New Hampshire Domestic Violence
As a criminal offense in New Hampshire, the term “domestic violence” encompasses any act in which a person commits or attempts to commit a violent crime that poses a credible threat to the safety of an intimate partner or a family or household member. This can include assault, sexual assault, reckless conduct, criminal threatening, destruction of property, harassment or unlawful confinement, among other criminal acts. If you have been accused of committing any of these crimes against a spouse or a member of your family or household, even if you have not been formally charged, it is in your best interest to consult an experienced New Hampshire criminal defense attorney. You could end up being charged with a domestic violence offense and face penalties ranging from one year in county jail to seven years in state prison, plus thousands of dollars in fines. Any time you are facing charges for a domestic violence-related crime, your freedom and your future are on the line, so don’t want to hire an experienced lawyer.
New Hampshire Domestic Violence Law
New Hampshire’s domestic violence law can be found under RSA § 631:2-b, which states that a person is guilty of domestic violence if he or she commits any of the following acts against an intimate partner or a family or household member:
- Purposely or knowingly causing bodily injury or unprivileged physical contact against another person by use of physical force;
- Recklessly causing bodily injury to another person by use of physical force;
- Negligently causing bodily injury to another person by means of a deadly weapon;
- Using or attempting to use physical force, or by physical conduct threatening to use a deadly weapon for the purpose of putting another person in fear of imminent bodily injury;
- Threatening to use a deadly weapon against another person for the purpose of terrorizing that person;
- Coercing or forcing another person to submit to sexual contact by using physical force or physical violence;
- Threatening to use physical force, physical violence or a deadly weapon to compel another person to submit to sexual contact;
- Unlawfully confining another person, by means of physical force or the threatened use of a deadly weapon, with the purpose of significantly interfering with the person’s physical movement;
- Knowingly violating a term of a protective order by means of the use or attempted use of physical force or the threatened use of a deadly weapon;
- Using physical force or the threatened use of a deadly weapon against another person to block that person’s access to a phone or electronic communication device with the purpose of preventing, obstructing, or interfering with:
- The report of any criminal offense, bodily injury, or property damage to a law enforcement agency; or
- A request for an ambulance or emergency medical assistance to any law enforcement agency or emergency medical provider.
Family or Household Members & Intimate Partners
As defined under New Hampshire’s domestic violence law, the term “family or household member” refers to an accused person’s spouse or former spouse; any person with whom the accused person is or was previously cohabitating as a spouse, parent or guardian; any adult related the accused person by blood or marriage; or any person who has a child in common with the accused person. An “intimate partner” means any person with whom the accused person is currently or was formerly involved in a romantic relationship.
Domestic Violence Arrests
New Hampshire domestic violence laws provide significant protections for alleged victims of abuse, and any police officer who responds to a domestic violence call in New Hampshire and has probable cause to believe a person has been abused has the authority to make an arrest without a warrant. This is true even if the abuse was not committed in the presence of the police officer and even if the alleged victim is not in immediate danger (RSA § 173-B:10).
Punishment for Domestic Violence Crimes in New Hampshire
In most criminal cases in New Hampshire, domestic violence is classified as a class A misdemeanor, which carries a possible jail sentence of up to one year and a fine of up to $2,000. However, if the offender uses or threatens to use a deadly weapon in the commission of a domestic violence offense, the crime is instead classified as a class B felony, which carries a possible penalty of imprisonment in the state prison for up to seven years and a fine of up to $4,000. According to RSA § 631:2-bV, the court will also levy a fine of $50 for each domestic violence conviction and will not reduce or suspend any sentence or the payment of any fine under the domestic violence law.
New Hampshire Domestic Violence Defense
Navigating the New Hampshire criminal justice system after being charged with domestic violence can be frightening and overwhelming, which is why we always recommend hiring a skilled New Hampshire criminal defense attorney to represent your defense when facing domestic violence charges. A good defense attorney can ensure that you understand the charges against you and help you make decisions in your criminal case that are in your best interest, while protecting your rights. When you hire a knowledgeable New Hampshire criminal defense lawyer, he or she will investigate the circumstances surrounding your arrest and determine the course of action that maximizes your chances of success.
Consult a New Hampshire Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer
New Hampshire law enforcement officials and prosecutors take allegations of domestic violence extremely seriously. These cases tend to be emotionally challenging and legally complex, and if you find yourself facing allegations of abuse where the alleged victim is your current or former spouse or a member of your family or household, you want a competent and assertive domestic violence attorney representing your defense. Things tend to move quickly in domestic violence cases and the consequences of a domestic violence conviction can be severe and long-lasting, so don’t wait to hire an attorney. Contact a skilled New Hampshire criminal defense lawyer right away to discuss your legal rights.