NH Law About... Annulment of Criminal Records

Introduction to... Annulment of Criminal Records

Updated April 6, 2018.

There are many consequences of criminal convictions that go beyond serving a sentence or paying a fine. These are called the "collateral consequences of conviction." One way of mitigating these collateral consequences is the annulment of a criminal record. Some states refer to this as the expungement or expunction of criminal records, but in New Hampshire the usual phrase is annulment of criminal records. 

Chapter 38 of Criminal Practice and Procedure by Richard McNamara describes the purpose of annulment, and when and how an annulment may be obtained. Only some defendants and some sentences are eligible for annulment, so it is important to research thoroughly.

Please remember that this guide is for information purposes only and is not comprehensive. It is intended as a starting point for research, to illustrate the various sources of the law, and to provide guidance in their use. NH Law About ... is not a substitute for the services of an attorney.

 


Read about... Annulment of Criminal Records

WEBSITES

Circuit Court. District Division - Annulment of Criminal Records  GO>

Link verified on: April 6, 2018

New Hampshire Legal Aid. How to Remove Your Criminal Record

Link verified on: April 6, 2018

You must ask a court to remove an entry from your criminal record. Which court you ask depends on what you are looking to remove. You must ask the court in which you were convicted, or if no conviction resulted, the court where the case was resolved. For an arrest or charge that was dismissed or not prosecuted, you must ask the court that dismissed the charge. For an arrest or charge with a not guilty finding, you must ask the court that issued the not guilty finding. For a conviction and sentence, you must ask the court that issued the conviction and sentence.   GO>

New Hampshire. Dept. of Corrections. Policy and Procedure Directive. Annulment/Pardon Investigations

Link verified on: April 6, 2018

It is the policy of the DOC to conduct annulment investigations assigned by the Court in accordance with RSA 651:5. The criteria for eligibility is listed in RSA 651:5, 265-A:21, 262:19 IV and 318-B:28-a. The Department of Corrections shall conduct pardon investigations assigned by the New Hampshire Office of the Attorney General in accordance with RSA 4:22.   GO>

New Hampshire. Dept. of Safety. Support Services Bureau. Criminal Records Unit. Frequently Asked Questions  GO>

Link verified on: April 6, 2018


PRINT

Criminal practice and procedure / by Richard B. McNamara. New Providence, NJ : LexisNexis Matthew Bender, 2017. 6th ed.   GO>

Link verified on: April 6, 2018

The Eternal Criminal Record / James B. Jacobs. Cambridge, Mass. [u.a.] : Harvard Univ. Press, 2015

For over sixty million Americans, possessing a criminal record overshadows everything else about their public identity. A rap sheet, or even a court appearance or background report that reveals a run-in with the law, can have fateful consequences for a person's interactions with just about everyone else. The Eternal Criminal Record makes transparent a pervasive system of police databases and identity screening that has become a routine feature of American life. The United States is unique in making criminal information easy to obtain by employers, landlords, neighbors, even cyberstalkers. Its nationally integrated rap-sheet system is second to none as an effective law enforcement tool, but it has also facilitated the transfer of ever more sensitive information into the public domain. While there are good reasons for a person's criminal past to be public knowledge, records of arrests that fail to result in convictions are of questionable benefit. Simply by placing someone under arrest, a police officer has the power to tag a person with a legal history that effectively incriminates him or her for life.   GO>

Link verified on: April 6, 2018

Back to the top

Read the law about... Annulment of Criminal Records

NEW HAMPSHIRE STATUTES

RSA 106-K. Criminal Justice Information System  GO>

Link verified on: April 6, 2018

RSA 262:19. Habitual Offenders  GO>

Link verified on: April 6, 2018

RSA 265-A:21. Alcohol or Drug Impairment. Annulment; Plea Bargaining  GO>

Link verified on: April 6, 2018

RSA 318-B:28-a. Controlled Drug Act. Annulments of Criminal Records  GO>

Link verified on: April 6, 2018

RSA 651:5. Sentences. Annulment of Criminal Records  GO>

Link verified on: April 6, 2018

Find it in a Library ... New Hampshire Revised Statutes Annotated

Link verified on: June 29, 2018

Find the New Hampshire statutes in print at libraries throughout the state.   GO>

Learn About New Hampshire Statutes: New Hampshire statutes are the laws of the State of New Hampshire as enacted by the New Hampshire General Court. GO>
 

NEW HAMPSHIRE CASES

164 N.H. 296 (2012). State v. Baker

Link verified on: April 6, 2018

In deciding whether annulment is consistent with the public welfare, the trial court should weigh the factors in favor of annulment, such as evidence of the defendant's exemplary conduct and character since his last conviction, against the public interest in keeping his convictions a matter of public record. Thus, in exercising its discretion, the court may consider such factors as the number and circumstances of the convictions at issue, the defendant's age at the time of each conviction, the time span of the convictions, and the particular manner in which annulment would aid the defendant's rehabilitation for example, by allowing him to obtain a professional license or to pursue a calling otherwise prohibited to those convicted of a crime.   GO>

169 N.H. 32 (2016). Wolfgram v. New Hampshire Department of Safety

Link verified on: April 6, 2018

Although RSA 262:19, III provides that the order certifying a habitual offender "shall become part of the record of the division of motor vehicles," it does not require that, after the underlying convictions have been annulled, the notations referring to the habitual offender certification and decertification be included on the publicly accessible motor vehicle record. Because motor vehicle records can be accessed by members of the public, interpreting RSA 651:5 to require the removal of annulled convictions from a motor vehicle record but not the removal of habitual offender notations that reveal the fact of those annulled convictions would run counter to the plain language of the annulment statute and undermine the purpose of the statutory scheme. Thus, construing the annulment statute together with the habitual offender law, we conclude that, because the petitioner is a decertified habitual offender and the convictions underlying his habitual offender certification have been annulled, DOS must maintain its record of his habitual offender certification status in such a way that the information is not accessible by members of the public.   GO>

169 N.H. 319 (2016). Grafton County Attorney's Office v. Canner

Link verified on: April 6, 2018

[W]e hold that records maintained by arresting and prosecuting agencies pertaining to an annulled arrest and the related prosecution do not fall under the exemption in RSA 91-A:4, I, for records that are "otherwise prohibited by statute" from public inspection. Thus, they are not categorically exempt from public inspection. Allowing the public to access the records related to Doe's arrest and prosecution will facilitate a more informed public discussion about the decisions made by law enforcement officials and prosecutors. If records of arresting and prosecuting agencies pertaining to an annulled arrest, conviction, or sentence were categorically exempt from public inspection, any citizen wishing to assess or comment upon the actions of the police or the prosecutor in a given case would be unable to examine the primary sources of information - agency records - and, instead, would have to rely upon media accounts.   GO>

Find it in a Library ... New Hampshire Reports

Link verified on: May 18, 2018

Find the New Hampshire Reports in libraries throughout the state.   GO>

Learn About New Hampshire Cases: New Hampshire case law consists of the published opinions of the New Hampshire Supreme Court. GO>
 

NEW HAMPSHIRE COURT RULES

New Hampshire Rules of Criminal Procedure. Rule 31. Annulments  GO>

Link verified on: April 6, 2018

New Hampshire Rules of Evidence. Rule 609. Impeachment by Evidence of Conviction of Crime  GO>

Link verified on: April 6, 2018

Learn About New Hampshire Court Rules: Follow this link to learn how to search court rules online as well as what court rules are and how they're published. GO>
 

FORMS

Annulment of Criminal Records Checklist  GO>

Link verified on: April 6, 2018

NHJB 2317-DS. Petition to Annul Record   GO>

Link verified on: April 6, 2018

NHJB 2981-D. Juvenile Petition to Annul Record  GO>

Link verified on: April 6, 2018


FOR MORE HELP ...

New Hampshire Law Library

Link verified on: June 29, 2018

The state's only public law library. Call, email, or visit, we'll be happy to help.   GO>

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Policy Manual.Adjudicative Factors. Expunged Records

Link verified on: April 6, 2018

The Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) has held that a state court action to expunge, dismiss, cancel, vacate, discharge, or otherwise remove a guilty plea or other record of guilt or conviction by operation of a state rehabilitative statute has no effect on removing the underlying conviction for immigration purposes   GO>

National Inventory of the Collateral Consequences of Conviction

Link verified on: April 6, 2018

Collateral consequences are legal and regulatory sanctions and restrictions that limit or prohibit people with criminal records from accessing employment, occupational licensing, housing, voting, education, and other opportunities. Collateral consequences most frequently affect people who have been convicted of a crime, though in some states an arrest alone—even an arrest that doesn't result in a conviction—may trigger a collateral consequence. The National Inventory of Collateral Consequences of Conviction is a searchable database of the collateral consequences in all U.S. Jurisdictions.   GO>


Back to the top

Supported by Altos   

DISCLAIMER: This website is designed to collect and organize reliable, authoritative legal information about New Hampshire law. The links from this site are to sites over which we have no authority or control. We assume no responsibility for the accuracy of the information you may encounter once you leave our site.