Revision: Jan. 7, 2019, 3:49 p.m.
HB 399-FN - AS INTRODUCED
HOUSE BILL 399-FN
SPONSORS: Rep. Cushing, Rock. 21; Rep. Welch, Rock. 13; Rep. Read, Rock. 17; Rep. Frost, Straf. 16; Rep. Josephson, Graf. 11; Rep. DiLorenzo, Rock. 17; Rep. Gagne, Hills. 13
COMMITTEE: Criminal Justice and Public Safety
This bill establishes a procedure for annulment of arrests or convictions for possession of 3/4 of an ounce or less of marijuana where the offense occurred before September 16, 2017.
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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Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.
STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE
In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Nineteen
Be it Enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court convened:
651:5-b Annulment of Arrests and Convictions for Marijuana Possession.
I. Any person who was arrested or convicted for knowingly or purposely obtaining, purchasing, transporting, or possessing, actually or constructively, or having under his or her control, 3/4 of an ounce of marijuana or less where the offense occurred before September 16, 2017 may, at any time, petition the court in which the person was convicted or arrested to annul the arrest record, court record, or both. The petition shall state that the amount of marijuana was 3/4 of an ounce or less. The petitioner shall furnish a copy of the petition to the office of the prosecutor of the underlying offense. The prosecutor may object within 10 days of receiving a copy of the petition and request a hearing. If the prosecutor does not object within 10 days, the court shall grant the petition for annulment. If the prosecutor timely objects, the court shall hold a hearing. In a hearing on the petition for annulment, the prosecutor shall be required to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the petitioner knowingly or purposely obtained, purchased, transported, or possessed, actually or constructively, or had under his or her control, marijuana in an amount exceeding 3/4 of an ounce. At the close of the hearing, the court shall grant the petition unless the prosecutor has proven that the amount of marijuana exceeded 3/4 of an ounce. If the petition is granted, and an order of annulment is entered, the provisions of RSA 651:5, X-XI shall apply to the petitioner.
II. The department of safety shall charge the successful petitioner a fee of $100 for researching and correcting the criminal history record accordingly, unless the petitioner demonstrates that he or she is indigent, or has been found not guilty, or the case has been dismissed or not prosecuted in accordance with RSA 651:5, II. The court shall provide a copy of the petition to the prosecutor of the underlying offense and permit the prosecutor to be heard regarding the interest of justice in regard to the petition.
HB 399-FN- FISCAL NOTE
FISCAL IMPACT: [ X ] State [ ] County [ ] Local [ ] None
Estimated Increase / (Decrease)
[ X ] General [ ] Education [ ] Highway [ X ] Other - Criminal Record Fees
This bill establishes a procedure for annulment of arrests or convictions for possession of 3/4 of an ounce or less of marijuana where the offense occurred before September 16, 2017. The potential impact to the Judicial Branch is an increase in the number of annulment petitions, especially in the time immediately following the effective date of January 1, 2020. The Branch does not have information on how many additional petitions for annulment of a criminal record would be filed as a result of this bill. The Branch does have information on the estimated cost of processing such petitions. Petitions for annulment of a criminal record can be brought in the superior court or the district division of the circuit court, depending on where the case was filed. For the purpose of cost estimates, these petitions would be classified as a simple criminal case in the superior court and would have cost similar to a class A misdemeanor in the district division of the circuit court. The estimated average costs for these case types are as follows:
District Division of the Circuit Court
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.
The Department of Safety also assumes there would be an increase in the number of annulment petitions. The Department is not able to estimate the number of additional petitions. For each petition, the Department would expend resources to research the case to ensure the petitioner qualifies, and possibly file objections and prepare for and attend hearings. In addition, staff would process the annulment requests, search and remove the New Hampshire Criminal History Record Information (CHRI record), and contact the FBI for removal of the offense stored in their CHRI database. The Department charges a $100 fee for annulment petitions therefore, revenue would increase by an indeterminable amount.
Judicial Branch and Department of Safety