Annulment of Criminal Record in NH
NH Changed the Law on Annulment of Criminal Records Making it Easier to Restore Constitutional Rights
NH recently modified its annulment law, RSA 651:5, effective on January 1, 2019. The intent of the change was to make is easier to annul a record of arrest for those who were wrongly arrested and charged. Previously the law mandated that if an arrest prior to January 1, 2019 resulted in a finding of not guilty, dismissal or was not prosecuted, the Court may annul the arrest or record at its discretion. Under the new law, however, offenses on or after January 1, 2019 resulting in not guilty findings, dismissal or those not prosecuted, an annulment shall be granted.
For those people whose arrests led to convictions, the law requires a person to remain conviction free for a specified period of time before they are eligible to annul the record of arrest and conviction. The time periods are the following:
1. A violation with a conviction, one year, unless the underlying conviction was for an offense specified under the habitual offender law.
2. For most class B misdemeanors, 2 years after the person has completed all the terms and conditions of the sentence.
3. For most class A misdemeanors, excluding sexual assaults, 3 years.
4. For most class B felonies, excluding indecent exposure, lewdness or drug charges, 5 years.
5. For most class A felonies, except drug charges, 10 years.
6. For misdemeanor sexual assault under RSA 632-A:4, 10 years.
7. For felony indecent exposure or lewdness under RSA 645:1, II, 10 years.
8. For any misdemeanor where the victim was, at the time of the offense, a family or household member or intimate partner as those terms are defined in RSA 173-B:1, 3 years.
9. For a class A misdemeanor or felony offense under RSA 318-B:26, II, 2 years.
Anyone who has been convicted of violent crime, felony obstruction of justice or any offense resulting in an extended term of imprisonment is prohibited from annulling their record. Violent crimes are defined as: capital murder, first or second degree murder, manslaughter, class A felony negligent homicide under RSA 630, first degree assault under RSA 631:1, aggravated felonious sexual assault or felonious sexual assault under RSA 632-A, kidnapping or criminal restraint under RSA 633, class A felony arson under RSA 634:1, robbery under RSA 636, incest under RSA 639:2, III, endangering the welfare of a child by solicitation under RSA 639:3, III, or any felonious child pornography offense under RSA 649-A.
Those people seeking an annulment of their criminal record, may complete the application process by Petitioning for Annulment. You can find a link for a Petition to Annul at the NH Court Website: https://www.courts.state.nh.us/forms/nhjb-2317-ds.pdf. It is extremely important that the petitioner read over the form carefully and complete the application correctly. If any error occurs, a person must wait 3 years before filing another petition. Often times, people will seek out an experienced criminal law attorney to review their convictions and process the petition for them. There are fees associated with petitioning for annulment. First, there is a court filing fee of $125 for each court where there is a conviction. Upon filing, the NH Department of Corrections will be ordered to conduct an investigation with a records check and submit it to the court. The NH Department of Corrections charges a fee of $100. After the annulment has been granted, the Department of Safety charges $100 to effectuate the annulment by deleting the computer records.
If you are embarrassed by mistakes made when younger, you may want to seek an annulment of a criminal record. The annulment may allow you to travel to Canada, restore rights to possess firearms, coach or chaperone children. An annulment prevents a person who made a mistake from being labeled for life. This law helps restore citizens to enjoy their full constitutional rights.
Len Harden is a local criminal defense lawyer who has been practicing law for over 25 years. He has offices in Lancaster, Littleton and Lebanon and is frequently contacted by people looking to annul their records. Harden will review each case to make sure a person qualifies and can assist you in completing the paperwork. You can reach him by calling 603-788-2080 or via his website www.LenHarden.com.