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Legal Information: New Hampshire

Statutes: New Hampshire

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Statutes: New Hampshire

Updated: 
February 10, 2020

The statutes below are updated with laws current through Chapter 346 of the 2019 Reg. Sess. Please check to make sure there have been no changes since this time. You will find these and additional statutes online at the New Hampshire General Court website.

Title XII. Public Safety and Welfare

Updated: 
February 10, 2020

Chapter 159. Pistols and Revolvers

Updated: 
February 10, 2020

159:3. Convicted Felons.

Updated: 
February 10, 2020

I. A person is guilty of a class B felony if he:

(a) Owns or has in his possession or under his control, a pistol, revolver, or other firearm, or slungshot, metallic knuckles, billies, stiletto, switchblade knife, sword cane, pistol cane, blackjack, dagger, dirk-knife, or other deadly weapon as defined in RSA 625:11, V; and

(b) Has been convicted in either a state or federal court in this or any other state, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, or any territory or possession of the United States of:

(1) A felony against the person or property of another; or

(2) A felony under RSA 318-B; or

(3) A felony violation of the laws of any other state, the District of Columbia, the United States, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico or any territory or possession of the United States relating to controlled drugs as defined in RSA 318-B.

I-a. A person is guilty of a class B felony if such person completes and signs an application for purchase of a firearm and the person is a convicted felon under the provisions of paragraph I.

II. The state shall confiscate to the use of the state the weapon or weapons of persons convicted under this section.

III. It is an affirmative defense to a charge under this section that a felony of which a defendant has been convicted in another jurisdiction would not have constituted a felony in the state of New Hampshire at the time such felony was committed.

159:3-a. Armed Career Criminals.

Updated: 
February 10, 2020

I. No person who has been convicted of any combination of 3 or more felonies in this state or any other state under homicide, assault, sexual assault, arson, burglary, robbery, extortion, child sexual abuse images, or controlled drug laws, shall own or have in his or her possession or under his or her control, a pistol, revolver, rifle, shotgun, or any other firearm.
II. Any person who violates paragraph I shall be guilty of a felony and, notwithstanding RSA 651:2, II, shall be sentenced to a minimum mandatory term of 10 years imprisonment and a maximum term of imprisonment of not more than 40 years and shall be fined not more than $25,000.
III. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, neither the whole, nor any part of the minimum mandatory sentence provided under paragraph II shall be served concurrently with any other term, nor shall the whole or any part of such additional term of imprisonment be suspended or deferred. No action brought to enforce sentencing under this section shall be continued for sentencing, nor shall the provisions of RSA 651:20 relative to suspensions or RSA 651-A relative to parole apply to any sentence of imprisonment imposed.

159:12. Sale to Minors

Updated: 
February 10, 2020

I. Any person who shall sell, barter, hire, lend or give to any minor any pistol or revolver shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.

II. This section shall not apply to:

(a) Fathers, mothers, grandparents, guardians, administrators or executors who give a pistol or revolver to their children or wards or to heirs to an estate.

(b) Individuals instructing minors in the safe use of firearms during a supervised firearms training program, provided the minor’s parent or legal guardian has granted the minor permission to participate in such program.

(c) Licensed hunters accompanying a minor while lawfully taking wildlife.

(d) Individuals supervising minors using firearms during a lawful shooting event or activity.

Chapter 173-B. Protection of Persons From Domestic Violence

Updated: 
February 10, 2020

173-B:1. Definitions.

Updated: 
February 10, 2020

In this chapter:

I. “Abuse” means the commission or attempted commission of one or more of the acts described in subparagraphs (a) through (h) by a family or household member or by a current or former sexual or intimate partner, where such conduct is determined to constitute a credible present threat to the petitioner’s safety. The court may consider evidence of such acts, regardless of their proximity in time to the filing of the petition, which, in combination with recent conduct, reflects an ongoing pattern of behavior which reasonably causes or has caused the petitioner to fear for his or her safety or well-being:

(a) Assault or reckless conduct as defined in RSA 631:1 through RSA 631:3.

(b) Criminal threatening as defined in RSA 631:4.

(c) Sexual assault as defined in RSA 632-A:2 through RSA 632-A:5.

(d) Interference with freedom as defined in RSA 633:1 through RSA 633:3-a.

(e) Destruction of property as defined in RSA 634:1 and RSA 634:2.

(f) Unauthorized entry as defined in RSA 635:1 and RSA 635:2.

(g) Harassment as defined in RSA 644:4.

(h) Cruelty to animals as defined in RSA 644:8.

II. “Applicant” means any private, town, city, or regional agency or organization applying for funds under RSA 173-B:16.

III. “Commissioner” means the commissioner of the department of health and human services.

IV. “Contact” means any action to communicate with another either directly or indirectly, including, but not limited to, using any form of electronic communication, leaving items, or causing another to communicate in such fashion.

V. “Coordinator” means the agency or organization appointed by the commissioner to administer the domestic violence grant program.

VI. “Cross orders for relief” means separate orders granted to parties in a domestic violence situation where each of the parties has filed a petition pursuant to this chapter on allegations arising from the same incident or incidents of domestic violence.

VII. “Deadly weapon” means “deadly weapon” as defined in RSA 625:11, V.

VIII. “Department” means the department of health and human services.

IX. “Domestic violence” means abuse as defined in RSA 173-B:1, I.

X. “Family or household member” means:

(a) Spouses, ex-spouses, persons cohabiting with each other, and persons who cohabited with each other but who no longer share the same residence.

(b) Parents and other persons related by consanguinity or affinity, other than minor children who reside with the defendant.

XI. “Firearm” means any weapon, including a starter gun, which will, is designed to, or may readily be converted to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive.

XII. “Foreign protective order” means an order enforceable under RSA 173-B:13.

XIII. “Fund” means the special fund for domestic violence programs established by RSA 173-B:15.

XIV. “Grantee” means any private, town, city, or regional agency or organization receiving funds under RSA 173-B:16.

XV. “Intimate partners” means persons currently or formerly involved in a romantic relationship, whether or not such relationship was ever sexually consummated.

XVI. “Mutual order for relief” means an order restraining both parties from abusing the other originating from a petition filed by one of the parties and arising from the same incident or incidents of domestic violence.

XVII. “Program” means services or facilities provided to domestic violence victims.

173-B:2. Jurisdiction and Venue.

Updated: 
February 10, 2020

I. The district division and the judicial branch family division of the circuit courts shall have concurrent jurisdiction over all proceedings under this chapter.

II. If the plaintiff has left the household or premises to avoid further abuse, the plaintiff shall have the option to commence proceedings pursuant to RSA 173-B:3 in the county or district where the plaintiff temporarily resides.

III. Proceedings under this chapter may be transferred to another court upon the motion of any party or of the court as the interests of justice or the convenience of the parties may require.

IV. [Repealed.]

173-B:3. Commencement of Proceedings; Hearing.

Updated: 
February 10, 2020

I. Any person may seek relief pursuant to RSA 173-B:5 by filing a petition, in the county or district where the plaintiff or defendant resides, alleging abuse by the defendant. Any person filing a petition containing false allegations of abuse shall be subject to criminal penalties. Notice of the pendency of the action and of the facts alleged against the defendant shall be given to the defendant, either personally or as provided in paragraph III. The plaintiff shall be permitted to supplement or amend the petition only if the defendant is provided an opportunity prior to the hearing to respond to the supplemental or amended petition. All petitions filed under this section shall include the home and work telephone numbers of the defendant, if known. Notice of the whereabouts of the plaintiff shall not be revealed except by order of the court for good cause shown. Any answer by the defendant shall be filed with the court and a copy shall be provided to the plaintiff by the court.

II. (a) The minority of the plaintiff shall not preclude the court from issuing protective orders against a present or former intimate partner, spouse, or ex-spouse under this chapter.

(b) A minor plaintiff need not be accompanied by a parent or guardian to receive relief or services under this chapter.

III. No filing fee or fee for service of process shall be charged for a petition or response under this section, and the plaintiff or defendant may proceed without legal counsel. Either a peace officer or the sheriff’s department shall serve process under this section. Any proceeding under this chapter shall not preclude any other available civil or criminal remedy.

IV. The clerks of the circuit courts shall supply forms for petitions and for relief under this chapter designed to facilitate pro se proceedings. All such petitions shall contain the following words: I swear that the foregoing information is true and correct to the best of my knowledge. I understand that making a false statement on this petition will subject me to criminal penalties.

V. [Repealed.]

VI. The findings of facts shall be final, but questions of law may be transferred from the circuit court to the supreme court.

VII. (a) The court shall hold a hearing within 30 days of the filing of a petition under this section or within 10 days of service of process upon the defendant, whichever occurs later.

(b) The time frame established in this paragraph may be extended for an additional 10 days upon motion by either party for good cause shown. A recusal by the judge or any act of God or closing of the court that interferes with the originally scheduled hearing shall not be cause for the dismissal of the petition. The court shall reschedule any hearing under this section in an expeditious manner.

VIII. In any proceeding under this chapter, the court shall not be bound by the technical rules of evidence and may admit evidence which it considers relevant and material.

173-B:4. Temporary Relief.

Updated: 
February 10, 2020

I. Upon a showing of an immediate and present danger of abuse, the court may enter temporary orders to protect the plaintiff with or without actual notice to defendant. The court may issue such temporary orders by telephone or facsimile. Such telephonically issued orders shall be made by a circuit court judge to a law enforcement officer, shall be valid in any jurisdiction in the state, and shall be effective until the close of the next regular court business day. Such orders shall be returnable to the circuit court where the plaintiff resides or to which the plaintiff has fled, unless otherwise ordered by the issuing judge. If non-telephonic temporary orders are made ex parte, the party against whom such relief is issued may file a written request with the clerk of the court and request a hearing on such orders. Such hearing shall be held no less than 3 business days and no more than 5 business days after the request is received by the clerk. Such hearings may constitute the final hearing described in RSA 173-B:3, VII. Such temporary relief may direct the defendant to relinquish to a peace officer any and all firearms and ammunition in the control, ownership, or possession of the defendant, or any other person on behalf of the defendant for the duration of the protective order. Other temporary relief may include:

(a) Protective orders:

(1) Restraining the defendant from abusing the plaintiff.

(2) Restraining the defendant from entering the premises and curtilage where the plaintiff resides, except when the defendant is accompanied by a peace officer and, upon reasonable notice to the plaintiff, is allowed entry by the plaintiff for the sole purpose of retrieving toiletries, medication, clothing, business equipment, and any other items as determined by the court.

(3) Restraining the defendant from withholding items of the plaintiff’s personal property which are specified in the order. A peace officer shall accompany the plaintiff in retrieving such property to protect the plaintiff.

(4) Awarding custody of minor children to either party or, upon actual notice, to the department when it is in the best interest of a child.

(5) Denying the defendant visitation, ordering that visitation shall take place only at a supervised visitation center that uses a metal detection device and has trained security personnel on-site, ordering that visitation shall be supervised, or ordering a specific visitation schedule. Visitation shall only be ordered on an ex parte basis where such order can be entered consistent with the following requirements. In determining whether visitation can be safely ordered, the court shall consider the following factors:

(A) The degree to which visitation exposes the plaintiff or the children to physical or psychological harm.

(B) Whether the risk of physical or psychological harm can be removed by ordering supervised visitation or by ordering supervised visitation at a center that uses a metal detection device and has trained security personnel on-site.

(C) Whether visitation can be ordered without requiring the plaintiff and defendant to have contact regarding the exchange of children.

(6) Restraining the defendant from contacting the plaintiff or entering the plaintiff’s place of employment, school, or any specified place frequented regularly by the plaintiff or by any family or household member.

(7) Restraining the defendant from abusing the plaintiff, plaintiff’s relatives, regardless of their place of residence, or plaintiff’s household members in any way.

(8) Restraining the defendant from taking, converting, or damaging property in which the plaintiff may have a legal or equitable interest.

(9) Directing the defendant to relinquish to the peace officer, in addition to the relief specified in RSA 173-B:4, I, any and all deadly weapons specified in the protective order that are in the control, ownership, or possession of the defendant, or any other person on behalf of the defendant, for the duration of the protective order.

(10) Granting the petitioner exclusive care, custody, or control of any animal owned, possessed, leased, kept, or held by the petitioner, defendant, or a minor child in either household, and ordering the defendant to stay away from the animal and forbidding the defendant from taking, transferring, encumbering, concealing, committing an act of cruelty or neglect, or disposing of the animal.

(b) Other relief, including but not limited to:

(1) Awarding to the plaintiff the exclusive use and possession of an automobile, home, and household furniture, if the defendant has the legal duty to support the plaintiff or the plaintiff’s minor children, or the plaintiff has contributed to the household expenses. The court shall consider the type and amount of contribution to be a factor.

(2) Restraining the defendant from taking any action which would lead to the disconnection of any and all utilities and services to the parties’ household, or the discontinuance of existing business or service contracts, including, but not limited to, mortgage or rental agreements.

II. The defendant may be prohibited from purchasing, receiving, or possessing any deadly weapons and any and all firearms and ammunition for the duration of the order. The court may subsequently issue a search warrant authorizing the peace officer to seize any deadly weapons specified in the protective order and any and all firearms and ammunition, if there is probable cause to believe such firearms and ammunition and specified deadly weapons are kept on the premises or curtilage of the defendant and if the court has reason to believe that all such firearms and ammunition and specified deadly weapons have not been relinquished by the defendant.

173-B:5. Relief.

Updated: 
February 10, 2020

I. A finding of abuse shall mean the defendant represents a credible threat to the safety of the plaintiff. Upon a showing of abuse of the plaintiff by a preponderance of the evidence, the court shall grant such relief as is necessary to bring about a cessation of abuse. Such relief shall direct the defendant to relinquish to the peace officer any and all firearms and ammunition in the control, ownership, or possession of the defendant, or any other person on behalf of the defendant for the duration of the protective order. Other relief may include:

(a) Protective orders:

(1) Restraining the defendant from abusing the plaintiff.

(2) Restraining the defendant from entering the premises and curtilage where the plaintiff resides, except when the defendant is accompanied by a peace officer and is allowed entry by the plaintiff for the sole purpose of retrieving personal property specified by the court.

(3) Restraining the defendant from contacting the plaintiff or entering the plaintiff’s place of employment, school, or any specified place frequented regularly by the plaintiff or by any family or household member.

(4) Restraining the defendant from abusing the plaintiff, plaintiff’s relatives, regardless of their place of residence, or plaintiff’s household members in any way.

(5) Restraining the defendant from taking, converting, or damaging property in which the plaintiff may have a legal or equitable interest.

(6) Directing the defendant to relinquish to the peace officer, in addition to the relief specified in RSA 173-B:5, I, any and all deadly weapons specified in the protective order that are in the control, ownership, or possession of the defendant, or any other person on behalf of the defendant.

(7) Granting the petitioner exclusive care, custody, or control of any animal owned, possessed, leased, kept, or held by the petitioner, defendant, or a minor child in either household, and ordering the defendant to stay away from the animal and forbidding the defendant from taking, transferring, encumbering, concealing, committing an act of cruelty or neglect, or disposing of the animal.

(b) Other relief including, but not limited to:

(1) Granting the plaintiff the exclusive use and possession of the premises and curtilage of the plaintiff’s place of residence, unless the defendant exclusively owns or leases and pays for the premises and the defendant has no legal duty to support the plaintiff or minor children on the premises.

(2) Restraining the defendant from withholding items of the plaintiff’s personal property specified by the court. A peace officer shall accompany the plaintiff in retrieving such property to protect the plaintiff.

(3) Granting to the plaintiff the exclusive right of use and possession of the household furniture, furnishings, or a specific automobile, unless the defendant exclusively owns such personal property and the defendant has no legal duty to support the plaintiff or minor children.

(4) Ordering the defendant to make automobile, insurance, health care, utilities, rent, or mortgage payments.

(5) Awarding temporary custody of the parties’ minor children to either party or, where appropriate, to the department, provided that:

(A) Where custody of the parties’ minor children with the department may be appropriate, the department shall receive actual notice of the hearing 10 days prior to such hearing provided that, if necessary, such hearing may be continued 10 days to provide the department adequate notice.

(B) The department may move at any time to rescind its custody of the parties’ minor children.

(6) Establishing visitation rights with regard to the parties’ minor children. The court shall consider, and may impose on a custody award, conditions necessary to assure the safety of the plaintiff and minor children. This may include orders denying visitation, requiring supervised visitation that shall take place only at a visitation center that uses a metal detection device and has trained security personnel on-site, or requiring supervised visitation, where such order can be entered consistent with the following requirements. In determining whether visitation shall be granted, the court shall consider whether visitation can be exercised by the non-custodial parent without risk to the plaintiff’s or children’s safety. In making such determination, the court shall consider, in addition to any other relevant factors, the following:

(A) The degree to which visitation exposes the plaintiff or the children to physical or psychological harm.

(B) Whether the risk of physical or psychological harm can be removed by ordering supervised visitation or by ordering supervised visitation at a center that uses a metal detection device and has trained security personnel on-site.

(C) Whether visitation can be ordered without requiring the plaintiff and defendant to have contact regarding the exchange of children.

(7) Directing the defendant to pay financial support to the plaintiff or minor children, unless the defendant has no legal duty to support the plaintiff or minor children.

(8) Directing the abuser to engage in a batterer’s intervention program or personal counseling. If available, such intervention and counseling program shall focus on alternatives to aggression. The court shall not direct the plaintiff to engage in joint counseling services with the defendant. Court-ordered and court-referred mediation of cases involving domestic violence shall be prohibited.

(9) Ordering the defendant to pay the plaintiff monetary compensation for losses suffered as a direct result of the abuse which may include, but not be limited to, loss of earnings or support, medical and dental expenses, damage to property, out-of-pocket losses for injuries sustained, and moving and shelter expenses.

(10) Ordering the defendant to pay reasonable attorney’s fees.

II. The defendant shall be prohibited from purchasing, receiving, or possessing any deadly weapons and any and all firearms and ammunition for the duration of the order. The court may subsequently issue a search warrant authorizing a peace officer to seize any deadly weapons specified in the protective order and any and all firearms and ammunition, if there is probable cause to believe such firearms and ammunition and specified deadly weapons are kept on the premises or curtilage of the defendant.

III. Reconciliation after a previous order, prior to filing the current action, shall not be grounds for denying or terminating a new or existing protective order. Furthermore, the court shall not deny the plaintiff protective orders based solely on a lapse of time between an act of domestic violence and the filing of a petition, provided that the underlying act presents a credible threat to the plaintiff’s current safety.

IV. No order made under this section shall supersede or affect any court order pertaining to the possession of a residence; household furniture; custody of children pursuant to RSA 169-B, 169-C, or 169-D; support or custody made under RSA 458; or custody of children of unwed parents as determined by a circuit court, or title to real or personal property.

V. (a) Mutual orders for relief shall not be granted. A foreign mutual order for relief shall only be granted full faith and credit in New Hampshire if it meets the requirements set out in RSA 173-B:13, VII.

(b) Cross orders for relief may be granted only if:

(1) The court has made specific findings that each party has committed abuse against the other; and

(2) The court cannot determine who is the primary physical aggressor.

VI. Any order under this section shall be for a fixed period of time not to exceed one year, but may be extended by order of the court upon a motion by the plaintiff, showing good cause, with notice to the defendant, for one year after the expiration of the first order and thereafter each extension may be for up to 5 years, upon the request of the plaintiff and at the discretion of the court. The court shall review the order, and each renewal thereof and shall grant such relief as may be necessary to provide for the safety and well-being of the plaintiff. A defendant shall have the right to a hearing on the extension of any order under this paragraph to be held within 30 days of the extension. The court shall state in writing, at the respondent’s request, its reason or reasons for granting the extension. The court shall retain jurisdiction to enforce and collect the financial support obligation which accrued prior to the expiration of the protective order.

VII. Both parties shall be issued written copies of any orders issued by the court, and all orders shall bear the following language: “A willful violation of this order is a crime, as well as contempt of court. Violations of the protective provisions shall result in arrest and may result in imprisonment.” Orders shall clearly state how any party can request a further hearing and how the plaintiff may bring a criminal complaint or a petition for contempt if there is a violation of any court order.

VIII. (a) No order issued under this chapter shall be modified other than by the court. Temporary reconciliations shall not revoke an order.

(b) If either party wishes the defendant to be excused from any provisions of an order of protection, the remedy is to petition the court for modification of such order.

(c) A defendant who is restrained from contacting the plaintiff or entering the premises of the plaintiff is prohibited from doing so even if invited by the plaintiff unless the restraining order has been modified by the court.

(d) This paragraph shall give unequivocal direction to peace officers that orders for protection are to be enforced as written and that no action by a party relieves them of the duty to enforce the order.

VIII-a. Upon issuing an order against a defendant, in which a defendant is restrained from having any contact with the plaintiff, the court shall advise the plaintiff that it would be unwise and possibly unsafe for the plaintiff to contact the defendant. If the plaintiff wishes to contact the defendant for any reason, the court shall advise the plaintiff that such contact be made only after petitioning the court for a modification of the order. In an emergency situation, the plaintiff or plaintiff’s family may request that the local police department notify the defendant and the local police may accompany the defendant to a designated location, such as a hospital, if appropriate.

IX. (a) A copy of each protective order issued under this chapter shall be transmitted to the administrative office of the courts by facsimile or computer. An emergency protective order issued telephonically shall be transmitted by telephone or facsimile to the department of safety.

(b) The administrative office of the courts shall enter information regarding the protective orders into the state database which shall be made available to police and sheriff departments statewide. The department of safety shall make available information regarding emergency protective orders issued telephonically to police and sheriff departments statewide.

(c) The administrative office of the courts shall update the database upon expiration or termination of a protective order.

(d) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the administrative office of the courts or the department of safety, its employees and agents, and law enforcement officials shall not be held criminally or civilly liable for action taken under this chapter or RSA 458:16, provided they are acting in good faith and without gross negligence, and within the scope of their duties and authority.

IX-a. If a criminal records check conducted by the department of safety indicates that a potential buyer or transferee is prohibited from receipt or possession of a firearm pursuant to a protective order issued under this chapter, the department of safety shall notify the administrative office of the courts of the denial. The administrative office of the courts shall immediately notify the plaintiff that the defendant has attempted to purchase or obtain a firearm in violation of the protective order.

X. (a) Within 15 days prior to the expiration of the protective orders, the defendant may request, by motion to the court, the return of any and all firearms and ammunition and specified deadly weapons held by the law enforcement agency while the protective order was in effect. Upon receipt of such a motion, the court shall schedule a hearing no later than 15 days after the expiration of the order. The court shall provide written notice to the plaintiff who shall have the right to appear and be heard, and to the law enforcement agency which has control of the firearms, ammunition, and specified deadly weapons. The scope of the hearing shall be limited to:

(1) Establishing whether the defendant is subject to any state or federal law or court order that precludes the defendant from owning or possessing a firearm; and

(2) Under circumstances where the plaintiff has requested an extension of the protective order, whether the plaintiff has established by a preponderance of the evidence that the defendant continues to represent a credible threat to the safety of the plaintiff.

(b) If the court finds that the defendant is not subject to any state or federal law or court order precluding the ownership or possession of firearms, or if the court denies the plaintiff’s request to extend the protective order, the court shall issue a written order directing the law enforcement agency to return the requested firearms, ammunition, or deadly weapon to the defendant.

(c) Law enforcement agencies shall not release firearms and ammunition and specified deadly weapons without a court order granting such release. The law enforcement agency may charge the defendant a reasonable fee for the storage of any firearms and ammunition and specified deadly weapons taken pursuant to a protective order. The fee shall not exceed the actual cost incurred by the law enforcement agency for the storage of the firearms and ammunition and specified deadly weapons. The defendant may make alternative arrangements with a federally licensed firearms dealer for the storage of firearms, at the defendant’s own expense, upon approval of the court. Such firearms shall be turned over to the appropriate law enforcement agency for transfer to the storage facility. Retrieval of such firearms shall be through the law enforcement agency responsible for their transfer to the storage facility pursuant to a court order as prescribed in this paragraph.

(d) No law enforcement agency shall be held liable for alleged damage or deterioration due to storage or transportation to any firearms and ammunition and specified deadly weapons held by a law enforcement agency, so long as due care is used.

173-B:5-a. Permissible Contact.

Updated: 
February 10, 2020

I. A protective order issued pursuant to RSA 173-B:4 or RSA 173-B:5 shall not be construed to prohibit an attorney, or any person acting on the attorney’s behalf, who is representing the defendant in an action brought under this chapter, or in any criminal proceeding concerning the abuse alleged under this chapter, from contacting the plaintiff for a legitimate purpose within the scope of the civil or criminal proceeding; provided, that the attorney or person acting on behalf of the attorney: identifies himself or herself as a representative of the defendant; acknowledges the existence of the protective order and informs the plaintiff that he or she has no obligation to speak; terminates contact with the plaintiff if the plaintiff expresses an unwillingness to talk; and ensures that any personal contact with the plaintiff occurs outside of the defendant’s presence, unless the court has modified the protective order to permit such contact.

II. A no-contact provision in a protective order issued pursuant to RSA 173- B:4 or RSA 173-B:5 shall not be construed to:

(a) Prevent contact between counsel for represented parties; or

(b) Prevent a party from appearing at a scheduled court or administrative hearing; or

(c) Prevent a defendant or defendant’s counsel from sending the plaintiff copies of any legal pleadings filed in court relating to the domestic violence petition or related civil or criminal matters.

III. A violation of this section may result in a finding of contempt of court.

173-B:6. Guardian Ad Litem.

Updated: 
February 10, 2020

In all proceedings under this chapter, the court may appoint a guardian ad litem to represent the interests of the children of either or both parties. The guardian ad litem may continue to serve after the final disposition of the case.

173-B:7. Minority not a Preclusion for Services.

Updated: 
February 10, 2020

The minority of any individual seeking assistance from any domestic violence program, as defined by RSA 173-B:1, shall not preclude provision of such requested services.

173-B:8. Notification.

Updated: 
February 10, 2020

I. A copy of any order made under this chapter which prohibits any person from abusing another shall be promptly transmitted to the local law enforcement agency having jurisdiction to enforce such order.

II. Temporary orders shall be promptly served on the defendant by a peace officer. Subsequent orders shall be sent to the defendant’s last address of record. The defendant shall be responsible for informing the court of any changes of address. Law enforcement agencies shall establish procedures whereby a peace officer at the scene of an alleged violation of such an order may be informed of the existence and terms of such order.

III. Any court-ordered changes or modifications of the order shall be effective upon issuance of such changes or modifications, and shall be mailed or otherwise provided to the appropriate local law enforcement agency and transmitted to the department of safety within 24 hours of the entry of such changes or modifications.

173-B:9. Violation of Protective Order; Penalty.

Updated: 
February 10, 2020

I. (a) When the defendant violates either a temporary or permanent protective order issued or enforced under this chapter, peace officers shall arrest the defendant and ensure that the defendant is detained until arraignment, provided that in extreme circumstances, such as when the health of the defendant would be jeopardized by the temporary detention, a judge in response to a request by the arresting law enforcement officer or agency, may order an alternative to detention pending arraignment. Such arrests may be made within 12 hours without a warrant upon probable cause, whether or not the violation is committed in the presence of a peace officer.
(b) Subsequent to an arrest, the peace officer shall seize any firearms and ammunition in the control, ownership, or possession of the defendant and any deadly weapons which may have been used, or were threatened to be used, during the violation of the protective order. The law enforcement agency shall maintain possession of the firearms, ammunition, or deadly weapons until the court issues an order directing that the firearms, ammunition, or deadly weapons be relinquished and specifying the person to whom the firearms and ammunition or deadly weapons will be relinquished.

II. The prosecution and sentencing for criminal contempt for a violation of a protective order shall not preclude the prosecution of or sentencing for other criminal charges underlying the contempt.

III. A person shall be guilty of a class A misdemeanor if such person knowingly violates a protective order issued under this chapter, or RSA 458:16, III, or any foreign protective order enforceable under the laws of this state. Charges made under this chapter shall not be reduced to a lesser charge, as permitted in other instances under RSA 625:9.

IV. Any person convicted under RSA 173-B:9, III, or who has been convicted in another jurisdiction of violating a protective order enforceable under the laws of this state, who, within 6 years of such conviction or the completion of the sentence imposed for such conviction, whichever is later, subsequently commits and is convicted of one or more offenses involving abuse may be charged with an enhanced penalty for each subsequent offense as follows:
(a) There shall be no enhanced charge under this section if the subsequent offense is a class A felony or an unclassified felony;
(b) If the subsequent offense would otherwise constitute a class B felony, it may be charged as a class A felony;
(c) If the subsequent offense would otherwise constitute a class A misdemeanor, it may be charged as a class B felony;
(d) If the subsequent offense would otherwise constitute a class B misdemeanor, it may be charged as a class A misdemeanor;
(e) If the subsequent offense would otherwise constitute a violation, it may be charged as a class B misdemeanor.

V. A victim of domestic violence shall be entitled to all rights granted to victims of crime under RSA 21-M:8-k.

173-B:10. Protection by Peace Officers.

Updated: 
February 10, 2020

I. Whenever any peace officer has probable cause to believe that a person has been abused, as defined in RSA 173-B:1, that officer shall use all means within reason to prevent further abuse including, but not limited to:

(a) Confiscating any deadly weapons involved in the alleged domestic abuse and any firearms and ammunition in the defendant’s control, ownership, or possession.

(b) Transporting or obtaining transportation for the victim and any child, to a designated place to meet with a domestic violence counselor, local family member, or friend.

(c) Assisting the victim in removing toiletries, medication, clothing, business equipment, and any other items determined by the court.

(d) Giving the victim immediate and written notice of the rights of victims and of the remedies and services available to victims of domestic violence. The written notice shall include a statement substantially as follows:

“If you are the victim of domestic violence and you believe that law enforcement protection is needed for your physical safety, you have the right to request that the officer assist in providing for your safety, including asking for an emergency telephonic order for protection. You may also request that the officer assist you in obtaining from your premises and curtilage, toiletries, medication, clothing, business equipment, and any other items as determined by the court, and in locating and taking you to a local safe place including, but not limited to, a designated meeting place to be used as a crisis center, a family member’s or friend’s residence, or a similar place of safety. If you are in need of medical treatment, you have the right to request that the officer assist you in obtaining an ambulance. You may request a copy of the report filed by the peace officer, at no cost, from the law enforcement department.”

II. Pursuant to RSA 594:10, an arrest for abuse may be made without a warrant upon probable cause, whether or not the abuse is committed in the presence of the peace officer. When the peace officer has probable cause to believe that the persons are committing or have committed abuse against each other, the officer need not arrest both persons, but should arrest the person the officer believes to be the primary physical aggressor. In determining who is the primary physical aggressor, an officer shall consider the intent of this chapter to protect the victims of domestic violence, the relative degree of injury or fear inflicted on the persons involved, and any history of domestic abuse between these persons if that history can reasonably be obtained by the officer.

173-B:11. Notice to the Victim.

Updated: 
February 10, 2020

I. Notwithstanding the peace officer’s obligations in RSA 173-B:9 and RSA 173-B:10, all peace officers shall give victims of abuse immediate and adequate notice of their right to go to the circuit court of their county to file a petition asking for protective orders against the abusive person and to seek a private criminal complaint.

II. The clerk of the court shall be responsible for advising victims of their right to request that the judge issue an order which may include removing any and all firearms and ammunition in the control, ownership, or possession of the defendant and may include:

(a) Restraining the defendant from abusing the victim.

(b) Directing the defendant to leave and stay away from the victim’s premises and curtilage.

(c) Giving the victim custody of any minor children, denying the defendant visitation, or requiring that visitation be supervised to ensure safety for the victim and minor children.

(d) Directing the defendant to support the victim and any minor children if the defendant has the legal responsibility to support either or both.

(e) Restraining the defendant from contacting the victim, or entering the victim’s place of employment, school, or any specified place frequented regularly by the victim or by any family or household member.

(f) Restraining the defendant from abusing, in any way, the victim, household members, or victim’s relatives, regardless of their place of residence.

(g) Restraining the defendant from taking, converting, or damaging property in which the victim may have a legal or equitable interest.

(h) Directing the defendant to temporarily relinquish to the peace officer specific deadly weapons in the control, ownership, or possession of the defendant which may have been used, or were threatened to be used, in an incident of abuse against the victim or any member of the victim’s household.

(i) Ordering the defendant to pay the victim monetary compensation for losses suffered as a direct result of the abuse which may include, but not be limited to, loss of earnings or support, medical and dental expenses, damage to property, out-of-pocket losses for injuries sustained, and moving and shelter expenses.

(j) Ordering the defendant to pay reasonable attorney’s fees.

173-B:12. Emergency Care; Limitation and Liability.

Updated: 
February 10, 2020

Any act or omission of any peace officer rendering emergency care or assistance to a victim of domestic violence including, but not limited to transportation, shall not impose civil liability upon the peace officer or the peace officer’s supervisors or employer if the care or assistance is rendered in good faith, unless the act or omission is a result of gross negligence or willful misconduct.

173-B:13. Orders Enforceable.

Updated: 
February 10, 2020

I. Any protective order issued under this chapter shall be effective throughout the state.

II. Any protective order issued by any other state, tribal, or territorial court related to domestic or family violence, including an ex parte order, shall be deemed valid if the issuing court had jurisdiction over the parties and matter under the law of the state, tribe, or territory, and the person against whom the order was made was given reasonable notice and opportunity to be heard. There shall be a presumption of validity where an order appears facially valid.

III. Any valid protective order, as defined in paragraph II, shall be accorded full faith and credit throughout the state.

IV. A person entitled to protection under a foreign protective order, as defined in paragraph II, may file such order in any circuit court by filing with the court a certified copy of the order. Such person shall swear under oath in an affidavit to the best of such person’s knowledge that the order is presently in effect as written. Such filing shall be without fee or cost. The clerk of the circuit court shall forward such order to the administrative office of the courts which shall enter such order in the state database. Such filing shall not be a precondition to arrest or enforcement of a foreign order.

V. A peace officer may rely upon a copy of any protective order issued under this chapter, or under RSA 458, or upon a copy of a foreign protective order, as defined in this section, which has been provided to the peace officer by any source.

VI. Law enforcement personnel may rely on the statement of the person protected by the order that the order remains in effect as written.

VII. A mutual protective order issued by any other state, tribal, or territorial court against one who has petitioned, filed a complaint, or otherwise filed a written pleading for protection relating to domestic or family violence shall be accorded full faith and credit only if:

(a) A cross or counter petition, complaint, or other written pleading was filed seeking such protection order; and

(b) The court made specific findings of domestic or family violence by both parties and that each party was entitled to such order.

173-B:14. Orders of Support.

Updated: 
February 10, 2020

I. In any action determining the obligation of the obligor to support the obligee or the parties’ minor children including, but not limited to, actions for divorce pursuant to RSA 458; determination of parental rights and responsibilities pursuant to RSA 461-A; paternity pursuant to RSA 168-A; child support pursuant to RSA 161-B, RSA 161-C, and RSA 458; reimbursement of public assistance pursuant to RSA 161-C; and the uniform interstate family support act pursuant to RSA 546-B; the court shall take judicial notice of any support obligation established pursuant to this chapter upon the filing of a certified copy of the order by:

(a) Either party to the domestic violence proceeding.

(b) The department.

(c) Any other agency or person legally entitled to enforce the obligation of support for the minor children.

II. Any circuit court order for financial support shall include enforcement of any duly filed circuit court order from the date of filing forward, and shall include enforcement of any arrears which have been:

(a) Reduced to judgment by the circuit court;

(b) Documented by the department pursuant to an order to make payable through the department; or

(c) Documented by the obligee in a notarized statement, provided that the obligor shall have 30 days to object and request a hearing on the issue of arrears.

173-B:22. Confidentiality.

Updated: 
February 10, 2020

All persons who are employed, appointed, or who volunteer under this chapter shall maintain confidentiality with regard to persons served by the coordinator and grantees and files kept by the coordinator and grantees, except for reasons of safety for other shelter residents or staff.

173-B:23. Referral.

Updated: 
February 10, 2020

Where centers are available, any law enforcement officer who investigates an alleged incident of domestic violence shall advise the person subject to such violence of the availability of programs from which that person may receive services.

173-B:24. Rights Reserved.

Updated: 
February 10, 2020

A person shall not be prejudiced by the court having jurisdiction under RSA 173-B for having left the residence or household with or without the children to avoid further domestic violence.

173-B:25. Severability.

Updated: 
February 10, 2020

If any provision of this chapter or the application of such provision to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the invalidity does not affect other provisions or applications of the chapter which can be given effect without the invalid provisions or applications, and to this end the provisions of this chapter are severable.

Title XLIII. Domestic Relations

Updated: 
February 10, 2020

Chapter 458. Annulment, Divorce and Separation

Updated: 
February 10, 2020

Jurisdiction to Grant Divorce

Updated: 
February 10, 2020

458:6. Over Cause of Action

Updated: 
February 10, 2020

Jurisdiction of the cause for divorce exists when it wholly arose or accrued while the plaintiff was domiciled in the state, and not otherwise.

Causes for Divorce

Updated: 
February 10, 2020

458:7. Absolute Divorce, Generally.

Updated: 
February 10, 2020

A divorce from the bonds of matrimony shall be decreed in favor of the innocent party for any of the following causes:

I. Impotency of either party.

II. Adultery of either party.

III. Extreme cruelty of either party to the other.

IV. Conviction of either party, in any state or federal district, of a crime punishable with imprisonment for more than one year and actual imprisonment under such conviction.

V. When either party has so treated the other as seriously to injure health or endanger reason.

VI. When either party has been absent 2 years together, and has not been heard of.

VII. When either party is an habitual drunkard, and has been such for 2 years together.

VIII. When either party has joined any religious sect or society which professes to believe the relation of husband and wife unlawful, and has refused to cohabit with the other for 6 months together.

IX. When either party, without sufficient cause, and without the consent of the other, has abandoned and refused, for 2 years together, to cohabit with the other.

X-XIII. [Repealed.]

458:7-a. Absolute Divorce, Irreconcilable Differences.

Updated: 
February 10, 2020

A divorce from the bonds of matrimony shall be decreed, irrespective of the fault of either party, on the ground of irreconcilable differences which have caused the irremediable breakdown of the marriage. In any pleading or hearing of a petition for divorce under this section, allegations or evidence of specific acts of misconduct shall be improper and inadmissible, except where parental rights and responsibilities are an issue and such evidence is relevant to establish that a particular allocation of parental rights and responsibilities would be detrimental to the child or at a hearing where it is determined by the court to be necessary to establish the existence of irreconcilable differences. If, upon hearing of an action for divorce under this section, both parties are found to have committed an act or acts which justify a finding of irreconcilable differences, a divorce shall be decreed and the acts of one party shall not negate the acts of the other nor bar the divorce decree. The court’s findings and decree may be based on oral testimony or written stipulations of the parties.

Alimony, Allowances, Custody, etc.

Updated: 
February 10, 2020

458:16-a Property Settlement

Updated: 
February 10, 2020

I. Property shall include all tangible and intangible property and assets, real or personal, belonging to either or both parties, whether title to the property is held in the name of either or both parties. Intangible property includes, but is not limited to, employment benefits, vested and non-vested pension or other retirement benefits, or savings plans. To the extent permitted by federal law, property shall include military retirement and veterans’ disability benefits.

II. When a dissolution of a marriage is decreed, the court may order an equitable division of property between the parties. The court shall presume that an equal division is an equitable distribution of property, unless the court establishes a trust fund under RSA 458:20 or unless the court decides that an equal division would not be appropriate or equitable after considering one or more of the following factors:

(a) The duration of the marriage.

(b) The age, health, social or economic status, occupation, vocational skills, employability, separate property, amount and sources of income, needs and liabilities of each party.

(c) The opportunity of each party for future acquisition of capital assets and income.

(d) The ability of the custodial parent, if any, to engage in gainful employment without substantially interfering with the interests of any minor children in the custody of said party.

(e) The need of the custodial parent, if any, to occupy or own the marital residence and to use or own its household effects.

(f) The actions of either party during the marriage which contributed to the growth or diminution in value of property owned by either or both of the parties.

(g) Significant disparity between the parties in relation to contributions to the marriage, including contributions to the care and education of the children and the care and management of the home.

(h) Any direct or indirect contribution made by one party to help educate or develop the career or employability of the other party and any interruption of either party’s educational or personal career opportunities for the benefit of the other’s career or for the benefit of the parties’ marriage or children.

(i) The expectation of pension or retirement rights acquired prior to or during the marriage.

(j) The tax consequences for each party.

(k) The value of property that is allocated by a valid prenuptial contract made in good faith by the parties.

(l) The fault of either party as specified in RSA 458:7 if said fault caused the breakdown of the marriage and:

(1) Caused substantial physical or mental pain and suffering; or

(2) Resulted in substantial economic loss to the marital estate or the injured party.

(m) The value of any property acquired prior to the marriage and property acquired in exchange for property acquired prior to the marriage.

(n) The value of any property acquired by gift, devise, or descent.

(o) Any other factor that the court deems relevant.

III. If either or both parties retain an ownership interest in an education savings account held on behalf of a child of the marriage, including a qualified tuition program under 26 U.S.C. Section 529, the court may, in its discretion, preserve the account for its original purpose or may treat the account as property of the marriage subject to equitable division under this section.

IV. The court shall specify written reasons for the division of property which it orders.

458:19. Alimony

Updated: 
February 10, 2020

In RSA 458:19-a and RSA 458:19-aa:

I. “Alimony” means one or more payments made to, or for the benefit of, a spouse or former spouse.

II. “Effective date” means the date when an order takes effect under court rule.

III. “Exclusions from gross income” mean Social Security benefits received on behalf of a minor child; capital gains from property received in the parties’ divorce; income of a subsequent spouse, except as provided in RSA 458:19-aa, II; and income from overtime or a second job if the party has a full time job and such overtime or second income began:

(a) After the parties separated or a petition for divorce or legal separation was filed, whichever occurred first; or

(b) In an action for modification, if such income began after the existing alimony award.

IV. “Full retirement age” means the age when the payor is eligible to receive full retirement benefits under the federal Old Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance Social Security program.

V. “Gross income” means all income from any source, whether earned or unearned, including, but not limited to, wages, salary, commissions, tips, annuities, social security benefits, trust income, lottery or gambling winnings, interest, dividends, investment income, net rental income, self-employment income, business profits, pensions, bonuses, and payments from other government programs (except public assistance programs, including aid to families with dependent children, aid to the permanently and totally disabled, supplemental security income, food stamps, and general assistance received from a county or town), including, but not limited to, workers’ compensation, veterans’ benefits, unemployment benefits, and disability benefits, but not exclusions from gross income as defined in paragraph III.

VI. “Income assignment” means an alimony order assigning a portion of the payor’s income directly to the payee under the provisions of RSA 458-B.

VII. “Length of marriage” means the number of months from the date of marriage to the date of service of the petition for divorce, legal separation, or annulment.

VIII. “Modification” means any increase or decrease in the amount or duration in alimony, other than because of the cohabitation, remarriage, or death of the payee, or the retirement of the payor.

IX. “Payee” means a person who is receiving or is to receive alimony.

X. “Payor” means a person who is paying or is to pay alimony.

XI. “Reimbursement alimony” means one or more payments to a spouse or former spouse to compensate him or her for economic or non-economic contribution to the financial resources of the payor.

XII. “Step-down order” means an order that decreases payments in specified steps.

XIII. “Step-up order” means an order that increases payments in specified steps.

XIV. “Temporary alimony” means periodic support payments to or on behalf of a spouse while a case is pending and ending on the effective date of the divorce, legal separation, or annulment. Such alimony shall not be counted toward or subject to either the formula or the duration limits in RSA 458:19-a, III, unless the court finds that the temporary alimony was of unusually long duration.

XV. “Term alimony” means periodic payments made to a spouse or former spouse after the effective date of the final decree.

458:19-a Term and Reimbursement Alimony

Updated: 
February 10, 2020

I. The court may order term alimony upon agreement of the parties or in the absence of an agreement, at the request of either party by petition or motion in a case for divorce, legal separation, or annulment. Any request for alimony shall be made either before the final decree is effective or not later than 5 years from the effective date. The purpose of term alimony is to allow both parties to maintain a reasonable standard of living. If the issue of term alimony is contested, the court may order term alimony only if it finds that:

(a) The party in need lacks sufficient income, property, or both, including property apportioned in accordance with RSA 458:16-a, to provide for his or her own reasonable needs, taking into account the marital lifestyle and the extent to which the parties must both fairly adjust their standards of living based on the creation and maintenance of separate households; or

(b) The party in need is unable to be self-supporting at a standard of living that meets reasonable needs through appropriate employment, or is allocated parental rights and responsibilities under RSA 461-A for a child of the parties whose condition or circumstances make it appropriate that the parent not seek employment outside the home or limit the hours of such employment; and

(c) The party from whom alimony is sought is able to meet his or her own reasonable needs, taking into account the marital lifestyle and the extent to which the parties must both fairly adjust their standards of living based on the creation and maintenance of separate households, while meeting the reasonable needs of the party seeking alimony.

II. (a) The amount of a term alimony order shall be the lesser of the payee’s reasonable need, or a formula based on 30 percent of the difference between the parties’ gross incomes at the time the order is created, unless the court finds that justice requires an adjustment. In making this calculation, gross income as defined in RSA 458:19, V shall be:

(1) Reduced by subtracting amounts that are ordered and actually paid for:

(A) Child support or alimony, including child support for the parties’ joint children; and

(B) Costs for health insurance coverage or other specified expenses for the benefit of the other party; and

(2) As to the payee’s income, adding the amount of child support ordered for the parties’ joint children.

(b) The court may vary this formula when an equal or approximately equal parenting schedule has resulted in an adjustment to the child support guidelines under RSA 458-C:5. The court may make a step-down or step-up order that begins with the current reasonable need or the formula and decreases or increases over time. If child support is a factor in determining the amount of alimony, alimony may be recalculated when child support is modified or ended, without meeting the tests for modification in RSA 458:19-aa, I.

III. The maximum duration of term alimony shall be 50 percent of the length of the marriage, unless the parties agree otherwise or the court finds that justice requires an adjustment under paragraph IV. If justice requires, the court may use a different beginning or ending date in measuring the length of the marriage. Term alimony shall end on the remarriage of the payee, unless the order is based on an agreement of the parties that provides otherwise.

IV. In any term alimony order, the court may adjust the formula amounts, duration limitations, or both, if the parties agree or if the court finds that justice requires an adjustment. The party seeking an adjustment shall have the burden of proof. Special circumstances that may justify an adjustment include, but are not limited to, the following:

(a) Health, including disability, chronic or severe mental or physical illness, or other unusual health circumstances of either party.

(b) The degree and duration of any financial dependency of one party on the other.

(c) Vocational skills, occupation, benefits available from employment, and the present and future employability of both parties.

(d) Voluntary unemployment or underemployment of either party.

(e) The special needs of a minor or adult child of the parties.

(f) Property awarded under RSA 458:16-a.

(g) The conduct of either party during the marriage, including abuse as defined in RSA 173-B:1, I or fault as described in RSA 458:16-a, II(l).

(h) Differences in the parties’ benefits under the federal Old Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance Social Security program.

(i) Diminution of significant assets by a party, coupled with a lack of sufficient assets from which property can be equitably divided or recouped under RSA 458:16-a.

(j) Any other reason the court deems material and relevant.

V. The court may order reimbursement alimony upon agreement of the parties or in the absence of an agreement, at the request of either party by petition or motion in a case for divorce, legal separation, or annulment. The request for reimbursement alimony shall be made before the final decree is effective. The purpose of reimbursement alimony is to compensate the payee for economic or non-economic contribution to the financial resources of the payor, where the property subject to division under RSA 458:16-a is either inappropriate or inadequate to provide such compensation. The contribution to the payor’s financial resources may include support of education or job training, or an investment of time or money. The following shall apply to reimbursement alimony orders:

(a) The court shall make a finding that the order is equitable;

(b) The maximum time period shall be 5 years from the final decree effective date, unless the parties agree otherwise; and

(c) It shall not be modified, except by agreement.

VI. Each order granting, denying, renewing, modifying, or refusing to renew or modify term or reimbursement alimony shall state:

(a) If alimony is awarded:

(1) The type or types of alimony;

(2) The duration or number of payments, the method or methods of payment, and any limitations imposed;

(3) Whether full retirement age or actual retirement will impact payments;

(4) Whether security under RSA 458:19-aa, VI is required; and

(5) Whether the order is based on an agreement of the parties.

(b) If the proceeding was contested, the order shall include:

(1) Findings supporting the court’s decision to order or deny the requested alimony;

(2) Findings as to any special circumstances justifying an adjustment to either the formula amounts or durational limitations; and

(3) Findings supporting any award of reimbursement alimony.

Chapter 461-a. Parental Rights and Responsibilities

Updated: 
February 10, 2020

461-A:2 Statement of Purpose.

Updated: 
February 10, 2020

I. Because children do best when both parents have a stable and meaningful involvement in their lives, it is the policy of this state, unless it is clearly shown that in a particular case it is detrimental to a child, to:

(a) Support frequent and continuing contact between each child and both parents.

(b) Encourage parents to share in the rights and responsibilities of raising their children after the parents have separated or divorced.

(c) Encourage parents to develop their own parenting plan with the assistance of legal and mediation professionals, unless there is evidence of domestic violence, child abuse, or neglect.

(d) Grant parents and courts the widest discretion in developing a parenting plan.

(e) Consider both the best interests of the child in light of the factors listed in RSA 461-A:6 and the safety of the parties in developing a parenting plan.

II. This chapter shall be construed so as to promote the policy stated in this section.

461-A:6 Determination of Parental Rights and Responsibilities; Best Interest.

Updated: 
February 10, 2020

I. In determining parental rights and responsibilities, the court shall be guided by the best interests of the child, and shall consider the following factors:

(a) The relationship of the child with each parent and the ability of each parent to provide the child with nurture, love, affection, and guidance.

(b) The ability of each parent to assure that the child receives adequate food, clothing, shelter, medical care, and a safe environment.

(c) The child’s developmental needs and the ability of each parent to meet them, both in the present and in the future.

(d) The quality of the child’s adjustment to the child’s school and community and the potential effect of any change.

(e) The ability and disposition of each parent to foster a positive relationship and frequent and continuing physical, written, and telephonic contact with the other parent, including whether contact is likely to result in harm to the child or to a parent.

(f) The support of each parent for the child’s contact with the other parent as shown by allowing and promoting such contact, including whether contact is likely to result in harm to the child or to a parent.

(g) The support of each parent for the child’s relationship with the other parent, including whether contact is likely to result in harm to the child or to a parent.

(h) The relationship of the child with any other person who may significantly affect the child.

(i) The ability of the parents to communicate, cooperate with each other, and make joint decisions concerning the children, including whether contact is likely to result in harm to the child or to a parent.

(j) Any evidence of abuse, as defined in RSA 173-B:1, I or RSA 169-C:3, II, and the impact of the abuse on the child and on the relationship between the child and the abusing parent.

(k) If a parent is incarcerated, the reason for and the length of the incarceration, and any unique issues that arise as a result of incarceration.

(l) The policy of the state regarding the determination of parental rights and responsibilities described in RSA 461-A:2.

(m) Any other additional factors the court deems relevant.

I-a. If the court concludes that frequent and continuing contact between each child and both parents is not in the best interest of the child, the court shall make findings supporting its order.

II. If the court finds by clear and convincing evidence that a minor child is of sufficient maturity to make a sound judgment, the court may give substantial weight to the preference of the mature minor child as to the determination of parental rights and responsibilities. Under these circumstances, the court shall also give due consideration to other factors which may have affected the minor child’s preference, including whether the minor child’s preference was based on undesirable or improper influences.

III. In determining parental rights and responsibilities under this section, including residential responsibility, the court shall not apply a preference for one parent over the other because of the sex of the child, the sex of a parent, or the financial resources of a parent.

IV. If the court finds that a parent has been convicted of sexual assault or there has been a finding by a court of competent jurisdiction of sexual abuse against such parent’s minor child or minor stepchild, the court may prohibit contact between such parent and the victim of the abuse and any sibling or step-sibling of the victim. The court shall make orders that best protect the victim of the abuse and the siblings and step-siblings of such victim.

(a) If a parent makes a good faith allegation based on a reasonable belief supported by facts that the parent’s child is a victim of physical abuse or neglect or sexual abuse perpetrated by the other parent and if the parent making the allegation acts lawfully and in good faith in accordance with such belief to protect the child or seek treatment for the child, the parent making the allegation shall not be deprived of parenting time, or contact with the child based on reasonable actions taken in accordance with that belief.

(b) In this paragraph, “sexual abuse” shall mean sexual abuse as defined in RSA 169-C:3, XXVII-b, and “sexual assault” shall mean sexual assault as provided in RSA 632-A:2, RSA 632-A:3, and RSA 632-A:4.

V. If the court determines that it is in the best interest of the children, it shall in its decree grant reasonable visitation privileges to a party who is a stepparent of the children or to the grandparents of the children pursuant to RSA 461-A:13. Nothing in this paragraph shall be construed to prohibit or require an award of parental rights and responsibilities to a stepparent or grandparent if the court determines that such an award is in the best interest of the child.

VI. The court may appoint a guardian ad litem to represent the interests of the child according to RSA 461-A:16.

VII. At the request of an aggrieved party, the court shall set forth the reasons for its decision in a written order.

Title LXII. Criminal Code

Updated: 
February 10, 2020

Chapter 625. Preliminary

Updated: 
February 10, 2020

625:9 Classification of Crimes.

Updated: 
February 10, 2020

I. The provisions of this section govern the classification of every offense, whether defined within this code or by any other statute.

II. Every offense is either a felony, misdemeanor or violation.

(a) Felonies and misdemeanors are crimes.

(b) A violation does not constitute a crime and conviction of a violation shall not give rise to any disability or legal disadvantage based on conviction of a criminal offense.

III. A felony is murder or a crime so designated by statute within or outside this code or a crime defined by statute outside of this code where the maximum penalty provided is imprisonment in excess of one year; provided, however, that a crime defined by statute outside of this code is a felony when committed by a corporation or an unincorporated association if the maximum fine therein provided is more than $200.

(a) Felonies other than murder are either class A felonies or class B felonies when committed by an individual. Felonies committed by a corporation or an unincorporated association are unclassified.

(1) Class A felonies are crimes so designated by statute within or outside this code and any crime defined by statute outside of this code for which the maximum penalty, exclusive of fine, is imprisonment in excess of 7 years.

(2) Class B felonies are crimes so designated by statute within or outside this code and any crime defined outside of this code for which the maximum penalty, exclusive of fine, is imprisonment in excess of one year but not in excess of 7 years.

IV. Misdemeanors are either class A misdemeanors or class B misdemeanors when committed by an individual. Misdemeanors committed by a corporation or an unincorporated association are unclassified.

(a) A class A misdemeanor is any crime so designated by statute within or outside this code and any crime defined outside of this code for which the maximum penalty, exclusive of fine, is imprisonment not in excess of one year.

(b) A class B misdemeanor is any crime so designated by statute within or outside this code and any crime defined outside of this code for which the maximum penalty does not include any term of imprisonment or any fine in excess of the maximum provided for a class B misdemeanor in RSA 651:2, IV(a).

(c) Any crime designated within or outside this code as a misdemeanor without specification of the classification shall be presumed to be a class B misdemeanor unless:

(1) An element of the offense involves an “act of violence” or “threat of violence” as defined in paragraph VII;

(2) The state files a notice of intent to seek class A misdemeanor penalties on or before the date of arraignment. Such notice shall be on a form approved in accordance with RSA 490:26-d; or

(3) The misdemeanor charge is filed directly in superior court.

(d) Nothing in this paragraph shall prohibit the state from reducing any offense originally charged as a class A misdemeanor to a class B misdemeanor at any time with the agreement of the person charged.

V. A violation is an offense so designated by statute within or outside this code and, except as provided in this paragraph, any offense defined outside of this code for which there is no other penalty provided other than a fine or fine and forfeiture or other civil penalty. In the case of a corporation or an unincorporated association, offenses defined outside of this code are violations if the amount of any such fine provided does not exceed $50.

V-a. The violation of any requirement created by statute or by municipal regulation enacted pursuant to an enabling statute, where the statute neither specifies the penalty or offense classification, shall be deemed a violation, and the penalties to be imposed by the court shall be those provided for a violation under RSA 651:2.

VI. Prior to or at the time of arraignment, the state may, in its discretion, charge any offense designated a misdemeanor, as defined by paragraph IV, as a violation. At such time, the prosecutor shall make an affirmative statement to the court as to whether he intends to proceed under this paragraph. In such cases the penalties to be imposed by the court shall be those provided for a violation under RSA 651:2. This paragraph shall not apply to any offense for which a statute prescribes an enhanced penalty for a subsequent conviction of the same offense.

VII. The state may change any offense designated or defined as a class A misdemeanor as defined by paragraph IV to a class B misdemeanor, so long as no element of the offense involves an act of violence or threat of violence. The term “act of violence” means attempting to cause or purposely or recklessly causing bodily injury or serious bodily injury with or without a deadly weapon; and the term “threat of violence” means placing or attempting to place another in fear of imminent bodily injury either by physical menace or by threats to commit a crime against the person of the other. The state may change an offense pursuant to this paragraph if such change is in the interest of public safety and welfare and is not inconsistent with the societal goals of deterrence and prevention of recidivism, as follows:

(a) In its own discretion prior to or at the time of arraignment in the district court;

(b) In its own discretion following an entry of appeal in the superior court or within 20 days thereafter;

(c) With the agreement of the person charged at any other time; or

(d) In its own discretion, following entry of a complaint at a regional jury trial court or within 21 days thereafter.VIII. If a person convicted of a class A misdemeanor has been sentenced and such sentence does not include any period of actual incarceration or a suspended or deferred jail sentence or any fine in excess of the maximum provided for a class B misdemeanor in RSA 651:2, IV(a), the court shall record such conviction and sentence as a class B misdemeanor.

Chapter 631. Assault and Related Offenses

Updated: 
February 10, 2020

631:2. Second Degree Assault

Updated: 
February 10, 2020

I. A person is guilty of a class B felony if he or she:
(a) Knowingly or recklessly causes serious bodily injury to another; or
(b) Recklessly causes bodily injury to another by means of a deadly weapon, except that if the deadly weapon is a firearm, he or she shall be sentenced in accordance with RSA 651:2, II-g; or
(c) Recklessly causes bodily injury to another under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life; or
(d) Purposely or knowingly causes bodily injury to a child under 13 years of age; or
(e) Recklessly or negligently causes injury to another resulting in miscarriage or stillbirth; or
(f) Purposely or knowingly engages in the strangulation of another.
II. In this section:
(a) “Miscarriage” means the interruption of the normal development of the fetus other than by a live birth and not an induced abortion, resulting in the complete expulsion or extraction of a fetus.
(b) “Stillbirth” means the death of a fetus prior to complete expulsion or extraction and not an induced abortion.
(c) “Strangulation” means the application of pressure to another person’s throat or neck, or the blocking of the person’s nose or mouth, that causes the person to experience impeded breathing or blood circulation or a change in voice.
III. (a) Upon proof that the victim and defendant were intimate partners or family or household members, as those terms are defined in RSA 631:2-b, III, a conviction under this section shall be recorded as “second degree assault-domestic violence.”
(b) In addition to any other penalty authorized by law, the court shall levy a fine of $50 for each conviction recorded as “second degree assault-domestic violence” under this paragraph. The court shall not reduce or suspend any sentence or the payment of any fine imposed under this paragraph and no fine imposed under this paragraph shall be subject to an additional penalty assessment. If the court determines that the defendant is unable to pay the fine on the date imposed, the court may defer payment or order periodic payments thereof. The clerk shall forward all fines collected under this paragraph to the department of health and human services for the purposes of RSA 173-B:15. The provisions of RSA 618:8 and RSA 618:9 shall not apply to a fine imposed under this paragraph.

631:2-a Simple Assault

Updated: 
February 10, 2020

A person is guilty of simple assault if he:
(a) Purposely or knowingly causes bodily injury or unprivileged physical contact to another; or
(b) Recklessly causes bodily injury to another; or
(c) Negligently causes bodily injury to another by means of a deadly weapon.
II. Simple assault is a misdemeanor unless committed in a fight entered into by mutual consent, in which case it is a violation.

631:2-b Domestic Violence

Updated: 
February 10, 2020

I. A person is guilty of domestic violence if the person commits any of the following against a family or household member or intimate partner:
(a) Purposely or knowingly causes bodily injury or unprivileged physical contact against another by use of physical force;
(b) Recklessly causes bodily injury to another by use of physical force;
(c) Negligently causes bodily injury to another by means of a deadly weapon;
(d) Uses or attempts to use physical force, or by physical conduct threatens to use a deadly weapon for the purpose of placing another in fear of imminent bodily injury;
(e) Threatens to use a deadly weapon against another person for the purpose to terrorize that person;
(f) Coerces or forces another to submit to sexual contact by using physical force or physical violence;
(g) Threatens to use physical force or physical violence to cause another to submit to sexual contact and the victim believes the actor has the present ability to execute the threat;
(h) Threatens to use a deadly weapon to cause another to submit to sexual contact and the victim believes the actor has the present ability to carry out the threat;
(i) Confines another unlawfully, as defined in RSA 633:2, by means of physical force or the threatened use of a deadly weapon, so as to interfere substantially with his or her physical movement;
(j) Knowingly violates a term of a protective order issued pursuant to RSA 173-B:4, I by means of the use or attempted use of physical force or the threatened use of a deadly weapon;
(k) Uses physical force or the threatened use of a deadly weapon against another to block that person’s access to any cell phone, telephone, or electronic communication device with the purpose of preventing, obstructing, or interfering with:
(1) The report of any criminal offense, bodily injury, or property damage to a law enforcement agency; or
(2) A request for an ambulance or emergency medical assistance to any law enforcement agency or emergency medical provider.
II. Domestic violence is a class A misdemeanor unless the person uses or threatens to use a deadly weapon as defined in RSA 625:11, V, in the commission of an offense, in which case it is a class B felony.
III. For purposes of this section:
(a) “Family or household member” means:
(1) The actor’s spouse or former spouse;
(2) A person with whom the actor is cohabiting as a spouse, parent, or guardian;
(3) A person with whom the actor cohabited as a spouse, parent, or guardian but no longer shares the same residence;
(4) An adult with whom the actor is related by blood or marriage; or
(5) A person with whom the actor shares a child in common.
(b) “Intimate partner” means a person with whom the actor is currently or was formerly involved in a romantic relationship, regardless of whether or not the relationship was sexually consummated.
IV. Upon conviction and sentencing, the court shall document on the sentencing form the specific nature of the relationship between the defendant and the victim, by reference to subparagraphs III(a)(1)-(5) and III(b).
V. In addition to any other penalty authorized by law, the court shall levy a fine of $50 for each conviction under this section. The court shall not reduce or suspend any sentence or the payment of any fine imposed under this section. If the court determines that the defendant is unable to pay the fine on the date imposed, the court may defer payment or order periodic payments thereof. Fines imposed under this section shall not be subject to an additional penalty assessment and shall not be subject to the provisions of RSA 618:8 or 618:9. The clerk shall forward all fines collected under this paragraph to the department of health and human services for the purposes of RSA 173-B:15.

631:3. Reckless Conduct

Updated: 
February 10, 2020

I. A person is guilty of reckless conduct if he recklessly engages in conduct which places or may place another in danger of serious bodily injury.
II. Reckless conduct is a class B felony if the person uses a deadly weapon as defined in RSA 625:11, V. All other reckless conduct is a misdemeanor.
III. A person convicted of a class B felony offense under this section shall not be subject to the provisions of RSA 651:2, II-g.
IV. (a) Upon proof that the victim and defendant were intimate partners or family or household members, as those terms are defined in RSA 631:2-b, III, a conviction under this section shall be recorded as “reckless conduct-domestic violence.”
(b) In addition to any other penalty authorized by law, the court shall levy a fine of $50 for each conviction recorded as “reckless conduct-domestic violence” under this paragraph. The court shall not reduce or suspend any sentence or the payment of any fine imposed under this paragraph and no fine imposed under this paragraph shall be subject to an additional penalty assessment. If the court determines that the defendant is unable to pay the fine on the date imposed, the court may defer payment or order periodic payments thereof. The clerk shall forward all fines collected under this paragraph to the department of health and human services for the purposes of RSA 173-B:15. The provisions of RSA 618:8 and RSA 618:9shall not apply to a fine imposed under this paragraph.

631:4. Criminal Threatening

Updated: 
February 10, 2020

I. A person is guilty of criminal threatening when:

(a) By physical conduct, the person purposely places or attempts to place another in fear of imminent bodily injury or physical contact; or

(b) The person places any object or graffiti on the property of another with a purpose to coerce or terrorize any person; or

(c) The person threatens to commit any crime against the property of another with a purpose to coerce or terrorize any person; or

(d) The person threatens to commit any crime against the person of another with a purpose to terrorize any person; or

(e) The person threatens to commit any crime of violence, or threatens the delivery or use of a biological or chemical substance, with a purpose to cause evacuation of a building, place of assembly, facility of public transportation or otherwise to cause serious public inconvenience, or in reckless disregard of causing such fear, terror or inconvenience; or

(f) The person delivers, threatens to deliver, or causes the delivery of any substance the actor knows could be perceived as a biological or chemical substance, to another person with the purpose of causing fear or terror, or in reckless disregard of causing such fear or terror.

II. (a) Criminal threatening is a class B felony if the person:

(1) Violates the provisions of subparagraph I(e); or

(2) Uses a deadly weapon as defined in RSA 625:11, V in the violation of the provisions of subparagraph I(a), I(b), I(c), or I(d).

(b) All other criminal threatening is a misdemeanor.

III. (a) As used in this section, “property” has the same meaning as in RSA 637:2, I; “property of another” has the same meaning as in RSA 637:2, IV.

(b) As used in this section, “terrorize” means to cause alarm, fright, or dread; the state of mind induced by the apprehension of hurt from some hostile or threatening event or manifestation.

IV. A person who responds to a threat which would be considered by a reasonable person as likely to cause serious bodily injury or death to the person or to another by displaying a firearm or other means of self-defense with the intent to warn away the person making the threat shall not have committed a criminal act under this section.

Chapter 633. Interference with Freedom

Updated: 
February 10, 2020

633:2. Criminal Restraint

Updated: 
February 10, 2020

I. A person is guilty of a class B felony if he knowingly confines another unlawfully in circumstances exposing him to risk of serious bodily injury.

II. The meaning of “confines another unlawfully”, as used in this section and RSA 633:3, includes but is not limited to confinement accomplished by force, threat or deception or, in the case of a person who is under the age of 16 or incompetent, if it is accomplished without the consent of his parent or guardian.

633:3. False Imprisonment

Updated: 
February 10, 2020

A person is guilty of a misdemeanor if he knowingly confines another unlawfully, as defined in RSA 633:2, so as to interfere substantially with his physical movement.

633:3-a. Stalking

Updated: 
February 10, 2020

I. A person commits the offense of stalking if such person:

(a) Purposely, knowingly, or recklessly engages in a course of conduct targeted at a specific person which would cause a reasonable person to fear for his or her personal safety or the safety of a member of that person’s immediate family, and the person is actually placed in such fear;

(b) Purposely or knowingly engages in a course of conduct targeted at a specific individual, which the actor knows will place that individual in fear for his or her personal safety or the safety of a member of that individual’s immediate family; or

(c) After being served with, or otherwise provided notice of, a protective order pursuant to RSA 173-B, RSA 458:16, or paragraph III-a of this section, or an order pursuant to RSA 597:2 that prohibits contact with a specific individual, purposely, knowingly, or recklessly engages in a single act of conduct that both violates the provisions of the order and is listed in paragraph II(a).

II. As used in this section:

(a) “Course of conduct” means 2 or more acts over a period of time, however short, which evidences a continuity of purpose. A course of conduct shall not include constitutionally protected activity, nor shall it include conduct that was necessary to accomplish a legitimate purpose independent of making contact with the targeted person. A course of conduct may include, but not be limited to, any of the following acts or a combination thereof:

(1) Threatening the safety of the targeted person or an immediate family member.

(2) Following, approaching, or confronting that person, or a member of that person’s immediate family.

(3) Appearing in close proximity to, or entering the person’s residence, place of employment, school, or other place where the person can be found, or the residence, place of employment or school of a member of that person’s immediate family.

(4) Causing damage to the person’s residence or property or that of a member of the person’s immediate family.

(5) Placing an object on the person’s property, either directly or through a third person, or that of an immediate family member.

(6) Causing injury to that person’s pet, or to a pet belonging to a member of that person’s immediate family.

(7) Any act of communication, as defined in RSA 644:4, II.

(b) “Immediate family” means father, mother, stepparent, child, stepchild, sibling, spouse, or grandparent of the targeted person, any person residing in the household of the targeted person, or any person involved in an intimate relationship with the targeted person.

III. [Repealed.]

III-a. A person who has been the victim of stalking as defined in this section may seek relief by filing a civil petition in the district court in the district where the plaintiff or defendant resides. Upon a showing of stalking by a preponderance of the evidence, the court shall grant such relief as is necessary to bring about a cessation of stalking. The types of relief that may be granted, the procedures and burdens of proof to be applied in such proceedings, the methods of notice, service, and enforcement of such orders, and the penalties for violation thereof shall be the same as those set forth in RSA 173-B.

III-b. The minority of a plaintiff or defendant shall not preclude the court from issuing protective orders under this section.

III-c. Any order under this section shall be for a fixed period of time not to exceed one year, but may be extended by order of the court upon a motion by the plaintiff, showing good cause, with notice to the defendant, for one year after the expiration of the first order and thereafter each extension may be for up to 5 years, upon the request of the plaintiff and at the discretion of the court. The court shall review the order, and each renewal thereof and shall grant such relief as may be necessary to provide for the safety and well-being of the plaintiff. A defendant shall have the right to a hearing on the extension of any order under this paragraph to be held within 30 days of the extension. The court shall state in writing, at the respondent’s request, its reason or reasons for granting the extension. The court shall retain jurisdiction to enforce and collect the financial support obligation which accrued prior to the expiration of the protective order.

III-d. (a) A protective order issued pursuant to this section, RSA 173-B:4, or RSA 173-B:5 shall not be construed to prohibit an attorney, or any person acting on the attorney’s behalf, who is representing the defendant in an action brought under this chapter, or in any criminal proceeding concerning the abuse alleged under this chapter, from contacting the plaintiff for a legitimate purpose within the scope of the civil or criminal proceeding; provided, that the attorney or person acting on behalf of the attorney: identifies himself or herself as a representative of the defendant; acknowledges the existence of the protective order and informs the plaintiff that he or she has no obligation to speak; terminates contact with the plaintiff if the plaintiff expresses an unwillingness to talk; and ensures that any personal contact with the plaintiff occurs outside of the defendant’s presence, unless the court has modified the protective order to permit such contact.

(b) A no-contact provision in a protective order issued pursuant to this section shall not be construed to:

(1) Prevent contact between counsel for represented parties; or

(2) Prevent a party from appearing at a scheduled court or administrative hearing; or

(3) Prevent a defendant or defendant’s counsel from sending the plaintiff copies of any legal pleadings filed in court relating to the domestic violence petition or related civil or criminal matters.

(c) A violation of this paragraph may result in a finding of contempt of court.

IV. In any complaint, information, or indictment brought for the enforcement of any provision of this statute, it shall not be necessary to negate any exception, excuse, proviso, or exemption contained herein and the burden of proof of any exception, excuse, proviso, or exemption shall be upon the defendant.

V. Any law enforcement officer may arrest, without a warrant, any person that the officer has probable cause to believe has violated the provisions of this section when the offense occurred within 12 hours, regardless of whether the crime occurred in the presence of the officer. A law enforcement officer shall arrest a person when he has probable cause to believe a violation of the provisions of this section has occurred within the last 12 hours when the offense involves a violation of a protective order issued pursuant to RSA 173-B, RSA 458:16, or paragraph III-a of this section.

VI. (a) Any person convicted of a violation of this section and who has one or more prior stalking convictions in this state or another state when the second or subsequent offense occurs within 7 years following the date of the first or prior offense shall be guilty of a class B felony.

(b) In all other cases, any person who is convicted of a violation of this section shall be guilty of a class A misdemeanor.

VII. If any provision or application of this section or the application thereof to a person or circumstance is held invalid, the invalidity does not affect other provisions or applications of this section which can be given effect without the invalid provisions or applications, and to this end the provisions of this section are severable.

VIII. (a) Upon proof that the victim and defendant were intimate partners or family or household members, as those terms are defined in RSA 631:2-b, III, a conviction under this section shall be recorded as “stalking-domestic violence.”
(b) In addition to any other penalty authorized by law, the court shall levy a fine of $50 for each conviction recorded as “stalking-domestic violence” under this paragraph. The court shall not reduce or suspend any sentence or the payment of any fine imposed under this paragraph and no fine imposed under this paragraph shall be subject to an additional penalty assessment. If the court determines that the defendant is unable to pay the fine on the date imposed, the court may defer payment or order periodic payments thereof. The clerk shall forward all fines collected under this paragraph to the department of health and human services for the purposes of RSA 173-B:15. The provisions of RSA 618:8 and RSA 618:9 shall not apply to a fine imposed under this paragraph.

633:4 Interference With Custody

Updated: 
February 10, 2020

I. A person is guilty of a class B felony if such person knowingly takes from this state or entices away from this state any child under the age of 18, or causes any such child to be taken from this state or enticed away from this state, with the intent to detain or conceal such child from:

(a) A parent, guardian or other person having lawful parental rights and responsibilities as described in RSA 461-A; or

(b) An agency that has protective supervision or legal custody of the child under RSA 169-C or guardianship of the child under RSA 463.

II. A person is guilty of a misdemeanor if such person knowingly takes, entices away, detains or conceals any child under the age of 18, or causes any such child to be taken, enticed away, detained or concealed, with the intent to detain or conceal such child from:

(a) A parent, guardian or other person having lawful parental rights and responsibilities as described in RSA 461-A; or

(b) An agency that has protective supervision or legal custody of the child under RSA 169-C or guardianship of the child under RSA 463.

III. It shall be an affirmative defense to a charge under paragraph I or II that the person so charged was acting in good faith to protect the child from real and imminent physical danger. Evidence of good faith shall include but shall not be limited to the filing of a nonfrivolous petition documenting such danger and seeking to modify the custody decree in a court of competent jurisdiction within this state. Such petition must be filed within 72 hours of termination of visitation rights.

IV. The affirmative defense set forth in paragraph III shall not be available if the person charged with the offense has left this state with the child.

Chapter 635. Unauthorized Entries

Updated: 
February 10, 2020

635:2. Criminal Trespass

Updated: 
February 10, 2020

I. A person is guilty of criminal trespass if, knowing that he is not licensed or privileged to do so, he enters or remains in any place.

II. Criminal trespass is a misdemeanor for the first offense and a class B felony for any subsequent offense if the person knowingly or recklessly causes damage in excess of $1,500 to the value of the property of another.

III. Criminal trespass is a misdemeanor if:

(a) The trespass takes place in an occupied structure as defined in RSA 635:1, III; or

(b) The person knowingly enters or remains:

(1) In any secured premises;

(2) In any place in defiance of an order to leave or not to enter which was personally communicated to him by the owner or other authorized person; or

(3) In any place in defiance of any court order restraining him from entering such place so long as he has been properly notified of such order.

IV. All other criminal trespass is a violation.

V. In this section, “secured premises” means any place which is posted in a manner prescribed by law or in a manner reasonably likely to come to the attention of intruders, or which is fenced or otherwise enclosed in a manner designed to exclude intruders.

VI. In this section, “property,” “property of another,” and “value” shall be as defined in RSA 637:2, I, IV, and V, respectively.

Chapter 638. Fraud

Updated: 
February 10, 2020

638:25 Definitions

Updated: 
February 10, 2020

In this subdivision:

I. “Personal identifying information” means any name, number, or information that may be used, alone or in conjunction with any other information, to assume the identity of an individual, including any name, address, telephone number, driver’s license number, social security number, employer or place of employment, employee identification number, mother’s maiden name, demand deposit account number, savings account number, credit card number, debit card number, personal identification number, account number, or computer password identification.

II. “Pose” means to falsely represent oneself, directly or indirectly, as another person or persons.

III. “Victim” means any person whose personal identifying information has been unlawfully obtained or recorded or any person or entity that provided money, credit, goods, services, or anything of value and has suffered financial loss as a direct result of the commission or attempted commission of a violation of this subdivision.

638.26 Identity Fraud

Updated: 
February 10, 2020

I. A person is guilty of identity fraud when the person:

(a) Poses as another person with the purpose to defraud in order to obtain money, credit, goods, services, or anything else of value;

(b) Obtains or records personal identifying information about another person without the express authorization of such person, with the intent to pose as such person;

(c) Obtains or records personal identifying information about a person without the express authorization of such person in order to assist another to pose as such person; or

(d) Poses as another person, without the express authorization of such person, with the purpose of obtaining confidential information about such person that is not available to the general public.

II. Identity fraud is a class A felony.

III. A person found guilty of violating any provisions of this section shall, in addition to the penalty under paragraph II, be ordered to make restitution for economic loss sustained by a victim as a result of such violation.

Chapter 644. Breaches of the Peace and Related Offenses

Updated: 
February 10, 2020

644:4. Harassment

Updated: 
February 10, 2020

I. A person is guilty of a misdemeanor, and subject to prosecution in the jurisdiction where the communication originated or was received, if such person:

(a) Makes a telephone call, whether or not a conversation ensues, with no legitimate communicative purpose or without disclosing his or her identity and with a purpose to annoy, abuse, threaten, or alarm another; or

(b) Makes repeated communications at extremely inconvenient hours or in offensively coarse language with a purpose to annoy or alarm another; or

(c) Insults, taunts, or challenges another in a manner likely to provoke a violent or disorderly response; or

(d) Knowingly communicates any matter of a character tending to incite murder, assault, or arson; or

(e) With the purpose to annoy or alarm another, communicates any matter containing any threat to kidnap any person or to commit a violation of RSA 633:4; or a threat to the life or safety of another.

(f) [Repealed.]

II. As used in paragraph I, “communicates” means to impart a message by any method of transmission, including but not limited to telephoning or personally delivering or sending or having delivered any information or material by written or printed note or letter, package, mail, courier service or electronic transmission, including electronic transmissions generated or communicated via a computer. For purposes of this section, “computer” means a programmable, electronic device capable of accepting and processing data.

III. [Repealed.]

IV. A person shall be guilty of a class B felony if the person violates RSA 644:4, I(a) under circumstances involving making telephone calls to a telephone number that he or she knows is being used, at the time of the calls, to facilitate the transportation of voters to polling places or otherwise to support voting or registering to vote.

644:8. Cruelty to Animals

Updated: 
February 10, 2020

I. In this section, “cruelty” shall include, but not be limited to, acts or omissions injurious or detrimental to the health, safety or welfare of any animal, including the abandoning of any animal without proper provision for its care, sustenance, protection or shelter.

II. In this section, “animal” means a domestic animal, a household pet or a wild animal in captivity.

II-a. In this section, “shelter” or “necessary shelter” for dogs shall mean any natural or artificial area which provides protection from the direct sunlight and adequate air circulation when that sunlight is likely to cause heat exhaustion of a dog tied or caged outside. Shelter from the weather shall allow the dog to remain clean and dry. Shelter shall be structurally sound and have an area within to afford the dog the ability to stand up, turn around and lie down, and be of proportionate size as to allow the natural body heat of the dog to be retained.

III. A person is guilty of a misdemeanor for a first offense, and of a class B felony for a second or subsequent offense, who:

(a) Without lawful authority negligently deprives or causes to be deprived any animal in his possession or custody necessary care, sustenance or shelter;

(b) Negligently beats, cruelly whips, tortures, mutilates or in any other manner mistreats or causes to be mistreated any animal;

(c) Negligently overdrives, overworks, drives when overloaded, or otherwise abuses or misuses any animal intended for or used for labor;

(d) Negligently transports any animal in his possession or custody in a manner injurious to the health, safety or physical well-being of such animal;

(e) Negligently abandons any animal previously in his or her possession or custody by causing such animal to be left without supervision or adequate provision for its care, sustenance, or shelter;

(f) Has in his or her possession an equine colt that is less than 90 days old that is not being nursed by its dam, unless the colt was born in this state, and its dam has died within this state before the colt became 90 days old;

(g) Sells an equine colt that is less than 90 days old that is not being nursed by its dam; or

(h) Otherwise negligently permits or causes any animal in his or her possession or custody to be subjected to cruelty, inhumane treatment, or unnecessary suffering of any kind.

III-a. A person is guilty of a class B felony who purposely beats, cruelly whips, tortures, or mutilates any animal or causes any animal to be beaten, cruelly whipped, tortured, or mutilated.

IV. (a)(1) Any person charged with animal cruelty under paragraphs III or III-a may have his or her animals confiscated by the arresting officer.

(2) A person charged under this section may petition the court to seek an examination of the animals by a veterinarian licensed under RSA 332-B of his or her choice at the expense of the person charged.

(3) Courts shall give cases in which animals have been confiscated by an arresting officer priority on the court calendar. In cases in which animals have been confiscated by an arresting officer or his or her agency, a status hearing shall be held by the court within 14 days of the confiscation of the animals.

(4) Any person with proof of sole ownership or co-ownership of an animal confiscated by an arresting officer in an animal cruelty case and who is not a defendant or party of interest in the criminal case may petition the court for temporary custody of the animal. The court shall give such person priority for temporary custody of the animal if the court determines it is in the best interest of the animal’s health, safety, and wellbeing.

(5) No custodian of an animal confiscated under this section shall spay or neuter or otherwise permanently alter the confiscated animal in his or her custody pending final disposition of the court case unless a treating veterinarian deems such procedure necessary to save the life of the animal.

(6) Upon a person’s conviction of cruelty to animals, the court shall dispose of the confiscated animal in any manner it decides except in a case in which the confiscated animal is owned or co-owned by persons other than the defendant. If the defendant does not have an ownership interest in the confiscated animal, the court shall give priority to restoring full ownership rights to any person with proof of ownership if the court determines that such is in the best interest of the animal’s health, safety, and wellbeing. If the confiscated animal is co-owned by the defendant, the court shall give priority to transferring the defendant’s interest in the property to the remaining owner or co-owners equitably if the court determines that such is in the best interest of the animal’s health, safety, and wellbeing.

(7) The costs to provide the confiscated animals with humane care and adequate and necessary veterinary services, if any, incurred in boarding and treating the animal, pending disposition of the case, and in disposing of the animal upon a conviction of said person for cruelty to animals, shall be borne by the person so convicted in accordance with rules adopted by the department of agriculture, markets, and food.

(b) In addition, the court may prohibit any person convicted of a misdemeanor offense of animal cruelty under RSA 644:8, RSA 644:8-aa, RSA 644:8-b, RSA 644:8-c, or RSA 644:8-d, or violation of RSA 644:8-f from having future ownership or custody of, or residing with other animals for any period of time the court deems reasonable or impose any other reasonable restrictions on the person’s future ownership or custody of animals as necessary for the protection of the animals. The court shall prohibit or limit any person convicted of a felony offense of animal cruelty under RSA 644:8 or a misdemeanor or felony offense of bestiality under RSA 644:8-g from having future ownership or custody of other animals for a minimum of 5 years, and may impose any other reasonable restrictions on the person’s future ownership or custody of, or residing or having contact with animals as necessary for the protection of the animals. For the purposes of this paragraph, a reasonable restriction on future contact may include limiting a person from engaging in any employment in the care of animals or other similar contact as the court sees fit. Any animal involved in a violation of a court order prohibiting or limiting ownership or custody of animals shall be subject to immediate forfeiture. Any person violating such order may, in addition to being held in criminal contempt of court or subject to a probation violation, be fined in the amount of $1,000 in any court of competent jurisdiction for each animal held in unlawful ownership or custody.

(c) If a person convicted of any offense of cruelty to animals appeals the conviction in an initial de novo or subsequent appeal and any confiscated animal remains in the custody of the arresting officer, the arresting officer’s agency, or the arresting officer’s agency’s designee pending disposition of the appeal, in order for the defendant or appellant to maintain a future interest in the animal, the trial or appellate court, after consideration of the income of the defendant or appellant, may require the defendant or appellant to post a bond or other security in an amount not exceeding $2,000 for each animal in custody for costs expected to be incurred for the board and care of the animal during the trial, trial de novo, or appeal. Such bond or security shall be posted to the court within 30 days. If such bond or security is not paid within 30 days after the court orders the bond or security to be posted, the animals shall be forfeited to the arresting officer, the arresting officer’s agency, or the arresting officer’s agency’s designee. The court may, for good cause, extend the deadline by no more than 15 days. If the conviction is affirmed on appeal, the costs incurred for the board and care of the animal, from the date the animal or animals were originally confiscated, shall be paid to the custodial agency from the posted security and the balance, if any, shall be returned to the person who posted it. A court shall order the return of any bond or security upon a court approved agreement of the parties, a finding of not guilty, or the reversal of a conviction, unless it is a reversal with remand for further proceeding.

IV-a. (a) Except as provided in subparagraphs (b) and (c) any appropriate law enforcement officer, animal control officer, or officer of a duly licensed humane society may take into temporary protective custody any animal when there is probable cause to believe that it has been or is being abused or neglected in violation of paragraphs III or III-a when there is a clear and imminent danger to the animal’s health or life and there is not sufficient time to obtain a court order. Such officer shall leave a written notice indicating the type and number of animals taken into protective custody, the name of the officer, the time and date taken, the reason it was taken, the procedure to have the animal returned and any other relevant information. Such notice shall be left at the location where the animal was taken into custody. The officer shall provide for proper care and housing of any animal taken into protective custody under this paragraph. If, after 7 days, the animal has not been returned or claimed, the officer shall petition the municipal or district court seeking either permanent custody or a one-week extension of custody or shall file charges under this section. If a week’s extension is granted by the court and after a period of 14 days the animal remains unclaimed, the title and custody of the animal shall rest with the officer on behalf of the officer’s department or society. The department or society may dispose of the animal in any lawful and humane manner as if it were the rightful owner. If after 14 days the officer or the officer’s department determines that charges should be filed under this section, the officer shall petition the court.

(b) For purposes of subparagraph (a) the investigating officer for livestock, as defined in RSA 427:38, III, shall be accompanied by a veterinarian licensed under RSA 332-B or the state veterinarian who shall set the probable cause criteria for taking the animal or animals.

(c)(1) For purposes of subparagraph (a), for facilities licensed to conduct live running or harness horseracing or live dog racing pursuant to RSA 284, the appropriate law enforcement officer, animal control officer, or officer of a duly licensed humane society shall:

(A) Notify the director of the pari-mutuel commission of the circumstances arising under subparagraph (a);

(B) Enter the grounds of the facility with the director of the pari-mutuel commission or such person designated by the director of the pari-mutuel commission;

(C) Take such horses or dogs into temporary protective custody as determined by the director of the pari-mutuel commission or such person designated by the director of the pari-mutuel commission; and

(D) Comply with subparagraph (a) after taking a horse or dog from a facility licensed pursuant to RSA 284 into temporary protective custody.

(2) This paragraph shall not preempt existing or enforcement authority of the pari-mutuel commission, pursuant to RSA 284 or rules and regulations adopted pursuant to such authority.V. A veterinarian licensed to practice in the state shall be held harmless from either criminal or civil liability for any decisions made for services rendered under the provisions of this section or RSA 435:11-16. Such a veterinarian is, therefore, under this paragraph, protected from a lawsuit for his part in an investigation of cruelty to animals.

644:9-a. Nonconsensual Dissemination of Private Sexual Images

Updated: 
February 10, 2020

I. In this section:
(a) “Disseminate” means to import, publish, produce, print, manufacture, distribute, sell, lease, exhibit, or display.
(b) “Image” means a photograph, film, videotape, or digital image or recording.
(c) “Intimate parts” means the fully unclothed, partially unclothed, or transparently clothed genitals, pubic area, or anus, or, if the person is female, a partially or fully exposed nipple, including exposure through transparent clothing.
(d) “Sexual act” means sexual penetration, masturbation, or sexual activity.
(e) “Sexual activity” means any:
(1) Knowing touching or fondling by any person, either directly or through clothing, of the sex organs, anus, or breast of that person, or another person, or animal; or
(2) Any transfer or transmission of semen upon any part of the clothed or unclothed body of a person; or
(3) An act of urination within a sexual context; or
(4) Any bondage, fetter, or sadism masochism; or
(5) Sadomasochism abuse in any sexual context.
II. A person commits nonconsensual dissemination of private sexual images when he or she:
(a) Purposely, and with the intent to harass, intimidate, threaten, or coerce the depicted person, disseminates an image of such person:
(1) Who is identifiable from the image itself or information displayed in connection with the image; and
(2) Who is engaged in a sexual act or whose intimate parts are exposed, in whole or in part; and
(b) Obtains the image under circumstances in which a reasonable person would know or understand that the person in the image intended that the image was to remain private; and
(c) Knows or should have known that the person in the image has not consented to the dissemination.
III. The intentional dissemination of an image of another identifiable person who is engaged in a sexual act or whose intimate parts are exposed is exempt from the provision of this section:
(a) When the dissemination is made for the purpose of a criminal investigation that is otherwise lawful.
(b) When the dissemination is for the purpose of, or in connection with, the reporting of unlawful conduct.
(c) When the images involve voluntary exposure in public or commercial settings.
(d) When the dissemination serves a lawful public purpose.
(e) When the dissemination is done in compliance with a subpoena or court order.
IV. Nothing in this section shall be construed to impose liability upon the following entities solely as a result of content or information provided by another person:
(a) An interactive computer service, as defined in 47 U.S.C. section 230(f)(2);
(b) A provider of public cellular or mobile services or private radio services; or
(c) A telecommunications network or broadband provider.
V. Any property used in committing, or facilitating the commission of, any offense under this section shall be subject to forfeiture.
VI. Any person who violates the provisions of this section shall be guilty of a class B felony.