In New Hampshire, both juveniles and adults can expunge or annul their criminal history, with some limitations. An expungement will remove a criminal offense from state-run background checks and prevent public access to the information. It also may help you find employment, obtain housing, and get into college and vocational training programs.
Expungement of Juvenile Criminal Records
In New Hampshire, juvenile records are automatically sealed once you reach the age of 21. Once a record is sealed, it cannot be publically viewed. However, law enforcement agencies may still access a sealed record.
Expungement of Adult Criminal Records
You may expunge a wide variety of criminal records in New Hampshire, including some adult felonies, misdemeanors, and arrest records. You may file a Petition to Annul Record once you have completed the terms of your sentence and a waiting period. A separate petition must be filed for each conviction or criminal charge.
Many felony convictions are expungeable in New Hampshire. However, you cannot annul violent offenses, convictions for obstructing justice, or crimes that required extended incarceration. To qualify for annulment, you must complete your sentencing terms and a waiting period. The waiting period varies, depending on the severity of your crime. They include:
- Class A felonies: 10 years,
- Most Class B felonies: 5 years, and
- Felony sexual assault, indecent exposure, or lewdness: 10 years.
To be eligible for a misdemeanor expungement, you must have completed the terms of your sentence and a waiting period. For Class A misdemeanors (other than sexual assault), there is a three year waiting period. Class B misdemeanors require a two year wait. Again, a criminal defense or expungement lawyer may be able to help with the expungement process.
Expunging Criminal Charges That Did Not Lead to a Conviction
If you were charged with a crime, but not indicted, you may expunge the arrest record immediately. This includes cases where:
Again, you must file a Petition to Annul Record. Your criminal defense lawyer may be able to help you expunge your arrest record and criminal charges.
Associated Fees and Paperwork
You must pay a $100 filing fee in an expungement case. If you hire an expungement or criminal defense lawyer, you may also be charged for attorney fees and other costs.
Implications of a Successful Expungement
If the court grants your petition, you may lawfully state that the expunged criminal record does not exist. When most employers search your New Hampshire criminal record, the charges will not be present. Expunged records will still be available to law enforcement agencies.
Should I Consult a Lawyer?
If a Petition to Annul is denied, you must wait another three years before refilling. For this reason, it may be in your best interest to hire an experienced expungement lawyer. A lawyer can help guide you through the expungement process and insure that you have the correct information in your request.