HB1625 (2020) Detail

Reducing the penalty for certain first offense drug possession charges.


HB 1625-FN - AS INTRODUCED

 

 

2020 SESSION

20-2721

04/01

 

HOUSE BILL 1625-FN

 

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

 

SPONSORS: Rep. Bordenet, Ches. 5; Rep. Welch, Rock. 13; Rep. Rodd, Merr. 6

 

COMMITTEE: Criminal Justice and Public Safety

 

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ANALYSIS

 

This bill reduces the penalty for certain drug offenses.

 

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Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.

20-2721

04/01

 

STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE

 

In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Twenty

 

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  RSA 318-B:26, II(a) is repealed and reenacted to read as follows: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 class B felony or as a misdemeanor at the discretion of the sentencing court.  

2  Penalties for Certain Drug Offenses; Intent to Sell Near a School; Drug Enterprise Leader.  Amend RSA 318-B:26, V and VI to read as follows:

V.  Any person who violates this chapter by manufacturing, selling, prescribing, administering, dispensing, or possessing with intent to sell, dispense, or compound any controlled drug or its analog, in or on or within 1,000 feet of the real property comprising a public or private elementary, secondary, or secondary vocational-technical school, may be sentenced to a term of imprisonment or fine, or both, up to twice that otherwise authorized by this section.  [Except to the extent a greater minimum sentence is otherwise provided by this chapter, a sentence imposed under this paragraph shall include a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of not less than one year.  Neither the whole nor any part of the mandatory minimum sentence imposed under this paragraph shall be suspended or reduced.]

VI.  Except as otherwise provided in this paragraph, a person convicted under RSA 318-B:2, XII as a drug enterprise leader [shall] may be sentenced to [a mandatory minimum term of not less than 25 years and may be sentenced to] an extended term of imprisonment which may include a maximum term of not more than life imprisonment.  The court may also impose a fine not to exceed $500,000 or 5 times the street value of the controlled drug or controlled drug analog involved, whichever is greater.  [Upon conviction, the court shall impose the mandatory sentence unless the defendant has pleaded guilty pursuant to a negotiated agreement or, in cases resulting in trial, the defendant and the state have entered into a post-conviction agreement which provides for a lesser sentence.  The negotiated plea or post-conviction agreement may provide for a specified term of imprisonment within the range of ordinary or extended sentences authorized by law, a specified fine, or other disposition.  In that event, the court at sentencing shall not impose a lesser term of imprisonment or fine than that expressly provided for under the terms of the plea or post-conviction agreement.]

3  Repeal.  RSA 318-B:26, II(b), relative to maximum sentences for certain drug violations, is repealed.

4  Effective Date.  This act shall take effect January 1, 2021.

 

LBAO

20-2721

12/6/19

 

HB 1625-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

$0

Indeterminable Decrease

Indeterminable Decrease

Indeterminable Decrease

Funding Source:

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

 

 

 

 

 

COUNTY:

 

 

 

 

   Revenue

$0

$0

$0

$0

   Expenditures

$0

Indeterminable Decrease

Indeterminable Decrease

Indeterminable Decrease

 

 

 

 

 

METHODOLOGY:

This bill reduces the penalty for certain drug offenses.  The bill affects penalties that have an impact on the New Hampshire judicial and correctional systems.  There is no method to determine how many fewer charges would be brought as a result of the changes contained in this bill to determine the fiscal impact on expenditures and fine revenue.  However, the entities impacted have provided the potential costs associated with these penalties below.

 

Judicial Branch

FY 2021

FY 2022

Class B Misdemeanor

$54

$56

Class A Misdemeanor

$77

$79

Simple Criminal Case

$300

$314

Routine Criminal Felony Case

$484

$498

Appeals

Varies

Varies

It should be noted that average case cost estimates for FY 2021 and FY 2022 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 2019 Average Cost of Incarcerating an Individual

$44,400

$44,400

FY 2019 Annual Marginal Cost of a General Population Inmate

$5,071

$5,071

FY 2019 Average Cost of Supervising an Individual on Parole/Probation

$576

$576

NH Association of Counties

 

 

County Prosecution Costs

Indeterminable

Indeterminable

Estimated Average Daily Cost of Incarcerating an Individual

$105 to $120

$105 to $120

 

The Judicial Council states this bill has the potential to reduce indigent defense costs.  Because the indigent defense system does not provide representation to defendants charged with class B misdemeanors, first-time possession charges brought as class B misdemeanors would no longer require legal representation.  In 2018, the Public Defender Program handled approximately 2,877 straight possession cases, but it is not possible to determine how many of these cases would be charged as class B misdemeanors under the proposed law.

 

The Department of Justice indicates the majority of drug-related offenses is handled by county attorneys or municipal prosecutors, but the Department does investigate and prosecute some drug-related offenses.  The Department expects this bill would not affect the investigation or prosecution of those offenses, and to the extent it does, any costs could be handled as part of the existing budget.  Appeals from any convictions wold be handled by the Criminal Justice Bureau and could also be handled within the existing budget.

 

AGENCIES CONTACTED:

Judicial Branch, Departments of Corrections and Justice, Judicial Council, and New Hampshire Association of Counties

 

Links

HB1625 at GenCourtMobile
HB1625 Discussion

Action Dates

Date Body Type
Jan. 21, 2020 House Hearing
Jan. 28, 2020 House Exec Session
House Floor Vote
Feb. 19, 2020 House Floor Vote

Bill Text Revisions

HB1625 Revision: 7255 Date: Dec. 6, 2019, 12:40 p.m.

Docket

Date Status
Jan. 8, 2020 Introduced 01/08/2020 and referred to Criminal Justice and Public Safety HJ 1 P. 29
Jan. 21, 2020 Public Hearing: 01/21/2020 10:15 am LOB 204
Jan. 28, 2020 Executive Session: 01/28/2020 10:00 am LOB 204
Committee Report: Ought to Pass (Vote 14-6; RC)
Feb. 19, 2020 Committee Report: Ought to Pass for 02/19/2020 (Vote 14-6; RC) HC 7 P. 28
Feb. 20, 2020 Ought to Pass: MA VV 02/20/2020
March 11, 2020 Introduced 03/11/2020 and Referred to Judiciary; SJ 7