2010 New Hampshire Statutes
TITLE LXII CRIMINAL CODE
CHAPTER 651 SENTENCES
Section 651:5 Annulment of Criminal Records.
651:5 Annulment of Criminal Records.
I. Except as provided in paragraphs V-VIII, the record of arrest, conviction and sentence of any person may be annulled by the sentencing court at any time in response to a petition for annulment which is timely brought in accordance with the provisions of this section if in the opinion of the court, the annulment will assist in the petitioner's rehabilitation and will be consistent with the public welfare. The court may grant or deny an annulment without a hearing, unless a hearing is requested by the petitioner.
II. Any person whose arrest has resulted in a finding of not guilty, or whose case was dismissed or not prosecuted, may petition for annulment of the arrest record or court record, or both, at any time in accordance with the provisions of this section.
III. Except as provided in RSA 265-A:21 or in paragraphs V and VI, any person convicted of an offense may petition for annulment of the record of arrest, conviction, and sentence when the petitioner has completed all the terms and conditions of the sentence and has thereafter been convicted of no other crime, except a motor vehicle offense classified as a violation other than driving while intoxicated under RSA 265-A:2, I, RSA 265:82, or RSA 265:82-a for a period of time as follows:
(a) For a violation, one year, unless the underlying conviction was for an offense specified under RSA 259:39.
(b) For a class B misdemeanor except as provided in subparagraph (f), 3 years.
(c) For a class A misdemeanor except as provided in subparagraph (f), 3 years.
(d) For a class B felony except as provided in subparagraph (g), 5 years.
(e) For a class A felony, 10 years.
(f) For sexual assault under RSA 632-A:4, 10 years.
(g) For felony indecent exposure or lewdness under RSA 645:1, II, 10 years.
IV. If a petition for annulment is denied, no further petition shall be brought more frequently than every 3 years thereafter.
V. No petition shall be brought and no annulment granted in the case of any violent crime, of any crime of obstruction of justice, or of any offense for which the petitioner was sentenced to an extended term of imprisonment under RSA 651:6.
VI. If a person has been convicted of more than one offense, no petition for annulment shall be brought and no annulment granted:
(a) If annulment of any part of the record is barred under paragraph V; or
(b) Until the time requirements under paragraphs III and IV for all offenses of record have been met.
VI-a. A conviction for an offense committed under the laws of another state which would not be considered an offense under New Hampshire law, shall not count as a conviction for the purpose of obtaining an annulment under this section.
VII. If, prior to disposition by the court of a petition for annulment, the petitioner is charged with an offense conviction for which would bar such annulment under paragraph V or VI(a) or would extend the time requirements under paragraphs III, IV and VI(b), the petition shall not be acted upon until the charge is disposed.
VIII. Any petition for annulment which does not meet the requirements of paragraphs III-VI shall be dismissed without a hearing.
IX. When a petition for annulment is timely brought, the court shall require the department of corrections to report to the court concerning any state or federal convictions, arrests or prosecutions of the petitioner and any other information which the court believes may aid in making a determination on the petition. The department shall charge the petitioner a fee of $100 to cover the cost of such investigation unless the petitioner demonstrates that he or she is indigent, or has been found not guilty, or the case has been dismissed or not prosecuted in accordance with paragraph II. The department of safety shall charge the successful petitioner a fee of $100 for researching and correcting the criminal history record accordingly, unless the petitioner demonstrates that he or she is indigent, or has been found not guilty, or the case has been dismissed or not prosecuted in accordance with paragraph II. The court shall provide a copy of the petition to the prosecutor of the underlying offense and permit them to be heard regarding the interest of justice in regard to the petition.
X. Upon entry of an order of annulment:
(a) The person whose record is annulled shall be treated in all respects as if he had never been arrested, convicted or sentenced, except that, upon conviction of any crime committed after the order of annulment has been entered, the prior conviction may be considered by the court in determining the sentence to be imposed, and may be counted toward habitual offender status under RSA 259:39.
(b) The court shall issue the person a certificate stating that such person's behavior after the conviction has warranted the issuance of the order, and that its effect is to annul the record of arrest, conviction and sentence, and shall notify the state police criminal records unit and the arresting agency.
(c) In any application for employment, license or other civil right or privilege, or in any appearance as a witness in any proceeding or hearing, a person may be questioned about a previous criminal record only in terms such as "Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime that has not been annulled by a court?''
XI. Nothing in this section shall affect any right:
(a) Of the person whose record has been annulled to appeal from the conviction or sentence or to rely on it in bar of any subsequent proceedings for the same offense; or
(b) Of law enforcement officers to maintain arrest and conviction records and to communicate information regarding the annulled record of arrest or conviction to other law enforcement officers for legitimate investigative purposes or in defense of any civil suit arising out of the facts of the arrest, or to the police standards and training council solely for the purpose of assisting the council in determining the fitness of an individual to serve as a law enforcement officer, in any of which cases such information shall not be disclosed to any other person.
XII. A person is guilty of a misdemeanor if, during the life of another who has had a record of arrest or conviction annulled pursuant to this section, he or she, having knowledge of the annulment, knowingly discloses or communicates the existence of such record except as provided in subparagraph XI(b) and paragraphs XVI-XVII.
XIII. As used in this section, "violent crime'' means:
(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.
XIV. As used in this section, "crime of obstruction of justice'' means:
(a) Tampering with witnesses or informants under RSA 641:5 or falsifying evidence under RSA 641:6; or
(b) Any felonious offense of obstructing governmental operations under RSA 642.
XV. A petition for annulment of any record of arrest, conviction, and sentence authorized by this section may be brought in the supreme court with respect to any such record in the supreme court, provided that no record in the supreme court relating to an opinion published in the New Hampshire Reports may be annulled.
XVI. A journalist or reporter shall not be subject to civil or criminal penalties for publishing or broadcasting:
(a) That a person had a criminal record that has been annulled, including the content of that record.
(b) That a person has a criminal record, including the content of such record, without reporting that the record has been annulled, if the journalist or reporter does not have knowledge of the annulment.
XVII. No person or entity, whether public or private, shall be subject to civil or criminal penalties for not removing from public access or making corrections to a report or statement that a person has a criminal record, including the content of such record, if thereafter the criminal record was annulled. This provision shall apply to any report or statement, regardless of its format.
Source. 1971, 518:1. 1985, 205:2. 1986, 49:1; 189:1. 1988, 238:6. 1991, 159:1. 1992, 269:11. 1994, 224:1. 1998, 325:2. 2002, 269:1. 2006, 163:3, eff. Jan. 1, 2007; 260:34, eff. Jan. 1, 2007. 2008, 62:4, eff. July 20, 2008; 104:1, eff. Jan. 1, 2009. 2009, 144:131, eff. July 1, 2009. 2011, 219:1-3, eff. June 28, 2011.
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