence.
This case illustrates the importance of having a lawyer who is aware of all of a defendant’s pending charges in every court so that, if convicted, he serves the shortest possible sentence.