Criminal Record Annulment in New Hampshire

Below is an overview of some of frequently asked questions about how to get your criminal record annulled in New Hampshire. Importantly the time period to file for annulment depends on each arrest, conviction, and sentence. An attorney's help can make a difference in filing properly. We welcome you to contact Reis & O'Keefe for assistance.

What is annulment of a criminal record?

Annulment of criminal convictions and arrests is critical in improving employment opportunities. Your court file is eliminated. Annulment is sometimes also known as having your criminal record expunged.

Can I get any crime annulled automatically in New Hampshire?

No — no crime is automatically annulled in New Hampshire. The Court has discretion over which crimes are annulled and some offenses are non-annullable. RSA 651:5 and Criminal Court Rule 31 govern the time frame of annulment petitions.

What if I was not convicted? Does the arrest record go away?

No. Even if you are not convicted of a criminal charge, you must petition the Court to have the arrest or charge annulled.

If a criminal record is annulled, does that mean no one will ever know about it?

No — annulment doesn't make your record disappear entirely, but most people and employers will not know you were arrested and convicted. The record check run by most employers contacts the Department of Safety and their record will not show annulled offenses.

Who will know that I had a criminal record?

Even if your record is annulled, people with access to FBI records check capability can discover the record. Also, local police departments may maintain their own files separate from the court file.

Why should I annul my record?

There are many reasons, here are a few:

  • Publicly-assisted housing
  • Private landlord background checks
  • Federal benefit programs
  • Getting into any type of college
  • Obtaining any type of loan (government or private) for higher education
  • Employment, including special licenses for occupations such as nurses
  • Military enlistment
  • Firearm possession

Don’t I just have to fill out some forms to get my criminal record annulled?

Exactly what you need to do to get a criminal record annulled in New Hampshire varies and it’s easier with our help. RSA 651:5 and Criminal Court Rule 31 govern annulment time frames. Annulment involves some fill-in-the-blank forms, but the time period to file for annulment depends on each arrest, conviction, and sentence. Completion of all of the terms and conditions of a sentence is necessary for potential annulment of that offense. And some crimes are annullable, where some aren't — and the difference is not necessarily obvious. For example, it is intuitive that some crimes such as murder are not annullable in New Hampshire. It is far less obvious that falsifying physical evidence under RSA 641:6 it not annullable because it qualifies as a felony obstruction of justice crime. DWI offenses are not annullable for 10 years.

Contact Our Portsmouth Criminal Defense Attorneys for a Free Consultation

We’re happy to help you navigate the New Hampshire annulment process to free you from the burdens of prior convictions. Contact us for a free consultation.

About Our Team

Kevin P. O'Keefe's Profile Image
Kevin O'Keefe has represented thousands of clients in all areas of criminal law. Before establishing Reis & O'Keefe, Kevin was an attorney with the New Hampshire Public Defender.
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James B. Reis's Profile Image
James Reis started out at the New Hampshire Public Defender in 2000. Throughout the years, Jim has steadfastly protected the rights of nearly four thousand clients.
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