New Hampshire Arrest Records and Warrant Search
What are arrest records?
The Crime Records Unit has the task of assimilating crime history data from the various justice and law enforcement agencies across New Hampshire, storing such details and disseminating Crime History Record Information (CHRI) pertaining to all arrests made in criminal matters and the disposition of such cases. Towards this end, the Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) was established which is used for processing criminal fingerprints received for inclusion in the central crime history repository and to coordinate with the FBI records database.
The details stored in the CHRI database
CHRI is an exclusive source of details on the criminal involvement of a subject for the state of New Hampshire. The data found in this repository is gathered from various law enforcement agencies and judicial offices. The fingerprint images are sent in by various police departments which capture this information at the time of arrests. Details on the issue of NH active warrants is sent in by the magistrates’ bench while data pertaining to outstanding warrants and offender disposition is made available by the office of the clerk and the various circuit and superior courts in the state.
The information held in the CHRI repository is not subject to an expiration date; this means that once the name and information on a criminal act and the perpetrator of the crime finds its way into the repository it will beheld in there till such time that a court orders the removal of the information. However, expungement is allowed only in the rarest of cases and even then the arrest records are only sealed off from the eyes of the public. Law enforcement personnel can still access this information.
The disclosure of arrest records from NH
The CHRI held by the Crime Records Unit is distributed for judicial and law enforcement functions as well to civilian applicants who seek it for non-justice related purposes. When disseminated to the former, the applicants are given information on non conviction as well as conviction cases. On the other hand, civilians and commercial or non-profit establishments applying for information in the noncriminal justice category, such as employers in housing, licensing and healthcare sectors, are only offered access to information on matters that culminated in a conviction.
All criminal history details are considered confidential and as such the information can only be disseminated in keeping with NHRSA 106-B. When disclosed for noncriminal justice purposes, information on criminal cases cannot be released without the written consent of the subject. In fact, unless the inquiry is initiated by the person who is the record owner, for all other investigations, the Crime Unit will need the fingerprints of the subject.
State vs. FBI arrest records
The NH State Police can only offer details on criminal conviction for offenses that were committed in the state. In other words, you will not find information on criminal history from other states, except for Maine and Vermont which form the tri-state AFIS network along with New Hampshire. However, certain statutes require nationwide crime record inquiries. If this is meant to uphold a state law, the FBI can be contacted for an investigation that will bring up results on outstanding warrants and arrest records from all 50 states.
What is an arrest warrant?
Rules of Preliminary Court Proceedings for the State of New Hampshire, (Rule 3), explain the legally required contents of a complaint filed for the procurement of an arrest warrant. A written statement that is signed under oath, this declaration of crime is a charging instrument hence it should offer a clear understanding of the criminal act and the laws that apply to it.
Furthermore, the declaration should state the essential facts of the case such as the evidence, witness testimiony, information available about the suspect and the victim. The court can permit the affiants (state prosecution or local law enforcement) to amend the complaint if no difference will be made by doing so to the offenses charged and if this does not infringe upon the rights of the defendant.
The issue of active warrants in New Hampshire
Subsection b of the rule further states that the issuance of a warrant is only permitted under law if it can be clearly established from the information provided in the affidavit that there is probable cause to assume that a crime was committed and that the act involved the accused as the perpetrator. Arrest warrants from New Hampshire are issued with indefinite validity. This means that unless arrests are made under active warrants, they do not lapse.
Dealing with arrests effected with and without warrants
Once an accused is detained through the use of an outstanding warrant, the original charging complaint, the order for arrest and the return form that documents the detention will be returned forthwith to a competent judicial entity that is authorized to handle the trial of criminal transgressions, like the one that is alleged to have occured. This will be done without any unnecessary delays.
In fact, the accused is supposed to be presented before the magistrate within 48 hours of being taken into custody. If the arrest has been effected without a warrant, a complaint will quickly be filed on the heels of the detention, so that the court may determine if the arrest can be backed with the ascertainment of probable cause. If the person has been detained in a bailable offense in lieu of the bond amount, a Gerstein affidavit will have to be filed without further ado.
Suspects, who have been detained under bailable charges, can file an application before a bail commissioner who may provide for conditional release as provided by the criminal code of NH before the arraignment on the offense. When the crime in question is a misdemeanor or nonpayment of fines, the bail along with any other conditions for release will be stated on the arrest warrant. If the crime is gruesome and one which carries a life sentence, the magistrate can clearly state that release under bond cannot be granted to the detainee.
How to search for an inmate in the New Hampshire Prison System?
The Department of Corrections is responsible for processing offenders as per the sentence received by them. Hence, any information on jail inmates will have to be sought through this agency. Because they offer details on all prisoners currently serving time in the incarceration facilities of the state, this is an easy yet reliable way of conducting an inquiry on arrest records from New Hampshire.
The DOC offers the online facility to look for information on inmates as well as the provision to connect with them through mail or visit their office in person. Victims of felonies can avail the department’s special notification service which will enable them to keep track of an offender’s release and parole dates and his/her status in the correctional system.
For the online search, you will need the first and the last name of the inmate or at least a part of these. In response, you will be provided details on the inmate’s location, current status, charge history and sentencing along with a photograph of the convict. Only prison records that pertain to the medical history, cell assignment and education while incarcerated will not be released to applicants. To use the online tool of the DOC, go to http://business.nh.gov/Inmate_locator/. If you want to contact the agency in person or through mail, you can approach them at the Office of Public Information, P.O. Box 1806Concord, NH 03302.
Who can search for arrest records and warrants in NH?
New Hampshire follows the closed records system under which crime history records are not disclosed to any and all. A person can request his own arrest records and this can be done by using the name based warrant search facility. However, for all other forms of inquiries, including those that are launched by criminal justice agencies, the fingerprints of the subject will be required to start the investigation.
If an employer is looking for arrest records and outstanding warrants in the name of a potential employee, this will be treated as a non justice inquiry and hence a signed and notarized consent form from the subject will be required to access the information. Furthermore, such applicants will only be offered conviction data. To put it simply, they will not be able to find out about the active warrants in the name of the subject or arrests made in cases that are still pending trial.
How to Request Records under the New Hampshire Public Records Act?
As discussed above, in New Hampshire, arrest records and information on outstanding warrants is maintained by the Criminal Records Unit which is a joint undertaking of the Department of Public Safety and the State Police. Along with the Automated Fingerprint Identification System which is a tri-state network encompassing, New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont, the CHRI (Criminal History Records Information) database is used for the maintenance of details on all criminal cases that have occurred in the area. There are 28 livescan stations all across New Hampshire that take capture the fingerprints of arrestees and automatically send them to the AFIS.
To request a background check in your own name, you can simply send personal identifier details to the CRU or visit the agency in person. You will need to complete the criminal records release form and provide some form of photo identification (if visiting the agency office). If you are sending the warrant search request through mail, you will need to get the form notarized. If the investigation pertains to a third party, the consent form will also have to be notarized. A $25 search fee will be applicable for all inquiries.
In addition to this, the fingerprinting fees will have to be paid separately. If FBI records are required along with NH crime history information, it would be best to get the prints taken at a livescan center. For licensing and employment related inquiries, you will be charged $54.25 in fingerprinting fees, while volunteers and non profits will pay less at $35.25. The fee drops for subsequent submissions to $29.25 for the third time. The criminal records authorization form is available athttp://www.nh.gov/safety/divisions/nhsp/ssb/crimrecords/documents/dssp256.pdf. Include your check of $25 with the fingerprint cards and mail this to the Central Repository for Criminal Records, 33 Hazen Dr, Concord, NH 03305. Walk in inquiries will be handled in Room 106 of the Department of Public safety Building at this address. Non profit organizations requesting crime history data will be charged a reduced fee of $10.
How Long Does An Arrest Record or Warrant Stay On File In New Hampshire?
Arrest warrants are not impacted by the Statute of Limitations; this means that their validity need not be restricted to a specific period and as such, these orders stay in effect till the perpetrator of the crime in question is brought to books. Furthermore, arrest records in NH are also maintained perpetually and at least till the death of the offender. Unless, a court orders otherwise, information on all criminal infractions in the name of an individual will be held in the CHRI database.