Bill Text - SB276 (2012)

(New Title) establishing the vandalizing or defacing of state or municipal property as criminal mischief.

Revision: March 28, 2012, midnight






AN ACT establishing a criminal offense for vandalizing or defacing state, municipal, or commercial property.

SPONSORS: Sen. Stiles, Dist 24; Sen. De Blois, Dist 18; Sen. Barnes, Jr., Dist 17; Sen. Boutin, Dist 16; Sen. Bradley, Dist 3; Sen. Carson, Dist 14; Sen. D'Allesandro, Dist 20; Sen. Forrester, Dist 2; Sen. Gallus, Dist 1; Sen. Lambert, Dist 13; Sen. Luther, Dist 12; Sen. Odell, Dist 8; Sen. Prescott, Dist 23; Sen. Rausch, Dist 19; Sen. Sanborn, Dist 7; Sen. White, Dist 9; Rep. Infantine, Hills 13; Rep. Waddell, Rock 15; Rep. Nevins, Rock 15; Rep. Pantelakos, Rock 16; Rep. Bettencourt, Rock 4

COMMITTEE: Judiciary


This bill establishes a criminal offense for vandalizing or defacing state, municipal, or commercial property.

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Explanation: Matter added to current law appears in bold italics.

Matter removed from current law appears [in brackets and struckthrough.]

Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.




In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Twelve

AN ACT establishing a criminal offense for vandalizing or defacing state, municipal, or commercial property.

Be it Enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court convened:

1 New Paragraph; Criminal Mischief. Amend RSA 634:2 by inserting after paragraph II-a the following new paragraph:

II-b. Criminal mischief is a class B misdemeanor plus a $1,000 fine if the actor purposely vandalizes or defaces state, municipal, or commercial property. The actor shall make restitution for damages he or she caused to the property. This paragraph shall not apply to any person who alters or modifies the appearance of state, municipal, or commercial property with the consent of the property owner.

2 Effective Date. This act shall take effect January 1, 2013.



Revised 01/09/12


AN ACT establishing a criminal offense for vandalizing or defacing state, municipal, or commercial property.


      The Judicial Branch, Judicial Council, and New Hampshire Association of Counties state this bill may decrease state and county expenditures by an indeterminable amount in FY 2013 and each year thereafter. There will be no fiscal impact on local expenditures, or state, county, and local revenue.


    The Judicial Branch states this bill makes purposely vandalizing or defacing state, municipal or commercial property a class B misdemeanor with a mandatory $1,000 fine. The Branch states the actions proposed by this bill already constitute criminal mischief as defined in RSA 634;2,II-b, therefore it does not add any new cases to the caseload of the Branch. This bill may decrease state general fund expenditures for the Branch as this bill may lower the level of some offenses since criminal mischief is now a class B felony if damages are in excess of $1,500, and a class A misdemeanor if damages are in excess of $100 and not more than $1,500. The Branch has no information on the number of criminal mischief offenses that could be affected by this bill to determine the exact fiscal impact.

    The Judicial Council states this bill will result in an indeterminable decrease in state general fund expenditures. The Council states to the extent this bill results in fewer misdemeanor offenses where the right to counsel would exist, costs will decrease. The Council states if an individual is found to be indigent, the flat fee of $275 per misdemeanor is charged by a public defender or contract attorney. If an assigned counsel attorney is used the fee is $60 per hour with a cap of $1,400 for a misdemeanor charge. The Council also states there may not be additional costs associated with appeals.

    The New Hampshire Association of Counties states to the extent less individuals are charged, convicted, and sentenced to incarceration in a county correctional facility, the counties may have decreased expenditures. The Association is unable to determine the number of individuals who may not be charged, convicted or incarcerated as a result of this bill to determine an exact fiscal impact. The average annual cost to incarcerate an individual in a county correctional facility is approximately $35,000. There is no impact on county revenue.

    The Department of Justice states the criminal offense, a class B misdemeanor, created by this bill is typically prosecuted by the county attorney and will have no fiscal impact on the Department.