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What is Annulment? FAQs

Wed, 01/20/2016 - 14:59 -- bregan
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FAQs

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What is Criminal record annulment or expungement? 

Why Should I remove my criminal record? 

What is documented on my NH criminal record? 

How do I get a copy of my criminal record? 

How do I get a copy of my driving record? 

 
 
 

What is criminal record annulment or expungement?

Annulment, which is also sometimes referred to as expungement, is a legal process to remove your criminal record. In New Hampshire, the process to remove your record starts in court with the filing of a written request called a Petition to Annul.

Why should I remove my criminal record?

There are many reasons to remove your criminal record. Some common reasons are difficulties with:

  • housing, both private landlords and public assistance
  • federal benefit programs
  • admissions into higher education
  • grants, loans, or work assistance programs for students in higher education  
  • employment
  • licenses or permissions needed for certain employment
  • enlistment in the armed forces
  • possession of firearms

Many employers want to know about your criminal record. Employers may ask you to complete a background investigation. This investigation shows the employer any convictions on your record. On job applications, employers may ask “Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime that has not been annulled by a court?” If you have not received court approval to remove the arrests and/or convictions on your criminal record, you must answer “yes.” The employer may choose not to hire you because of your criminal record.

What is documented on my New Hampshire criminal record?

In order to understand what you can remove, it is helpful to know what appears on your criminal record. Your criminal record will contain basic information about you such as your name, address, birth date, birthplace, hair color, eye color, height, sex, weight, race, alias, and body markings (tattoos or scars).

Every time you are charged with a crime, it is documented on your record. Some driving offenses are entered on your criminal history, but it does not contain most minor driving offenses. The name of the specific charge is included on your record. If the charge is brought to court, there is an outcome entered. The outcome or disposition could be: dismissed, nol pros (not prosecuted), placed on file with a finding, placed on file without a finding, not guilty, no contest, or guilty, among other possibilities. The outcome of guilty is considered a conviction. After a conviction, there is a sentence. The information about charges on your record will typically contain the following information:

  1. Arrest offense (the name of the charge for which you are originally arrested)
  2. Violation date (the date the offense happened)
  3. Arrest date
  4. Agency bringing the charge (usually the city or town police department)
  5. Disposed offense (the name of the charge resolved in court)
  6. Type of charge (violation, misdemeanor, or felony)
  7. Class of the charge (class A or B: only for misdemeanors and felonies)
  8. Name of the court
  9. Plea (not guilty, no vontest, or guilty)
  10. Finding (not guilty or guilty)
  11. Disposition or outcome (dismissed, nol pros (not prosecuted), placed on file with a finding, placed on file without a finding, not guilty, no contest, or guilty, among other possibilities).  
  12. If the disposition is for a conviction (meaning you either pled guilty or were found guilty), then there is also a description of the sentence.

How do I get a copy of my criminal record?

You can request a copy of your criminal record from the New Hampshire State Police Criminal Record Unit. Their website has helpful information on how to request your criminal record. It is a good idea to request a copy of your record before you petition the court to annul an arrest or conviction. Having an up-to-date copy of your record will allow you to accurately complete the necessary information on the Petition to Annul that you will file with the court. When completing the required Criminal Record Release Authorization Form, be sure to select Annulment/Expungement as the purpose of the record request. Selecting this box will ensure that the information needed for annulment is contained on the copy you receive.

There is a $25.00 fee to get your criminal record. If you do not have the financial means to pay the fee at this time, you may still contact LARC for legal assistance.

How do I get a copy of my driving record?

You can request a copy of your driving record from the New Hampshire Department of Safety. Their website has helpful information on what is required to request your driving record as well as the form you must complete. It is a good idea to request a copy of your record before you petition the court to annul an arrest or conviction. Having an up-to-date copy of your record will allow you to accurately complete the necessary information on the Petition to Annul that you will file with the court.

There is a $15.00 fee to get your driving record. If you do not have the financial means to pay the fee at this time, you may still contact LARC for legal assistance.

What can I remove from my criminal record?

You can ask the court to remove the record of the arrest, the charge, and the disposition, or outcome. However, there are certain convictions you cannot remove from your record.

What convictions cannot be removed from my record?

You cannot remove the following convictions from your criminal record:

  • Convictions for “Violent Crimes”
    •  Violent crimes include the charges of: attempted murder (RSA 629:1) capital murder (RSA 630:1) , first or second degree murder (RSA 630:1) , manslaughter (RSA 630:2), felony negligent homicide (RSA 630), first degree assault (RSA 631:1), aggravated felonious sexual assault (RSA 632-A:2), felonious sexual assault (RSA 632-A:3), kidnapping (RSA 633:1, II), criminal restraint (RSA 633:2), class A felony arson (RSA 634:1, II),  robbery (RSA 636:1), incest (RSA 639:2, III), B felony endangering the welfare of child by solicitation (RSA 639:3, III & 639:3, V).
  • Convictions for  “Felony Obstruction of Justice Crimes”
    • A felony obstruction of justice crime include the charges of: tampering with witnesses or informants under RSA 641:5, or falsifying evidence under RSA 641:6 or any felonious offense of obstructing governmental operations under RSA 642.
  • Convictions for charges that included sentences to extended terms of imprisonment
    • An extended term of imprisonment involves a conviction for a crime with aggravating circumstances. This is a sentencing enhancement statute, which allows a sentencing court to lengthen the term of a sentence if certain circumstances are present; The law regarding extended term of imprisonment is New Hampshire RSA 651:6.

What if I have a conviction on my record that cannot be annulled, but I want to remove something else?

You cannot remove any conviction from your criminal record unless all of the convictions are eligible. This means, according to the law, you are not eligible to remove any convictions from your record if there are any convictions for a violent crime, a felony obstruction of justice crime, or a conviction with a sentence to extended term of imprisonment. You may be able to remove a charge that was not prosecuted, dismissed by the court, or resulted in a not guilty finding even if you have ineligible prior convictions.

What if I am completing the terms and conditions of a sentence for one conviction, but I want to remove a different conviction?

You cannot remove any convictions from your record if you still need to complete the terms and conditions of a sentence for any other conviction. Even if you are completing a sentence for one conviction but want to remove a different conviction from your record, the court will not approve such a request.  You cannot remove any conviction from your criminal record unless all of the convictions on your record are eligible.

Can I remove some of my other convictions if I am currently on probation for another conviction?

You cannot remove any convictions from your record if you still need to complete the terms and conditions of the sentence for any other charge. Probation is an outstanding obligation to the court as part of a criminal sentence. Even if you are on probation for one conviction but want to remove a different conviction from your record, the court will not approve such a request.  You cannot remove any conviction from your criminal record unless all of the convictions on your record are eligible.

Can I ask the court to remove  an arrest that has resulted in a not guilty finding, even when I am still completing the terms and conditions of a sentence for another conviction?

Yes, you can ask the court to remove the record of an arrest that resulted in a not guilty finding, after that finding is ordered by the court. This is still true even if you are still in the process of completing the conditions of a sentence for a different conviction.

Can I ask the court to remove  a charge that was dismissed or not prosecuted even when I am still completing the terms and conditions of a sentence for another conviction?

Yes, you can ask the court to remove the record of a charge that was dismissed or not prosecuted, after that finding is ordered by the court. This is still true even if you are still in the process of completing the conditions of a sentence for a different conviction.

Do I have to remove everything from my criminal record or can I choose to remove specific convictions?

You can choose the convictions you want to remove. You do not have to remove everything. It may be more practical to choose which convictions you want to remove especially if you have numerous convictions out of different courts. You may save money on the fees by choosing to annul fewer convictions. Keep in mind, you can only remove a conviction if all of your convictions are eligible.


 

Date: 
2/15/06
Author: 
bregan

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