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New Hampshire Arrest Records

New Hampshire arrest records are documents that detail a person’s criminal history. These records are enacted when a person is taken into police custody following suspected criminal activity, so they might occur directly after an alleged crime or in the course of an investigation. These records are maintained by law enforcement agencies such as the state police, sheriff’s office, or county police departments. 


There is also a difference between police custody and arrests in New Hampshire. Law enforcement can have a person in custody without technically arresting them. The goal, in this case, is to deprive the person of their typical freedoms for a period of time. An arrest, though, occurs when one is read their rights, given their charges, and their details are booked into the station they are in custody. During an arrest, the person will be taken to the station and put in a cell while the arresting officer inputs their relevant paperwork. 


That is the description of the incident, date of the arrest, personal information, mugshots, criminal charges, court date, classification of the crime, and police interrogation details. These records do not include convictions as they come before the court appearance and case deliberation; therefore, arrest reports are not the same as criminal records, according to RSA 106-B14. State regulations and arrest records in New Hampshire are public. It also mandates that the state police are obligated to update records on their system daily. The availability of this information, though, is contingent on the fact that it does not contravene any regulations. For the arrest records, most local police departments and county sheriffs provide copies on request to any interested party. 


The arrest records are also categorized according to the charge types on them. The least of them are infractions. They are minor but regulated at the state level, such as speeding, tailgating, or parking overtime. The punishment for an infraction is usually a written warning or a ticket rather than a jail sentence. Misdemeanors are the next level of criminal charge, which can show up on a charge sheet. These are less serious compared to a felony but more so than an infraction. The maximum penalty for these is a year's jail term and probation for the offender. At best, the individual may get a fine along with probation. A felony is the most serious time of crime, and it usually attracts a jail term of more than one year in prison. These charges also significantly limit options for getting specialty licenses or particular forms of employment. 


What Laws Govern Arrests in New Hampshire?

Section 594:10 of New Hampshire’s common law details concerning private citizen's arrest. That is the ability to arrest individuals perpetrating actions that threaten public order. These cases make it clear that a private citizen can make an arrest without requiring a warrant for suspected criminals who have committed misdemeanors and felonies. At the same time, state laws concern private citizens and their authority towards detaining another individual and then handing them to the authorities. 


Typically, private citizens are not encouraged to make an arrest. The reason, in this case, is when a citizen makes an arrest, there may be fewer constitutional protections which are available to the criminal. It is because the citizens are not following a warrant out for the arrest of said person. There are also risks to the citizen, such as violating the offender's constitutional rights, leading to potential criminal liability. The offender may also put themselves at risk by apprehending a dangerous criminal as they may inflict bodily harm on them during the course of an arrest. 


Rule 3 of the New Hampshire Rules of criminal procedure describes the complaint, arrest warrant, summons, and release prior to arraignment. In the complaint, there is a written statement of essential facts illustrating the nature of the offense. Complaints that charge a class A misdemeanor or felony must be signed under oath. Though this is provided, the complaint was filed by a police officer, as indicated in RSA 106-L-2. Class B misdemeanors, though, do not require an oath. Second is the issuance of the arrest warrant. Should it be from a sworn application for a warrant, there is probable cause to believe the offense was done in New Hampshire and the offender committed it, then an arrest warrant can be issued. 


Part C of the rule is the arrest. When the offender is arrested with the warrant, both the complaint and return form from the arrest needs to be filed in a court of appropriate jurisdiction as soon as possible. In the case a person is arrested without a warrant, then the complaint can be filed without delay. Should the individual be detained in lieu of their bail, a statement must be signed under oath. That would comply with the precedence set by Gerstein v. Pugh, 420 U.S. 103 (1975). Summons is the fourth part of the rule. When the complaint charges are a felony, a summons is not going to be issued. In the case where an arrest warrant is legal, on request of the state, the person authorized via New Hampshire can issue a summons. RSA 594.14 indicates that the summons will be in the form required by the state. A person who does not appear on the summons may also be charged with misdemeanors. 


What Is the Arrest Booking Process in the State?

Booking is there to offer information concerning the individuals that have been arrested. Considering booking initiates an official arrest record, those who are taken into custody and want to post bail are not allowed to be released until following the booking process. The booking process can take several hours to do, though this is dependent on the number of standard procedures that are conducted. 

Recording Name and Crime 

At present, all booking records are computerized. The first step is jotting the suspect's name and the charge for which they have been arrested. 



A mugshot follows to put a face to the name of the suspect. It can also help determine which of two people with the same name was taken into custody for what crime. It can also illustrate the person’s physical condition when they were arrested. That can be relevant, especially if the offender would like to bring forth charges of police brutality. 


Taking the suspect’s clothing and personal property into custody

Some booing officers allow suspects to keep personal items such as wristwatches, though most are surrendered until released. Contraband and other potential evidence are highly prioritized in these scenarios. 


Taking Fingerprints 

Fingerprinting is a standard part of the booking process. They are entered into a database maintained by federal authorities and coordinated by other law enforcement agencies. The goal is to determine if the apprehended individual is a person of interest in other investigations across state lines or within the New Hampshire jurisdiction. It also helps establish the profile of the suspect for further investigations.


Officers typically conduct pat-downs at the time of arrest, though a second may follow at the police station. This is to prevent any drugs or weapons from entering the jails. In these cases, booking officers may request the offender remove their clothing and allow for a full body search. 


Checking for warrants and health screening 

A booking officer will also check the databases to see if the arrested individual has other warrants pending. That may include anything from theft charges to unpaid tickets in other states. If the suspect has pending warrants, they will not be released on bail. To protect the health of jail personnel and other inmates, the arrestee will also be medically checked to determine if they have infectious or contagious diseases. 


What Are Mugshot Records?

Mugshots are photographs of the offender taken by police officers during the booking process. It includes identifying information about the individual, such as their height, weight, and the date of the incident. It can be used when the person is in jail and updated when released. Previously mugshots were isolated to the law enforcement agency that took them; however, they have recently been added to a nationwide system controlled by federal authorities. 


Considering that mugshots are part of arrest records that can be available to interested parties, they are now widely published via police or Federal Bureau of Investigation websites. Mugshots should not be taken as proof of wrongdoing as they are part of arrest records. There is a possibility that a detained individual is found guilty and the charges dropped. Internet searches that reveal the mugshots, though, could imply involvement in a crime that does not have any basis as there are no criminal convictions associated. 


How Long Does an Arrest Record Stay in the New Hampshire?

Arrest records in New Hampshire remain forever on the person’s file unless they may get it sealed or expunged. If one is found innocent of a crime, it is possible to get the record expunged. The same is true if the convicted offender has served their time in prison and waited the mandatory period before applying to have their records expunged. The seriousness of an offense, as described by its class or level, also determines the number of years before it is possible to apply for an expungement. For violation-level offenses, the offender has to wait one year from the date they completed their sentence. It is two and three years consecutively for class B and A misdemeanors. Felonies require a wait time of 5 and 10 years for class B and A-type offenses. 


How to Expunge an Arrest Record in New Hampshire

The individual must return to the courts that authorized the charge to expunge an arrest record. The court that one asks to do so depends on what they would like to remove. If there were no convictions, the New Hampshire court where the court was decided would suffice. That follows New Hampshire state law Stat. § 651:5(II) (2019). If an individual is arrested and not taken into custody, they can petition for annulment. The same is true if the court dismissed the charges, though that would require a wait time of 30 days after the judge has issued a dismissal of the case. In the case one was not found guilty on the charges, they may file for a petition of annulment following the case appeal period expiration date.


How to Search New Hampshire Arrest Records

It is possible to search for arrests and warrants by using the New Hampshire State Police web platform. The arrest records will illustrate the person’s name, time of arrest, and where it happened. It is also accompanied by a mugshot and the charges laid upon the individual. Typically arrest records are considered a matter of public record so that they may be accessed by any interested party on request. 


Other third-party web platforms also provide access to arrest records and may be used to determine criminal backgrounds. They can come up during a routine background check done by employers or educational institutions. Requesters can get physical copies of the arrest records by contacting the law enforcement agency that conducted the arrest. That could be the county sheriff’s office or a local police department. Arrest reports are also kept by state government agencies such as the New Hampshire state police and the New Hampshire Department of Safety’s Criminal Record Unit. In some, though, the records may not be available to all interested parties. 

The Freedom of Information Act allows several exemptions which mandate the agencies to withhold documentation from public access. That is, if the document is classified, focuses on internal rules, prohibits the release of information, or entails confidential trade secrets. Documents can also be withheld from public access if they are reserved for law purposes, as in an investigation or a court case. They may contain confidential information concerning a financial institution's supervision as well. These are only accessed by legal representatives, law enforcement personnel, correctional facilities, or the parties to the incidents in some cases.

Counties in New Hampshire

Jails and Prisons in New Hampshire

New Hampshire State Prison for Women317 Mast Rd., Goffstown, NH
Hillsborough County NH Department of Corrections445 Willow Street, Manchester, NH
Calumet House Transitional Housing Unit126 Lowell Street, Manchester, NH
Concord Transitional Work Center275 North State Street, PO Box 14, Concord, NH
New Hampshire State Prison for Men281 North State St., Concord, NH
Merrimack County NH Department of Corrections314 Daniel Webster Highway, Boscawen, NH
North End House Transitional Housing Unit1 Perimeter Road, PO Box 14, Concord, NH
Shea Farm Transitional Housing Unit60 Iron Works Road, Concord, NH
Strafford County House of Corrections266 County Farm Road, Dover, NH