A New Hampshire criminal record is first acquired when a person is arrested and fingerprinted in the state. All information on arrests and the resulting criminal dispositions is processed by the New Hampshire State Police’s Criminal Records Unit, which maintains the state’s Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) as well as its central repository for criminal history information.
In the State of New Hampshire, confidential criminal history information is only available to the subject of the record, while public criminal conviction history can be requested by anyone in exchange for a fee.
New Hampshire criminal records may only be requested by mail or in-person, as there is no online database of New Hampshire criminal history information accessible to the general public.
What is a criminal record?
A criminal record is an official document detailing a person’s criminal convictions, pending criminal cases, prior arrests, and other interactions with law enforcement agencies. Additional names for a criminal record include criminal history record, rap sheet, and a police record.
As with marriage records and court records, criminal records are generally public records in the United States and can be accessed through a criminal background check. However, public access to specific criminal record information varies from state to state.
In the State of New Hampshire, a confidential criminal record may be requested by the subjects of the record, only.
What is included in a New Hampshire criminal record?
As criminal records are kept by law enforcement agencies at all levels of government in the United States, a criminal record may vary in format and content depending on the law enforcement database from which it is accessed.
Generally, a New Hampshire criminal record will include the following information:
- A person’s full name and possible aliases
- Personal information such as age, date of birth, sex, ethnicity, height, weight, and other physical characteristics
- Fingerprints and mugshot
- Misdemeanor criminal offenses and convictions
- Felony criminal offenses and convictions
- Past and outstanding arrest warrants
- Pending and dismissed charges
Why would someone access a criminal record?
There are many reasons to access a criminal record.
- Most commonly, people search criminal records as a way to run a background check on a particular person.
- They’re also used by law enforcement to identify or locate people involved in unsolved crimes or by the court system to determine an appropriate sentence after a conviction.
- An individual may want to access his or her own record as well. It’s not uncommon for people to request their own criminal records to see what information is public.
- In some cases, a record could be inaccurate or include outdated information. If that’s the case, it’s important to have the record corrected.
What’s the difference between an infraction, misdemeanor, and felony?
Arrests and convictions listed on a criminal record are separated into three categories: infractions, misdemeanors, and felonies.
To give a better understanding of the information listed on a criminal record, here’s a quick overview of each category of offense:
- Infraction – An infraction is a minor violation of the law that is regulated at the state level. Punishment for an infraction is usually just a fine or a written warning, rather than a jail or prison sentence. Examples of infractions include minor traffic violations, public nuisance offenses, and littering.
- Misdemeanor – A misdemeanor is a crime that is more serious than an infraction, yet less serious than a felony. Generally, a misdemeanor punishable by a term of imprisonment of less than a year, or by a term of probation. An individual convicted of a misdemeanor is more likely to serve time in a county or local jail than in a federal or state prison. Examples of misdemeanors include driving under the influence, most drug abuse violations, and petty theft.
- Felony – A felony is the most severe type of crime, often characterized by the use of a weapon during a crime, serious injury to a victim, and/or holding a person against their will. Felony convictions typically result in a term of imprisonment of more than one year in a state or federal prison. Examples of felonies include rape, murder, and grand theft.
What is the difference between a New Hampshire arrest record and a New Hampshire criminal record?
While an arrest record is an official document including the details of a specific arrest, a criminal record is a more comprehensive document that includes a person’s entire criminal background known to law enforcement agencies.
How do I search for a New Hampshire criminal record?
Although New Hampshire criminal records are not searchable online, there are several methods of obtaining a copy of a criminal record in the state. Requestors must submit a fee of $25 by cash, check, or money order payable to the “State of NH” along with the request (Eligible parties may pay a $10 reduced fee).
A New Hampshire criminal record may be requested using the following methods:
- Apply in person at the public counter at 33 Hazen Drive, Concord, NH, Room 106A.
- Mail-in a criminal record request application to 33 Hazen Drive, Concord, NH 03305.
- Release a copy of your New Hampshire criminal record to a third party by completing and submitting a Criminal Record Release Authorization Form.
- Requesting a copy of one’s own “Confidential” New Hampshire criminal record by mail or in-person is also possible, but the signature of a Notary Public or a Justice of the Peace Signature, Date, and Seal are required.
Requests take between three to seven business days to be processed. A “NO RECORD” result indicates that no New Hampshire criminal record exists for the subject in question.
Certain New Hampshire state laws require an FBI fingerprint-based criminal history record check. However, the fingerprinting requirement has been deferred by Emergency Order #18 for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic.
How do I obtain a physical copy of a New Hampshire criminal record?
If a New Hampshire criminal record exists for the subject of the request, a physical copy will be delivered along with the official response.
Why can’t I access a New Hampshire criminal record?
Being unable to access a New Hampshire criminal record means that either:
- The subject does not have a criminal record on file in the state.
- The criminal record is confidential.
- The criminal record has been successfully annulled.
How do I search for New Hampshire criminal case court records?
The New Hampshire Judicial Branch makes its Case Access Portal available to the general public. Individuals may use the tool to search the state’s vast database of Superior, Circuit, and District court case records. Users must register to use the Case Access Portal, but searches can be performed free-of-charge.
If the criminal case court record cannot be found online, use the Find Your Court tool to look up the contact information of the New Hampshire court that processed the case. Next, contact the clerk of court and make a request to view the record.
Does New Hampshire allow criminal records to be sealed or expunged?
According to New Hampshire RSA 651:5, certain criminal arrests and convictions on a New Hampshire criminal record may be removed as a result of a successful Petition to Annul filed with the court of jurisdiction. Annulment is similar to expungement in definition.
The annulment process requires the petitioner to pay a number of fees, including a court filing fee of $100, a state police administrative fee of $100, and a Department of Corrections parole and Probation report fee of $100.
For more information on annulments, call (603) 223-3867 and choose option #3.
How can I have false information on a New Hampshire criminal record corrected?
The process for challenging incorrect information on a New Hampshire criminal record is detailed on the Criminal History Record Information Release Authorization form.
Here’s how to submit a challenge to New Hampshire criminal record information:
- Highlight the false information on a copy of the New Hampshire criminal record.
- Write a statement explaining the error and provide a proper account of the event.
- Mail-in the challenge to the Criminal Records Unit (address listed in the above section) or submit it in-person.
The Criminal Records Unit will conduct a review of the challenge within 30 days of its receipt. If the challenge is deemed legitimate, the CRU will contact the responsible party (law enforcement agency or court) and determine if the record should be corrected.
How long are New Hampshire criminal records kept on file?
New Hampshire criminal records are kept on file indefinitely unless a successful Petition to Annul is passed, in which case certain arrests and convictions may be removed from a record.