WHAT IS AN ANNULMENT UNDER NEW HAMPSHIRE LAW?
The act of forgiveness and washing away one’s sins is as old as time.
"I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh."
Under New Hampshire law, a person can ask the court in which he/she was convicted of a crime (or a violation) to annul, expunge, erase, wipe-away, wash and make clean the record of arrest or conviction.
So, if you are thinking about looking for a new job and you are worried that an old drug arrest from Woodstock, or a Disorderly Conduct conviction will pop-up during a criminal background check, now is the time to get that stuff off of your record.
Most convictions can be annulled.
Most arrests for which you were found NOT GUILTY after trial can be annulled.
Most charges that were dropped (i.e. NOL PROSSED) by a prosecutor can be annulled.
Most cases that were dismissed by a judge can be annulled.
We use the word “most” because the New Hampshire annulment law has many exceptions and nuances that can sometimes delay (or get in the way) of your annulments. The best way to be sure if your past case(s) can be annulled is to contact Mark at OSBORNE LAW and talk to him about your situation.
In the meantime, here are a few answers to some frequently asked questions about annulments:
Do I have to wait an amount of time before I can annul a conviction?
How long do I have to wait before I can annul an old conviction?
It depends. There are typically two requirements to most convictions.
First, you must not have any new pending arrests or convictions in between the time of the conviction you are looking to annul and when you file your petition.
Second, you must annul your most recent convictions first and work backward.
So if you have Theft charge from 1988 that you want to annul, but you have a more recent Theft conviction, you must annul the new Theft conviction first before you can annul the Theft from 1988. Counter-intuitive, yes. But, that is the law.
According to the law (RSA 651:5) you typically have to wait the following timeframes (the date your punishment or sentence ends) to annul a conviction:
1 year to annul a Violation (a non-criminal offense)
2 years to annul many marijuana-related offenses
2 years to annul a Class B misdemeanor
3 years to annul a Class A misdemeanor
3 years to annul a misdemeanor that was deemed domestic violence
5 years to annul a Class B felony
10 years to annul a Class A felony
10 years to annul a misdemeanor sexual assault under RSA 632-A:4
10 years to annul felony indecent exposure/lewdness under RSA 645:1, II
How long do I have to wait before I can annul an arrest on which I was found not guilty after trial?
You can usually annul it right away.
How long do I have to wait before I can annul an arrest that was dropped by the prosecutor or dismissed by the judge?
You can usually annul it right away.
How long do I have to wait before I can annul a DWI/OUI/DUI?
10 years from the date of your conviction. See RSA 265-A:3
How long do I have to wait before I can annul a felony drug conviction?
7 years from the date of conviction. See RSA 318-B:28-a.
How long do I have to wait before I can annul most motor vehicle infractions?
7 years from the date of conviction. See RSA 262:19, IV
Are there any convictions that cannot be annulled?
Yes. The following convictions cannot typically be annulled:
- Capital murder
- First degree murder
- Second degree murder
Class A felony negligent homicide under RSA 630
First degree assault RSA 631:1
Aggravated felonious sexual assault under RSA 632-A
Felonious sexual assault under RSA 632-A
Kidnapping or criminal restraint under RSA 633
Arson as a Class A felony RSA 634:1
Robbery RSA 636
Incest RSA 639:2, III
Endangering the welfare of a child by solicitation RSA 639:3, III
Felonies involving child sexual abuse images RSA 649-A
Crimes of “Obstruction of Justice"
Witness Tampering RSA 641:5
Falsifying evidence RSA 641:6
Felonious obstructing government operations RSA 642
My conviction is really old – doesn’t my case eventually get annulled automatically?
NO! A case is never annulled unless and until you file a Petition to Annul.
My case was dropped/dismissed/ or I was found not guilty after trial – doesn’t my arrest get annulled automatically?
NO! An arrest is never annulled unless and until you file a Petition to Annul.
Isn’t that unfair that I have to ask the court to annul an arrest that was dropped?
Yes. Having said that, an arrest is never annulled unless and until you file a Petition to Annul.
Can a prosecutor object to my Petition to Annul a conviction or arrest?
Yes. A prosecutor may object to your Petition to Annul if he/she thinks you don’t qualify; your petition is premature (meaning not enough time has gone by from your date of conviction or completion of sentence); or simply thinks that you are not rehabilitated or that your annulment is not in the interest of justice.
Do I need a lawyer to annul my arrest or convictions?
No. We caution people, however, that to draft or file your own Petition to Annul carries some dangers.
If you do not understand the instructions 100% you run the risk of your petition being denied.
You also run the risk of either the Court or a prosecutor that you were being dishonest by filing an erroneous Petition to Annul. You may not need that kind of stress in your life.
Lastly, if you file a Petition to Annul prematurely (i.e. before the necessary amount of time has passed) you will have to wait an additional 3 years before you can file again.
By that time, you may have missed out on a good job opportunity or other benefits that you could have had with a clean record.
Can OSBORNE LAW help me get my cases annulled?
Yes. If you qualify for an annulment, we will work hard to get your slate wiped clean.
And, if you do not qualify for an annulment, we will make sure you understand why, and what steps you need to take next.