Bill Details - HB134 (2019)

HB 134-FN - AS INTRODUCED

 

 

2019 SESSION

19-0054

04/10

 

HOUSE BILL 134-FN

 

AN ACT reducing the penalty for certain first offense drug possession charges.

 

SPONSORS: Rep. Seaworth, Merr. 20

 

COMMITTEE: Criminal Justice and Public Safety

 

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ANALYSIS

 

This bill reduces the penalty for certain first offense drug possession charges.

 

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Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.

19-0054

04/10

 

STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE

 

In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Nineteen

 

AN ACT reducing the penalty for certain first offense drug possession charges.

 

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

 

1  First Offense Drug Charges; Penalties.  RSA 318-B:26, II(a) is repealed and reenacted to read as follows:

(a)  In the case of a controlled drug or its analog, other than those specifically covered in this section, the person shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, except that any person who commits any such violation after one or more prior offenses as defined in RSA 318-B:27 may be sentenced to a felony or misdemeanor at the discretion of the sentencing court.  

2  Effective Date.  This act shall take effect January 1, 2020.

 

LBAO

19-0054

11/7/18

 

HB 134-FN- FISCAL NOTE

AS INTRODUCED

 

AN ACT reducing the penalty for certain first offense drug possession charges.

 

FISCAL IMPACT:      [ X ] State              [ X ] County               [    ] Local              [    ] None

 

 

 

Estimated Increase / (Decrease)

STATE:

FY 2020

FY 2021

FY 2022

FY 2023

   Appropriation

$0

$0

$0

$0

   Revenue

$0

$0

$0

$0

   Expenditures

Indeterminable Decrease

Indeterminable Decrease

Indeterminable Decrease

Indeterminable Decrease

Funding Source:

  [ X ] General            [    ] Education            [    ] Highway           [    ] Other

 

 

 

 

 

COUNTY:

 

 

 

 

   Revenue

$0

$0

$0

$0

   Expenditures

$0

$0

$0

$0

 

 

 

 

 

METHODOLOGY:

This bill reduces the penalty for certain first offense drug possession charges from a class B felony to an unspecified misdemeanor.  This may have an impact on the New Hampshire judicial and correctional systems.  There is no method to determine how many charges would be brought as a result of the changes contained in this bill to determine the fiscal impact on expenditures.  However, the entities impacted have provided the potential costs associated with these penalties below.

Judicial Branch

FY 2020

FY 2021

Class B Misdemeanor

$53

$54

Class A Misdemeanor

$76

$77

Routine Criminal Felony Case

$481

$486

Appeals

Varies

Varies

 

 

 

It should be noted that average case cost estimates for FY 2020 and FY 2021 are based on data that is more than ten years old and does not reflect changes to the courts over that same period of time or the impact these changes may have on processing the various case types.  An unspecified misdemeanor can be either class A or class B, with the presumption being a class B misdemeanor.

Judicial Council

 

 

Public Defender Program

Has contract with State to provide services.

Has contract with State to provide services.

Contract Attorney – Felony

$825/Case

$825/Case

Contract Attorney – Misdemeanor

$300/Case

$300/Case

Assigned Counsel – Felony

$60/Hour up to $4,100

$60/Hour up to $4,100

Assigned Counsel – Misdemeanor

$60/Hour up to $1,400

$60/Hour up to $1,400

It should be noted that a person needs to be found indigent and have the potential of being incarcerated to be eligible for indigent defense services. The majority of indigent cases (approximately 85%) are handled by the public defender program, with the remaining cases going to contract attorneys (14%) or assigned counsel (1%).

Department of Corrections

 

 

FY 2017 Average Cost of Incarcerating an Individual

$40,615

$40,615

FY 2017 Annual Marginal Cost of a General Population Inmate

$4,620

$4,620

FY 2017 Average Cost of Supervising an Individual on Parole/Probation

$571

$571

NH Association of Counties

 

 

County Prosecution Costs

Indeterminable

Indeterminable

Estimated Average Daily Cost of Incarcerating an Individual

$105 to $120

$105 to $120

 

The Department of Corrections indicates, over the past year, there have been between 535 and 600 individuals serving active sentences under RSA 318-B.  The Department assumes there may be a reduction in the population incarcerated under RSA 318-B if the class B felony is  reduced to a misdemeanor, however the amount of reduction is indeterminable.

 

Many offenses are prosecuted by local and county prosecutors.  When the Department of Justice has investigative and prosecutorial responsibility or is involved in an appeal, the Department would likely absorb the cost within its existing budget.  If the Department needs to prosecute significantly more cases or handle more appeals, then costs may increase by an indeterminable amount.  

 

AGENCIES CONTACTED:

Judicial Branch, Judicial Council, and Departments of Justice and Corrections

 

Docket

Date Status
Jan. 2, 2019 Introduced 01/02/2019 and referred to Criminal Justice and Public Safety HJ 2 P. 38
Jan. 16, 2019 Public Hearing: 01/16/2019 11:00 am LOB 204
Jan. 17, 2019 ==CANCELLED== Executive Session: 01/17/2019 11:00 am LOB 204
Jan. 22, 2019 Subcommittee Work Session: 01/22/2019 10:00 am LOB 204
March 13, 2019 Executive Session: 03/13/2019 10:00 am LOB 204
Retained in Committee

Action Dates

Date Body Type
Jan. 16, 2019 House Hearing
Jan. 17, 2019 House Exec Session
March 13, 2019 House Exec Session

Bill Text Revisions

HB134 Revision: 4348 Date: Dec. 26, 2018, 3:39 p.m.