New Hampshire Criminal Laws – What’s New in 2016

Criminal Lawyers in New HampshireIt is every private citizen’s concern to be protected against heinous crimes of any sort. Local governments also have the primary responsibility of maintaining peace and order, and preventing crime in their areas of jurisdiction.
Even in very peaceful and rural states like New Hampshire, one never knows when a crime can happen.  As with other states, New Hampshire is on its feet when it comes to crime prevention.  Some of the state’s laws are considered stricter compared to other states.

Here are some New Hampshire criminal laws updated as of the year 2016. Some are enhancements of laws that have been in place decades ago.  You may even find some of them unusual and even amusing.

Marijuana Use

It may just be a little weed in your pocket, but watch out!   Compared to some states like Colorado and Alaska, New Hampshire takes a tougher stance on marijuana or cannabis use in the state.  As of mid-2015, the state has recognized marijuana use for medicinal purposes but still prohibits street possession in any amount and considers it a Class A misdemeanor which leads to jail terms of at least one year and up to $2,000 in fines. Sales or trafficking of even just one ounce can get you behind bars for up to 3 years or fines as high as $25,000.  Fines are doubled for possession and use within 1,000 feet of a school zone.  You must have a written doctor’s recommendation to show that you use marijuana for medical purposes.

Driving under Influence (DWI / DUI)

This is a dire threat to fellow drivers and pedestrians, and often causes fatalities and heavy property damage.  Driving under influence of alcohol or other substances is an absolute no-no in New Hampshire.  Guilty drivers may also face felony charges if their drunk driving had caused death or serious injury to the other party.  A recent change has to do with license restriction after the DUI occurrence.  As of 2016, DUI-charged drivers who are first-time offenders may, under certain circumstances, be allowed to drive on a limited basis, especially if they needed to do so for livelihood or medical service to a family member (ex. driving a disabled family member to a hospital facility).

Vehicle assault statute

This crime involves the intentional or negligent use of a vehicle (car, vessel, bike, etc.) in order to cause injury or death to another person.  It is considered a Class A misdemeanor.  A bill approved last year removes the jury’s function of having to weigh evidence before convicting the defendant and automatically shifts the burden of proof to him or her.  There is also no need to have to name a traffic violation just to convict the defendant.

Indecent exposure or lewdness

Anyone who exposes genitals or performs lewd acts in front of a minor (under age 16) will be charged a Class B felony which involves a stiff $2,000 fine and jail terms of up to seven years.

Sexual assault

This is of course punishable by law.  Here’s an interesting addition.  Those guilty of sexual assault while undergoing an outdoor sport like hunting or fishing will not only be charged for the crime, but will also have their hunting or fishing licenses revoked. License suspension varies from five years to life.
Drone used for surveillance

The recent drone craze has sparked controversies about its legality in surveillance activities.  In New Hampshire, no one can use a drone to conduct video or photo surveillance of people who are engaged in lawful hunting or fishing without obtaining written consent from those people.  For the purpose of monitoring illegal activities, the surveilling party must obtain a warrant.

By Shepherd and Osborne


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