New Hampshire Annulment Laws
When a person is convicted of a criminal offense, it goes on their criminal record. This record is looked at, not only by police, but by potential employers, schools, lending agencies and more when a background check is performed. The more serious the offense, the less likely a person is to pass a background check. The good news is, there are many circumstances in which a person, who is convicted of a criminal offense in New Hampshire, can petition to have it removed from their record. In many states this process is referred to as expungement, but in New Hampshire it is known as annulment. RSA 651:5 of the criminal code explains the annulment process.
If you have been convicted of any type of criminal offense in New Hampshire and are interested in getting the conviction removed from your record, contact Russman Law right away to find out more about annulment law.
Expungement Law in New Hampshire
Under New Hampshire law, anyone can petition the court to have their record of arrest, conviction and sentence be annulled. The court will make a ruling based on the amount of time that has passed, the results of the case, if an annulment would help with the petitioner's rehabilitation and if it would pose a threat to public welfare. The court does not have to have a hearing in order to make a decision unless the petitioner request one.
Annulment of Arrest Record
An offender who was convicted of a crime must wait a certain amount of time before they can request an annulment of their criminal record. According to New Hampshire law, a person can request an annulment of their arrest record, court record or both at any time if any of the following are true of their case:
- It resulted in a finding of not guilty
- It was dismissed It was not prosecuted
Annulment of Criminal Convictions
In order for a person to petition for annulment, they must first wait a certain amount of time. They must also make sure that all terms and conditions for their sentence be fulfilled and that they are not accused or convicted of any other offense. The time periods are as follows, depending on the class of offense:
- A violation (other than offenses specified under habitual offender laws): 1 year
- A Class A misdemeanor: 3 years
- A Class B misdemeanor: 3 years
- A Class A felony: 10 years
- A Class B felony: 5 years
- A sexual assault: 10 years
A person is not eligible for an annulment if they have been convicted of any of the following crimes:
- Any crime that resulted in an extended term of imprisonment under RSA 641:6
- Any violent crime
- Any obstruction of justice crime
There are also special laws for DWI and aggravated DWI charges. To find out more about annulling a DWI conviction, contact Russman Law.
The NH Expungement Process
The purpose of allowing offenders to annul a record is to help them be rehabilitated. After a crime is committed and a sentence is served, if an offender is having trouble finding employment or housing, this could lead to a relapse or prevent them from contributing to the good of society. The state allows annulments but this does not mean that the crimes will be completely wiped from a person's record. Some agencies may still have old records that still show the crimes and, per RSA 651:5 XVII, no criminal charges will result from “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.”
When a petition is filed and the time period has been met, the court will review all aspects of their charge including speaking with the prosecutor of the offense being annulled. The fee for a annulment is $100 that is used to cover the expense of this investigation. If the court does not approve a person's petition for annulment, they must wait 3 years before they can petition again. This is true regardless of the type of offense that is being petitioned for annulment.
In addition, an offender that has been convicted of more than one offense, they will not be eligible for an annulment if:
- Any offense is one that is barred from annulment
- The time period for annulment of any offense has not yet been met
Call a New Hampshire Expungement Attorney
If you have a criminal record that you would like to have expunged, contact our office to speak to a New Hampshire criminal defense attorney who can help you with this process.