Expunging or Annulling Adult Criminal Records in New Hampshire

In New Hampshire, many criminal records can be expunged or “annulled” so that the general public will not be able to access them. But not all records are eligible.

In New Hampshire, the process of expunging a criminal record is called “annulment.” Your criminal record may be annulled under the circumstances described below. If your record is annulled, in most cases, you will be treated as though you were never arrested, convicted, or sentenced.

Annulment in New Hampshire if You Were Not Convicted of a Crime

Arrest records for cases disposed of before January 1, 2019. If you were arrested but not convicted of a crime, you may petition for annulment of your arrest record at any time if:

  • you were not prosecuted
  • the case against you was dismissed, or
  • you were found not guilty.

(N.H. Rev. Stat. § 651:5(II) (2019).)

Arrest records for cases disposed of on or after January 1, 2019. If you were arrested and not convicted of a crime, you may petition for annulment of your arrest record under the following circumstances.

  • If you were not prosecuted, you can petition for annulment at any time.
  • If the court dismissed the charges, you may petition for annulment at least 30 days after the judge issues the dismissal order.
  • If you were found not guilty on all charges related to the same incident, you may petition for annulment after your case’s appeal period expires.

(N.H. Rev. Stat. § 651:5(II) (2019).)

Annulment in New Hampshire if You Were Convicted of a Crime

If you have successfully completed your sentence and satisfied the required waiting period, you may petition for annulment of any of the convictions listed below. You cannot, however, annul a violent crime, a felony obstruction of justice crime, or any offense for which you were sentenced to an extended term of imprisonment.

Waiting period. For most violations, the waiting period is one year, except for the following:

  • Conviction that a court later vacated, no waiting period.
  • Class B misdemeanor (excluding sexual assault) or any drug offense under N.H. Rev. Stat. § 318-B:26(II), after two years.
  • Class A misdemeanor (excluding sexual assault) or a misdemeanor domestic violence offense, after three years.
  • Class B felony other than felony indecent exposure or lewdness, after five years.
  • Class A felony or sexual assault, after ten years.
  • Felony indecent exposure or lewdness, after ten years.

(N.H. Rev. Stat. § 651:5 (2019).)

DNA Evidence. You may petition to have your DNA record expunged from the state DNA database if the case against you is dismissed or your conviction is reversed. (N.H. Rev. Stat. § 651-C:5 (2019).)

Getting Legal Help

Cleaning up a criminal record can be complicated, and the law can change at any time. If you are not sure whether your record qualifies for annulment in New Hampshire—or for advice about your personal situation—you should contact a qualified criminal law attorney. A good lawyer can guide you each step of the way.

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