TITLE LI
COURTS

Chapter 502-A
DISTRICT COURTS

Section 502-A:1

    502-A:1 Judicial Districts. –
A comprehensive system of judicial districts, each with a district court, is hereby organized, constituted and established as follows:

Rockingham County


I. PORTSMOUTH DISTRICT. The Portsmouth district shall consist of the city of Portsmouth and the towns of Newington, Greenland, Rye, and New Castle. The district court for the district shall be located in Portsmouth, holding sessions regularly therein and elsewhere in the district as justice may require. The name of the court shall be Portsmouth District Court.
II. HAMPTON DISTRICT. The Hampton district shall consist of the towns of Hampton, Hampton Falls, North Hampton, South Hampton, and Seabrook. The district division for the district shall be located in Hampton, holding sessions regularly therein and elsewhere in the district as justice may require.
II-a. [Repealed.]
II-b. EXETER DISTRICT. The Exeter district shall consist of the towns of Exeter, Newmarket, Stratham, Newfields, Fremont, East Kingston, Kensington, Epping, and Brentwood. The district division for the district shall be located in Brentwood, holding sessions regularly therein and elsewhere in the district as justice may require.
III. BRENTWOOD DISTRICT. The Brentwood district shall consist of the towns of Exeter, Newmarket, Stratham, Newfields, Fremont, East Kingston, Kensington, Epping, Brentwood, Danville, Kingston, and Newton. The district division for the district shall be located in Brentwood, holding sessions regularly therein and elsewhere in the district as justice may require.
IV. DERRY DISTRICT. The Derry district shall consist of the towns of Derry, Londonderry, Chester, and Sandown. The district court for the district shall be located in Derry, holding sessions regularly therein and elsewhere in the district as justice may require. The name of the court shall be Derry District Court.
V. AUBURN-CANDIA-RAYMOND DISTRICT. The Auburn-Candia-Raymond district shall consist of the towns of Auburn, Candia, Deerfield, Nottingham, Raymond, and Northwood. The court shall be located in Auburn, Candia, or Raymond. The court shall hold sessions regularly at the principal court location and elsewhere in the district as justice may require. The court shall bear the name of the town in which it is located.
VI. SALEM DISTRICT. The Salem district shall consist of the towns of Salem, Windham, Atkinson, Hampstead, and Plaistow in Rockingham county and the town of Pelham in Hillsborough county. The district court for the district shall be located in Salem, holding sessions regularly therein and elsewhere in the district as justice may require. The name of the court shall be Salem District Court.

Strafford County


VII. DOVER-SOMERSWORTH-DURHAM DISTRICT. The Dover-Somersworth-Durham district shall consist of the cities of Dover and Somersworth and the towns of Rollinsford, Durham, Lee, and Madbury. The court shall be located in a city or town within the judicial district in a location and facility designated pursuant to RSA 490-B:3, having regard for the convenience of the communities within the district, provided, however, that the court shall not be located in any building which does not meet the minimum standard prescribed by the New Hampshire court accreditation commission pursuant to RSA 490:5-c. The court shall hold sessions regularly at the principal court location and elsewhere in the district as justice may require.
VIII. ROCHESTER DISTRICT. The Rochester district court shall consist of the city of Rochester and the towns of Barrington, Milton, New Durham, Farmington, Strafford, and Middleton. The district court for the district shall be located in Rochester, holding sessions regularly therein and elsewhere in the district as justice may require. The name of the court shall be Rochester District Court.

Belknap County


IX. LACONIA DISTRICT. The Laconia district shall consist of the city of Laconia and the towns of Meredith, New Hampton, Gilford, Belmont, Alton, Gilmanton, Center Harbor, and Barnstead. The district court for the district shall be located in Laconia, holding sessions regularly therein and elsewhere in the district as justice may require. The name of the court shall be Laconia District Court.
X. CONWAY DISTRICT. The district for northern Carroll county shall consist of the towns of Conway, Bartlett, Jackson, Eaton, Chatham, Hart's Location, Albany, Madison and the unincorporated places of Hale's Location, Cutt's Grant, and Hadley's Purchase. The district court for the district shall be located in Conway, holding sessions regularly therein and elsewhere in the district as justice may require. The name of the court shall be the Conway District Court.
XI. OSSIPEE DISTRICT. The district for southern Carroll county shall consist of the towns of Ossipee, Tamworth, Freedom, Effingham, Wakefield, Wolfeboro, Brookfield, Tuftonboro, Moultonborough, and Sandwich. The court shall be located in Ossipee, holding sessions regularly therein and elsewhere in the district as justice may require. The name of the court shall be the Ossipee District Court.

Merrimack County


XII. CONCORD DISTRICT. The Concord district shall consist of the city of Concord, and the towns of Loudon, Canterbury, Dunbarton, Bow, Hopkinton, Pittsfield, Chichester, and Epsom. The district court for the district shall be located in Concord, holding sessions regularly there and elsewhere in the district as justice may require. The name of the court shall be Concord District Court.
XIII. HOOKSETT DISTRICT. The Hooksett district shall consist of the towns of Allenstown, Pembroke, and Hooksett. The district court for the district shall be located in Hooksett, holding sessions regularly therein and elsewhere in the district as justice may require. The name of the court shall be the Hooksett District Court.
XIV. FRANKLIN DISTRICT. The Franklin district shall consist of the city of Franklin and the towns of Northfield, Danbury, Andover, Boscawen, Salisbury, Hill, and Webster in Merrimack county and the towns of Sanbornton and Tilton in Belknap county. The district court for the district shall be located in Franklin, holding sessions regularly therein and elsewhere in the district as justice may require. The name of the court shall be Franklin District Court.
XV. HENNIKER-HILLSBOROUGH DISTRICT. The Henniker-Hillsborough district shall consist of the towns of Henniker, Warner, Sutton, and Bradford in Merrimack county and the towns of Hillsborough, Deering, Windsor, Antrim, and Bennington in Hillsborough county. The court shall be located in a city or town within the judicial district in a location and facility designated pursuant to RSA 490-B:3, having regard for the convenience of the communities within the district, provided, however, that the court shall not be located in any building which does not meet the minimum standard prescribed by the New Hampshire court accreditation commission pursuant to RSA 490:5-c. The court shall hold sessions regularly at the principal court location and elsewhere in the district as justice may require. The court shall bear the name of the city or town in which it is located.

Hillsborough County


XVI. MANCHESTER DISTRICT. The Manchester district shall consist of the city of Manchester. The district court for the district shall be located in Manchester, holding sessions regularly therein as justice may require. The name of the court shall be Manchester District Court.
XVII. NASHUA DISTRICT. The Nashua district shall consist of the city of Nashua and the towns of Hudson and Hollis. The district court for the district shall be located in Nashua, holding sessions regularly therein and elsewhere in the district as justice may require. The name of the court shall be Nashua District Court.
XVIII. MERRIMACK DISTRICT. The Merrimack district shall consist of the towns of Merrimack, Litchfield, and Bedford. The district court for the district shall be located in Merrimack, holding sessions regularly therein and elsewhere in the district as justice may require. The name of the court shall be the Merrimack District Court.
XIX. MILFORD DISTRICT. The Milford district shall consist of the towns of Milford, Brookline, Amherst, Mason, Wilton, Lyndeborough, and Mont Vernon. The district court for the district shall be located in Milford, holding sessions regularly therein and elsewhere in the district as justice may require. The name of the court shall be Milford District Court.
XX. JAFFREY-PETERBOROUGH DISTRICT. The Jaffrey-Peterborough district shall consist of the towns of Peterborough, Hancock, Greenville, Greenfield, New Ipswich, Temple, and Sharon in Hillsborough county and the towns of Jaffrey, Dublin, Fitzwilliam, and Rindge in Cheshire county. The district court for the district shall be located in Jaffrey or Peterborough, holding sessions regularly therein and elsewhere in the district as justice may require. The name of the court shall be Jaffrey-Peterborough District Court.
XXI. HENNIKER-HILLSBOROUGH DISTRICT. The Henniker-Hillsborough district shall consist of the towns of Henniker, Warner, Sutton, and Bradford in Merrimack county and the towns of Hillsborough, Deering, Windsor, Antrim, and Bennington in Hillsborough county. The court shall be located in a city or town within the judicial district in a location and facility designated pursuant to RSA 490-B:3, having regard for the convenience of the communities within the district, provided, however, that the court shall not be located in any building which does not meet the minimum standard prescribed by the New Hampshire court accreditation commission pursuant to RSA 490:5-c. The court shall hold sessions regularly at the principal court location and elsewhere in the district as justice may require. The court shall bear the name of the city or town in which it is located.
XXII. GOFFSTOWN DISTRICT. The Goffstown district shall consist of the towns of Goffstown, Weare, New Boston, and Francestown. The district court for the district shall be located in Goffstown, holding sessions regularly therein and elsewhere in the district as justice may require. The name of the court shall be Goffstown District Court.

Cheshire County


XXIII. KEENE DISTRICT. The Keene district shall consist of the city of Keene and the towns of Stoddard, Westmoreland, Surry, Gilsum, Sullivan, Nelson, Roxbury, Marlow, Swanzey, Marlborough, Winchester, Richmond, Hinsdale, Harrisville, Walpole, Alstead, Troy, and Chesterfield. The district court for the district shall be located in Keene, holding sessions regularly therein and elsewhere in the district as justice may require. The name of the court shall be Keene District Court.
XXIV. JAFFREY-PETERBOROUGH DISTRICT. The Jaffrey-Peterborough district shall consist of the towns of Jaffrey, Dublin, Fitzwilliam, and Rindge in Cheshire county and the towns of Peterborough, Hancock, Greenville, Greenfield, New Ipswich, Temple, and Sharon in Hillsborough county. The district court for the district shall be located in Jaffrey or Peterborough, holding sessions regularly therein and elsewhere in the district as justice may require. The name of the court shall be Jaffrey-Peterborough District Court.

Sullivan County


XXV. CLAREMONT-NEWPORT DISTRICT. The Claremont-Newport district shall consist of the city of Claremont and the towns of Cornish, Unity, Charlestown, Acworth, Langdon, Plainfield, Newport, Grantham, Croydon, Springfield, Sunapee, Goshen, Lempster, and Washington in Sullivan county and the towns of New London, Newbury, and Wilmot in Merrimack county. The court shall be located in a city or town within the judicial district in a location and facility designated pursuant to RSA 490-B:3, having regard for the convenience of the communities within the district, provided, however, that the court shall not be located in any building which does not meet the minimum standard prescribed by the New Hampshire court accreditation commission pursuant to RSA 490:5-c. The court shall bear the name of the city or town in which it is located.

Grafton County


XXVI. HANOVER-LEBANON DISTRICT. The Hanover-Lebanon district shall consist of the towns of Hanover, Orford, Lyme, Lebanon, Enfield, Canaan, Grafton, Dorchester, and Orange. The court shall be located in a city or town within the judicial district in a location and facility designated pursuant to RSA 490-B:3, having regard for the convenience of the communities within the district, provided, however, that the court shall not be located in any building which does not meet the minimum standard prescribed by the New Hampshire court accreditation commission pursuant to RSA 490:5-c. The court shall bear the name of the city or town in which it is located.
XXVII. HAVERHILL DISTRICT. The Haverhill district shall consist of the towns of Haverhill, Bath, Landaff, Benton, Piermont, and Warren. The district court for the district shall be located in Haverhill, holding sessions regularly therein and elsewhere in the district as justice may require. The name of the court shall be Haverhill District Court.
XXVIII. LITTLETON DISTRICT. The Littleton district shall consist of the towns of Littleton, Monroe, Lyman, Lisbon, Franconia, Bethlehem, Sugar Hill, and Easton. The district court for the district shall be located in Littleton, holding sessions regularly therein and elsewhere in the district as justice may require. The name of the court shall be Littleton District Court.
XXIX. PLYMOUTH-LINCOLN DISTRICT. The Plymouth-Lincoln district shall consist of the towns of Plymouth, Bristol, Groton, Wentworth, Rumney, Ellsworth, Thornton, Campton, Ashland, Hebron, Holderness, Bridgewater, Alexandria, Lincoln, Woodstock, Waterville Valley, and the unincorporated place of Livermore. The district court for the district shall be located in Plymouth, holding sessions regularly therein and elsewhere in the district as justice may require. The name of the court shall be Plymouth District Court.

Coos County


XXX. BERLIN-GORHAM DISTRICT. The Berlin-Gorham district shall consist of the city of Berlin and the towns of Gorham, Milan, Dummer, Shelburne, and Randolph and the unincorporated places of Cambridge, Success, Bean's Purchase, Martin's Location, Green's Grant, Pinkham's Grant, Sargent's Purchase, Thompson and Meserve's Purchase and Low and Burbank's Grant. The court shall be located in a city or town within the judicial district in a location and facility designated pursuant to RSA 490-B:3, having regard for the convenience of the communities within the district, provided, however, that the court shall not be located in any building which does not meet the minimum standard prescribed by the New Hampshire court accreditation commission pursuant to RSA 490:5-c. The court shall bear the name of the city or town in which it is located.
XXXI. COLEBROOK DISTRICT. The Colebrook district shall consist of the towns of Colebrook, Pittsburg, Clarksville, Wentworth's Location, Errol, Millsfield, Columbia, Stewartstown, and Stratford and the unincorporated places of Dix's Grant, Atkinson and Gilmanton Academy Grant, Second College Grant, Dixville, Erving's Location, and Odell. The district court for the district shall be located in Colebrook, holding sessions regularly therein and elsewhere in the district as justice may require. The name of the court shall be Colebrook District Court.
XXXII. LANCASTER DISTRICT. The Lancaster district shall consist of the towns of Lancaster, Stark, Northumberland, Carroll, Whitefield, Dalton and Jefferson, and the unincorporated places of Kilkenny, Bean's Grant, Chandler's Purchase, and Crawford's Purchase. The district court for the district shall be located in Lancaster, holding sessions regularly therein and elsewhere in the district as justice may require. The name of the court shall be Lancaster District Court.

Source. 1963, 331:1. 1965, 327:8. 1969, 110:1-3; 167:1, 2. 1971, 544:1-3; 558:1, 2. 1981, 578:1, 2. 1983, 82:1, 2. 1985, 271:1, 2. 1987, 244:1, 2. 1992, 253:1. 1994, 44:1, 2. 1995, 14:1, 2; 17:1, 2; 204:1-3. 1996, 22:1. 2001, 227:1. 2004, 14:1, 2; 176:2-5; 236:1-4, 6-9. 2005, 179:1, 2, 4, 5. 2009, 144:57, eff. July 1, 2009; 165:4, eff. July 8, 2009. 2010, 193:4, eff. June 21, 2010. 2015, 106:1, 2, eff. June 5, 2015. 2018, 213:1, 2, eff. July 1, 2018. 2019, 235:1, eff. July 12, 2019. 2020, 29:9, eff. Sept. 21, 2020.

Section 502-A:1-a

    502-A:1-a Repealed by 2011, 88:29(7), eff. July 1, 2011. –

Section 502-A:2

    502-A:2 Sessions in Towns Within District. –
I. The purpose of the establishment of this system of district courts is to provide the minimum number of courts which will adequately serve the convenience of the public, both transient and permanent residents of this state. To accomplish this purpose, districts must serve certain towns within their district having regard for the parties, the seasonal influx of population in certain areas, and such other considerations as the expeditious and effective administration of justice may require. In addition to the regular sessions which are required to be held in various districts under the provisions of this chapter, or in replacement of a portion of regular sessions, the justice or special justice of each district shall hold special sessions as may best serve the convenience of the communities within their district, provided, however, that no such special session shall be held in any building which does not meet the minimum standards prescribed by the New Hampshire court accreditation commission pursuant to RSA 490:5-c.
II. The administrative judge of the circuit court established in RSA 490-F shall have the authority to and shall, on an annual basis, establish the number of court sessions and the hours and days of operation required for each district court. The administrative judge shall consider the convenience of each court's users, caseload, resources, and security. Each court shall submit a plan for flexible scheduling to the administrative judge that meets the needs of the community served by that court which may include evening, early morning, and/or weekend sessions and other alternative sessions. In evaluating the community need for alternative sessions, the administrative judge and local courts shall evaluate separately civil suits, small claims, order of notice, motor vehicle matters, and criminal cases to determine the needs of the community.
III. Any plan developed and instituted under paragraphs I and II shall not necessitate additional local expenditures by any political subdivision in accordance with part I, article 28-a of the New Hampshire constitution.

Source. 1963, 331:1. 1971, 529:1; 584:2. 1975, 248:1. 1981, 578:3. 1985, 315:1; 404:6. 1987, 46:1. 1991, 288:3. 1992, 129:1. 1999, 124:1, eff. Jan. 1, 2000. 2011, 88:3, eff. July 1, 2011.

Section 502-A:2-a

    502-A:2-a Repealed by 1983, 383:78, III, eff. Jan. 1, 1984. –

Section 502-A:3

    502-A:3 Repealed by 2011, 88:29(8), eff. July 1, 2011. –

Section 502-A:3-a

    502-A:3-a Repealed by 2011, 88:29(9), eff. July 1, 2011. –

Section 502-A:3-b

    502-A:3-b Repealed by 2011, 88:29(10), eff. July 1, 2011. –

Section 502-A:3-c

    502-A:3-c Repealed by 2011, 88:29(11), eff. July 1, 2011. –

Section 502-A:4

    502-A:4 Powers of Special Justices. – In the absence, inability or disqualification of the justice of a district court, the special justice shall perform the duties and exercise the powers of the justice.

Source. 1963, 331:1, eff. July 1, 1964.

Section 502-A:5

    502-A:5 Repealed by 2011, 88:29(12), eff. July 1, 2011. –

Section 502-A:5-a

    502-A:5-a Repealed by 2011, 88:29(13), eff. July 1, 2011. –

Section 502-A:6

    502-A:6 Salaries of Justices, Special Justices, Clerks. –
The annual salaries of justices, special justices and clerks of the district courts shall be paid by the state as follows:
I. The state shall pay the justices of the district courts either (a) salaries based upon weighted caseload as provided in RSA 491-A:3; or (b) their annual salaries prior to the enactment of RSA 491-A:3; whichever is greater.
I-a. [Repealed.]
II. The annual salaries of the special justices of the district courts appointed prior to July 1, 1987, shall be an amount equal to 30 percent of the salary paid to the justices, as provided in paragraph I, or the current annual salary of the special justice for 1987, whichever is greater. Provided further that the special justice may receive, and all special justices appointed after July 1, 1987, shall receive, per diem compensation determined by the supreme court upon recommendation by the judicial branch administrative council, plus reasonable expenses as determined by the supreme court. In those cases where prior to July 1, 1987, the special justice was paid on a per diem basis, such per diem payment shall continue unless changed by the supreme court. In the event of the death, resignation, or retirement of the justice and when no appointment is made to fill the vacancy caused thereby for a period of 60 days, the special justice shall then be paid the salary of the justice until his vacancy is filled. If the justice is absent due to illness or disqualification for any other reason for a period of more than 60 days, the special justice shall be entitled to the salary of the justice until the justice is able to assume his duties. Whenever a justice or special justice sits in another court by request, he or she shall be paid the same per diem compensation as is generally allowed to per diem special justices sitting in their own courts, plus reasonable expenses.
III. [Repealed.]
IV. [Repealed.]
V. [Repealed.]

Source. 1963, 331:1. 1965, 138:1; 294:1. 1967, 193:1; 438:1. 1969, 124:3-5. 1970, 14:1, 2. 1971, 123:2, 4; 288:1. 1973, 286:1, 3; 413:1; 535:2. 1975, 135:1, 2. 1976, 12:1. 1977, 521:1. 1979, 287:2; 299:14, 16-18; 365:1; 430:2. 1981, 568:136, III. 1983, 383:30-34, 78, IV; 437:1. 1987, 272:2, 3. 1992, 284:33, eff. Jan. 1, 1993. 2011, 88:29(14), 29(15), eff. July 1, 2011. 2019, 89:1, eff. July 1, 2019.

Section 502-A:6-a

    502-A:6-a Repealed by 2003, 311:10, IV, eff. July 1, 2003. –

Section 502-A:6-b

    502-A:6-b Retired Justices of District Court. – Each justice of the district court retired therefrom by age limitation who has served on such court shall upon retirement become a referee. Such referees shall be empowered and may be assigned to act as such in the district courts, and their powers and the procedures for hearings before them shall be determined by statute or rule of court. Such referees shall be allowed their expenses and a per diem compensation determined by the supreme court upon recommendation by the judicial branch administrative council, established pursuant to supreme court rule.

Source. 1992, 284:34, eff. Jan. 1, 1993.

Section 502-A:6-c

    502-A:6-c District Court Justices' Expenses. – The justices shall be entitled to receive their actual personal expenses when absent from their assigned court in the performance of their official duties. The justices shall not be reimbursed for mileage to commute from the justice's residence to their assigned court except for any mileage in excess of 50 miles each way.

Source. 2004, 91:3. 2009, 60:4, eff. Aug. 2, 2009.

Clerks

Section 502-A:7

    502-A:7 Repealed by 2011, 88:29(16), eff. July 1, 2011. –

Section 502-A:7-a

    502-A:7-a Repealed by 2011, 88:29(17), eff. July 1, 2011. –

Section 502-A:7-b

    502-A:7-b Repealed by 2011, 88:29(18), eff. July 1, 2011. –

Section 502-A:8

    502-A:8 Duties of Clerks; Disposition of Fines. –
I. The clerk of the applicable circuit court established in RSA 490-F shall receive all fines and forfeitures paid into the district court from any source. The clerk of any circuit court may accept payment of the fine by credit card in lieu of cash payment. Any transaction costs assessed by the issuer of the credit card shall be paid out of the portion of the fine amount which is deposited with the treasurer and not out of the penalty assessment charged by a district court. The clerk shall forward fines collected for violations of title XXI to the treasurer for deposit in the highway fund and fines collected for violations of title LXII and all other statutes to the treasurer for deposit in the general fund within 14 days. The clerk shall separately indicate which fines were for violations of title XXI. Fines and forfeitures collected by the clerk for violations of municipal ordinances, codes, or regulations, except those adopted pursuant to RSA 31:39, I(g); RSA 41:11; RSA 47:17, IV, VI, VII, or VIII; and RSA 105:6 and RSA 105:7, shall be remitted monthly to the treasurer of the municipality prosecuting said violations, for the use of the municipality. All expenses related to the processing of parking violations and the administrative collection of parking fines shall be the responsibility of the local unit of government, and all fines collected shall be retained in their entirety by the local unit of government.
II. Nothing in this section shall prevent the court from transferring the collection of fines to a centralized location. Any fines collected by the central location shall be distributed as indicated in paragraph I. References to duties and responsibilities of clerks contained in paragraph I shall be deemed to include the central fine collection center as appropriate.

Source. 1963, 331:1. 1967, 324:2. 1973, 108:2. 1981, 146:5, XXI. 1983, 383:36. 1985, 399:3, I. 1989, 410:2. 1991, 201:1. 1994, 273:2. 2009, 144:202, eff. July 1, 2009. 2011, 88:4, eff. July 1, 2011.

Section 502-A:8-a

    502-A:8-a Repealed by 2011, 88:29(19), eff. July 1, 2011. –

Section 502-A:8-b

    502-A:8-b Repealed by 2011, 88:29(20), eff. July 1, 2011. –

Section 502-A:9

    502-A:9 Repealed by 1983, 383:78, V, eff. Jan. 1, 1984. –

Section 502-A:9-a

    502-A:9-a Repealed by 1983, 383:79, VII, eff. July 1, 1984. –

Section 502-A:10

    502-A:10 Repealed by 1983, 383:78, VI, eff. Jan. 1, 1984. –

Jurisdiction

Section 502-A:11

    502-A:11 Criminal Cases; District Courts. – Each district court shall have the powers of a justice of the peace and quorum throughout the state and shall have original jurisdiction, subject to appeal, of all crimes and offenses committed within the confines of the district in which such court is located which are punishable by a fine not exceeding $2,000 or imprisonment not exceeding one year, or both, including all violations of the provisions of RSA 266:16 and RSA 266:25 pertaining to vehicles exceeding permitted size or weight, regardless of whether the defendant is a natural person or any other person.

Source. 1963, 331:1. 1977, 281:1. 1981, 146:5, XXII. 1992, 284:35, eff. Jan. 1, 1993. 2011, 88:5, eff. July 1, 2011.

Section 502-A:11-a

    502-A:11-a Local Regulation Enforcement. –
I. The district court shall have concurrent jurisdiction, subject to appeal, of the prosecution of any violation of a local ordinance, code, or regulation properly adopted pursuant to enabling statutes to the extent that such violation, by statute or by local ordinance, code, or regulation:
(a) Is characterized as a misdemeanor or violation within the meaning of the criminal code, in which case penalties shall be consistent with RSA 651.
(b) Is punishable by a civil penalty, in which case the penalty imposed shall in no event exceed the limits of the district court's civil damages concurrent jurisdiction as set forth in RSA 502-A:14, II.
(c) Is enforceable by local authorities through the issuance of a cease and desist order, and district court judgment upon such order, pursuant to RSA 676:17-a.
II. This section shall not be construed to diminish the jurisdiction of the superior court to hear and decide matters in which municipalities seek to enforce local ordinances, codes, or regulations through equitable or other relief.
III. The jurisdiction conferred by this section shall include the procedure for local land use citations and pleas by mail, as provided by RSA 676:17-b, for any offense encompassed by RSA 676:17, and within the limits of paragraph I of this section.

Source. 1988, 19:1. 1991, 328:2, eff. June 28, 1991; 374:1, eff. Jan. 1, 1992.

Section 502-A:12

    502-A:12 Appeals From Sentence. –
I. A person sentenced by a district court for a class A misdemeanor after trial or after proceedings pursuant to District Court Rule 2.14 may appeal therefrom to the superior court for a jury trial as provided in RSA 599, except in cases in district courts served by regional jury trial courts as provided in RSA 502-A:12-a.
II. A person sentenced by a district court for a class A misdemeanor may, if no appeal for a jury trial in superior court is taken, appeal therefrom to the supreme court at the time the sentence is declared or within 30 days after the sentence is declared. The supreme court's review shall be limited to questions of law.

Source. 1963, 331:1. 1983, 382:5. 1993, 190:16. 1995, 277:16. 2006, 64:1, eff. Jan. 1, 2007.

Section 502-A:12-a

    502-A:12-a Repealed by 2011, 88:29(21), eff. July 1, 2011. –

Section 502-A:13

    502-A:13 Repealed by 2015, 249:16, I, eff. Oct. 1, 2017. –

Section 502-A:14

    502-A:14 Civil Causes. –
I. Exclusive Jurisdiction. All district courts shall have original and exclusive jurisdiction of civil cases in which the damages claimed do not exceed $1,500, the title to real estate is not involved and the plaintiff or defendant resides within the district. In all such actions as herein provided the parties shall be heard by the justice or special justice and the findings of fact shall be final, but questions of law may be transferred to the supreme court in the same manner as from the superior court or as provided in RSA 502-A:17-a.
II. Concurrent Jurisdiction. All district courts shall have concurrent jurisdiction with the superior court of civil actions for damages in which the damages claimed do not exceed $25,000, the title to real estate is not involved and the plaintiff or defendant resides within the district where such court is located. In all such actions, unless trial by jury is claimed as provided in RSA 502-A:15, the parties shall be heard by the justice, associate justice or special justice, who shall make findings of fact which shall be final. Questions of law may be transferred to the supreme court in the same manner as from the superior court.
II-a. Expanded Concurrent Jurisdiction. The supreme court shall have the authority to increase the concurrent jurisdiction as provided in paragraph II of those district courts it selects, after consultation with the individual district courts, to hear civil actions in which the damages claimed do not exceed $50,000, the title to real estate is not involved, and the plaintiff or defendant resides within the district where such court is located. In all such actions, unless trial by jury is claimed as provided in RSA 502-A:15, the parties shall be heard by the justice, associate justice or special justice; who shall make findings of fact which shall be final. Questions of law may be transferred to the supreme court in the same manner as from the superior court.
III. Transfers To Superior Court. If the defendant upon entry of any action under this section within 5 days of the entry thereof or such additional time as the district court may for good cause allow file in the district court a brief statement setting forth that:
(a) There is pending in the superior court a cause arising out of the same transaction or situation on which the district court action is based, or
(b) That the defendant has a claim arising out of the same transaction or situation in which his claim for damages exceeds $1,500, and
(c) Accompanies his brief statement with an affidavit under oath supporting the same, then no further proceeding shall be had in the district court, but the cause shall be at once transferred to the superior court for the county in which the district is located to be heard and tried as if originally entered in the superior court, the original entry fee and cost of transferring the action to be paid by the plaintiff but recoverable as costs if the plaintiff shall prevail. If no petition to remove is filed, the cause shall be heard by the justice or special justice in the district court and the findings of fact shall be final, but questions of law may be transferred to the supreme court in the same manner as from the superior court.

Source. 1963, 331:1. 1965, 327:1, 2. 1967, 438:2. 1969, 234:3, 4. 1972, 13:1. 1973, 261:1. 1979, 273:1. 1983, 382:1, 2. 1991, 47:2, 3. 1992, 284:37, eff. Jan. 1, 1993.

Section 502-A:15

    502-A:15 Jury Trial. – In cases in which the damages claimed exceed $1,500 or the title to real estate is involved, if the defendant, upon the entry of any action for damages under RSA 502-A:14, II or II-a, within 7 days of the return date of the action or within such additional time as the district court for good cause may allow, files a written request for trial by jury, the cause shall be at once transferred to the superior court for the county or judicial region in which the court is located, to be heard and tried as if originally entered in the transferee court. The original entry fee and cost of transferring the action shall be paid by the moving party but shall be recoverable as costs if the moving party prevails in the action. If, after transfer for trial by jury, the moving party waives the right to jury trial, the cause shall at once be remanded to the district court of original jurisdiction.

Source. 1963, 331:1. 1983, 382:3. 1991, 47:4. 1992, 284:38, eff. Jan. 1, 1993. 2011, 88:6, eff. July 1, 2011.

Section 502-A:16

    502-A:16 Venue in Civil Causes. – Actions shall be returnable to the district court of the judicial district where either plaintiff or defendant resides; except that actions arising under RSA 540, relative to actions against tenants, may also be returnable in the judicial district in which the real property in question is located. For the purposes of this section, a partnership or a corporation shall be deemed to reside in any judicial district in which it maintains an office or place of business.

Source. 1963, 331:1. 1987, 302:1. 1991, 203:1, eff. July 27, 1991.

Section 502-A:16-a

    502-A:16-a Change of Venue in Possessory Actions Regarding Residential Property. –
Venue in possessory actions concerning residential property brought pursuant to RSA 540 which are initiated in a judicial district other than that in which the defendant resides may be transferred as follows:
I. In cases based on grounds other than nonpayment of rent, venue shall be transferred to the judicial district in which the defendant resides at the request of the defendant.
II. In cases based on nonpayment of rent, venue may be transferred to the judicial district in which defendant resides when the court, in its discretion, determines that justice so requires.

Source. 1998, 25:7, eff. Jan. 1, 1999.

Section 502-A:17

    502-A:17 Attachments and Executions. – Attachments and levies of execution on personal property and real estate may be made in civil causes in said district courts as provided in RSA 511, 528 and 529.

Source. 1963, 331:1, eff. July 1, 1964.

Section 502-A:17-a

    502-A:17-a Transfers to Supreme Court. – In any criminal case or civil cause in any district court, questions of law may be transferred to the supreme court in the same manner as that from the superior court under RSA 491:17; provided that the district court justice hearing the case to be transferred shall, if either party requests it, file as a part of the transferred case his findings, in writing, stating the facts found and his rulings of law.

Source. 1967, 40:1. 1971, 507:3, eff. Sept. 4, 1971.

Administrative Committee

Section 502-A:18

    502-A:18 Repealed by 2006, 267:3, II, eff. June 9, 2006. –

Section 502-A:18-a

    502-A:18-a Repealed by 2006, 267:3, III, eff. June 9, 2006. –

Section 502-A:19

    502-A:19 Repealed by 1965, 137:3, eff. Aug. 10, 1965. –

Section 502-A:19-a

    502-A:19-a Repealed by 2006, 267:3, IV, eff. June 9, 2006. –

Section 502-A:19-b

    502-A:19-b Pleas by Mail; Procedure. –
In any case in which a defendant may, pursuant to RSA 149-M:17, II, RSA 206:34, RSA 262:44, RSA 270:11-a, or RSA 227-G:5-a, enter a plea by mail in a district or municipal court, the following procedure shall be followed:
I. Such defendant shall receive, in addition to his or her summons, a uniform fine schedule which shall contain:
(a) The usual fines for violations of the provisions of RSA 270, 270-A, and 270-E, excluding any offense which is a misdemeanor or felony;
(b) The usual fines for violations of the provisions of title XVIII on fish and game laws, excluding any offense which is a misdemeanor or felony;
(c) The usual fines for violations of title XXI on motor vehicle laws, excluding any offense which is a misdemeanor or felony or is excluded under RSA 262:44; or
(d) The usual fines for violations of the provisions of title XIX-A on forestry laws, excluding any offense which is a misdemeanor or felony.
I-a. The defendant shall be given a notice of fine indicating the amount of the fine plus penalty assessment at the time the summons is issued; except, if, for cause, the summoning authority wishes the defendant to appear personally. Defendants summoned to appear personally must do so on the arraignment date specified in the summons, unless otherwise ordered by the court. Defendants who are issued a summons and notice of fine and who wish to plead guilty or nolo contendere shall enter their plea on the summons and return it with payment of the fine plus penalty assessment to the division of motor vehicles within 30 days of the date of summons. Defendants in violation of the provisions of title XVIII shall be subject to the provisions of RSA 207:18 and RSA 214:19.
II. (a) Whenever a defendant does not enter a plea by mail prior to the arraignment day or does not appear personally or by counsel on or before that date or move for a continuance, the defendant shall be defaulted and the court shall determine what the fine would be upon a plea of guilty or nolo contendere and shall impose an administrative processing fee in addition to the fine and penalty assessment, and in the case of violations of title XXI, the defendant's driving privileges shall be suspended as provided in RSA 263:56-a. The provisions of RSA 207:18 and RSA 214:19, as applicable, shall apply to a defendant in violation of the provisions of title XVIII.
(b) Whenever a defendant otherwise fails to appear for a scheduled court appearance in connection with a summons for any violation level offense set forth in titles XIX-A, XVIII, XXI or XXII, the court shall proceed to hear the state's evidence, by offer of proof or otherwise, and enter a finding in accordance therewith. In the event a finding of guilty is made, the court shall set the fine, and the clerk shall forthwith mail or deliver to the defendant at the defendant's last known mailing address a notice of finding and imposition of fine form approved by the administrative judge of the district court, appointed pursuant to supreme court rule. Payment of the fine in full shall be required no later than 30 days from the date of said notice. Upon the failure of any defendant to remit said payment, the procedure required by subparagraph II(a) shall be followed by the court. No finding made by the court under this section shall be set aside except for good cause shown.
(c) In defaulted cases of violations of title XXI or title XVIII, the court shall notify the director of the division of motor vehicles of the defendant's default of a title XXI violation, or the executive director of the department of fish and game of the defendant's default of a title XVIII violation, and the amounts of the fine and other penalties on a form prescribed by the director of the division of motor vehicles or the executive director of the department of fish and game, as appropriate. The amount of the administrative processing fee shall be determined by the New Hampshire supreme court in accordance with the provisions of paragraph V of this section.
III. (a) The commissioner of safety may notify, by electronic means, the administrative judge or the administrative judge's designee of all defendants who have failed to comply under RSA 502-A:19-b, II(a). The commissioner shall certify that the defendants are in default, have been notified, and have failed to respond. The court may, in its discretion, find the defendant administratively guilty. No such finding shall be vacated, except for good cause shown. If the court finds the defendant administratively guilty, the court shall issue an electronic civil bench warrant within 30 days. In addition, the court may issue an electronic warrant for the arrest of any defendant who:
(1) Is defaulted in accordance with the provisions of RSA 502-A:19-b, II;
(2) Fails to pay a fine or other penalty imposed or issues a bad check in payment of a fine or other penalty; or
(3) Fails to comply with a similar order of the director or a court on any matter within the director's or court's jurisdiction.
(b) For purposes of this section, civil bench warrants may be issued by the court in the jurisdiction in which the underlying offense occurred or by the administrative judge or any district court justice designated by the administrative judge, in accordance with procedures set forth by the administrative judge. Bench warrants may be transmitted electronically.
(c) A person arrested pursuant to this section shall be given the option to pay the outstanding fine and fees in full to a bail commissioner. Upon such payment, the matter shall be deemed closed, and the civil bench warrant vacated. All payments received by bail commissioners pursuant to this section shall be transmitted to the court or the division of motor vehicles within 5 business days. The bail commissioner shall be entitled to a fee for services as set forth in RSA 597:20.
(d) Any person arrested pursuant to this section who is unable to pay all outstanding fines and fees prior to release shall be released on personal recognizance and ordered to appear before the district court in the jurisdiction where the arrest or the underlying violation occurred at the next scheduled session of that court. Prior to release, the defendant shall provide an accurate residential and mailing address and telephone number to a bail commissioner. The bail commissioner shall be entitled to a fee for services as set forth in RSA 597:20.
(e) At any hearing held pursuant to subparagraph (d), the defendant shall complete under oath an affidavit of financial assets, which shall be reviewed by the court for determination of the defendant's ability to pay the fines and fees imposed. Upon a finding of the defendant's ability to pay, payment shall be ordered to be made no later than 30 days from the court date. The court may accept payment by credit card, cash, or check and may, if it deems necessary, garnish the defendant's wages, bank account, or other source of income. If the court finds the defendant is unable to pay the fine or any portion of it, the court may order community service or other alternative sentence.
(f) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, state and local law enforcement officers shall have the power to arrest pursuant to civil bench warrants issued under this section.
(g) Neither the state, nor any state agency or political subdivision of the state, nor any employee of the state or its political subdivision shall be subject to a claim for monetary damages for the arrest or detention of any person pursuant to this section, provided that the officer's action in arresting or detaining the person does not constitute gross negligence or willful misconduct.
III-a. Fines and fees owed pursuant to this section may be paid through the bail commissioner or court by credit card in accordance with procedures set forth by the district court administrative judge, or through the division of motor vehicles by credit card in accordance with procedures established by the director of the division of motor vehicles.
IV. For cause, the court in its discretion may refuse to accept a plea by mail and may impose a fine other than that prescribed by the uniform fine schedule. The court may order the defendant to appear personally in court for the disposition of his case.
V. The uniform fine schedule and administrative processing fee referred to in paragraphs I and II, developed and promulgated by the New Hampshire supreme court after approval by the legislative fiscal committee, shall, on and after January 1, 2005, be changed only by statute.
VI. The administrative processing fee provided for in paragraph II shall be retained by the court for the benefit of the state.

Source. 1975, 116:2. 1981, 146:5, XXIII. 1983, 382:9; 383:38. 1985, 341:3. 1987, 239:3. 1989, 114:2. 1990, 229:24. 1992, 232:2; 257:28; 284:39. 1996, 182:2; 251:23. 1998, 288:1-3, 11. 2002, 231:1. 2003, 43:3-6. 2004, 183:1. 2006, 260:30. 2007, 54:1, eff. July 1, 2007.

Miscellaneous Provisions

Section 502-A:20

    502-A:20 Repealed by 2011, 88:29(22), eff. July 1, 2011. –

Section 502-A:20-a

    502-A:20-a Municipal Prosecutors. – Prosecutors appointed under the provisions of RSA 41:10-a are hereby empowered to represent the state in district courts in cases within the jurisdiction of said courts unless the prosecutorial jurisdiction over a particular case or class of cases is pre-empted by the county attorney or the attorney general.

Source. 1977, 374:4, eff. Aug. 30, 1977.

Section 502-A:21

    502-A:21 Repealed by 2011, 88:29(23), eff. July 1, 2011. –

Section 502-A:21-a

    502-A:21-a Full-Time District Court Justices. – A district court justice designated to be full-time under RSA 491-A:3, IV shall not be permitted to engage in the practice of law to any degree. Full-time justices shall receive the salary specified in RSA 491-A:1. Full-time justices chosen pursuant to this section shall, when requested by the supreme court, assist other district courts whenever a justice in such other court is disqualified, disabled, otherwise unable to sit, or in need of assistance.

Source. 1987, 272:5, eff. July 1, 1987.

Section 502-A:22

    502-A:22 Civil Sessions. – A session of each district court for the trial of civil actions shall be held on some day of each month to be fixed by a rule of court and may be adjourned from day to day, or to a future day not beyond the next established session.

Source. 1963, 331:1, eff. July 1, 1964.

Section 502-A:23

    502-A:23 Judicial Robes. – The justice of a district court shall wear an appropriate black judicial robe whenever his court is convened in criminal or civil session. Such robes shall be paid for by the state.

Source. 1963, 331:1. 1983, 383:39, eff. July 1, 1984.

Section 502-A:24

    502-A:24 Writs. – Writs and processes, issuing returnable to any district court, shall be in the name of the state of New Hampshire, shall be under the seal of the court, shall bear the teste of the justice, if not a party, otherwise of the special justice, and shall be signed by the clerk.

Source. 1963, 331:1, eff. July 1, 1964.

Section 502-A:25

    502-A:25 Service of. – All writs and civil actions, except as otherwise provided, shall be served 14 days before the return day which they are returnable.

Source. 1963, 331:1, eff. July 1, 1964.

Section 502-A:26

    502-A:26 Return Day. – In civil causes to recover damages, the first Tuesday of every month shall be return day, except as otherwise provided, and writs may be made returnable at the election of the party who takes out the same, subject to the requirements for service, at any return day within 2 months from the date thereof.

Source. 1963, 331:1, eff. July 1, 1964.

Section 502-A:27

    502-A:27 Executions. – Executions on judgments rendered in district courts shall not be issued until after the time for appeal has expired and shall be returnable within 90 days from the date of issue.

Source. 1963, 331:1. 1985, 325:1, eff. Jan. 1, 1985.

Section 502-A:27-a

    502-A:27-a Destruction of Records. – The district court, subject to the approval of the supreme court, shall establish retention and destruction schedules for those original files, papers and records in cases and matters disposed of by the court. The district court shall be responsible for the implementation of the schedules and for directing that any files having the potential for historical significance shall be preserved or transferred to any public historical society or corporation organized for the preservation of historical documents. The schedule may provide for original records to be sent to the records center established under RSA 5.

Source. 1963, 331:1. 1989, 243:1. 1992, 284:40, eff. Jan. 1, 1993.

Section 502-A:27-b

    502-A:27-b Financial Records. – The retention and destruction policy established by RSA 502-A:27-a shall provide for financial records to be retained for the current fiscal year and the preceding 5 fiscal years.

Source. 1967, 138:1. 1992, 284:41, eff. Jan. 1, 1993.

Section 502-A:27-c

    502-A:27-c Powers of the District Court. – The district courts are hereby empowered to grant motions for summary judgment in accordance with the procedure prescribed in RSA 491:8-a.

Source. 1973, 130:1, eff. July 13, 1973.

Section 502-A:27-d

    502-A:27-d Use of Recording Devices. – Upon petition by any party the court may, in its discretion, allow said party to record the proceedings by any recording device. The recordings shall be made at the expense of the petitioner, except as provided under RSA 599:1-c for violations. If in a criminal proceeding the defendant is indigent, the defendant shall upon request at least 5 days prior to any hearing or trial be entitled to a sound recording of the proceedings at state expense. The court shall give written notice to a defendant charged with a class B misdemeanor that the defendant shall, upon request at least 5 days prior to any hearing or trial, be entitled to a sound recording of the proceedings at state expense.

Source. 1973, 536:2. 1985, 341:7. 1992, 269:5, eff. July 1, 1992.

Section 502-A:27-e

    502-A:27-e Arrest Warrants; Copies Transmitted to State Police. – A copy of each arrest warrant issued by a court shall be transmitted by computer to the division of state police. The state police shall make information regarding the warrant available to the arresting police department and all local police departments and sheriffs. In the eleventh month after the warrant is issued, the state police shall contact the court which issued the warrant for updated information and the court shall reissue the warrant if the state still has a case against the defendant.

Source. 1992, 257:26.

Fees in District Courts

Section 502-A:28

    502-A:28 District Court Fees. –
I. Fees as established by the supreme court under RSA 490:26-a shall be paid to the clerk of each applicable circuit court established in RSA 490-F for the benefit of the state.
II. The clerk shall set aside 6 percent of each entry fee paid into the court for deposit into a special escrow account established under RSA 490:26-c and 30 percent of each entry fee paid into the court for deposit into the judicial branch information technology fund established under RSA 490:26-h. The proceeds of fees for motions to appear in court pro hac vice shall be paid into the law library revolving fund established in RSA 490:25, III.
III. The sum of $10 shall be added to each entry fee collected in the district courts for civil writs and shall be deposited in the mediation and arbitration fund established under RSA 490-E:4. Costs of the civil writ mediation program in the district courts shall be paid from this fund. The following shall apply to the civil writ mediation program in the district courts:
(a) Participation in the mediation session shall not be mandated by the court;
(b) Mediation reports and proceedings shall not be released to any judge or other officers of the court who may later decide or rule on the case without the written consent of all parties participating in the mediation; and
(c) Statements made during mediation sessions by the parties or their counsel shall not be considered competent or admissible evidence for any purpose during any subsequent proceedings in that case or any other civil or administrative proceeding.

Source. 1963, 331:1. 1971, 393:1. 1981, 562:5. 1983, 383:40. 2007, 234:6. 2009, 144:298, eff. July 1, 2009; 253:2, eff. Jan. 1, 2010. 2011, 88:7, eff. July 1, 2011. 2013, 88:5, eff. July 1, 2013.

Section 502-A:29

    502-A:29 Other Fees. – For other certificates or papers which he or she is authorized to make or certify, the clerk of a circuit court shall receive the same fees as a clerk of the superior court.

Source. 1963, 331:1, eff. July 1, 1964. 2011, 88:8, eff. July 1, 2011.

Section 502-A:30

    502-A:30 Travel, Etc. – Travel and attendance of parties and other costs and fees shall be allowed as in the superior court, except that the plaintiff shall be allowed no more travel than if he lived within 10 miles of the place of trial, unless he appears in person.

Source. 1963, 331:1, eff. July 1, 1964.

Section 502-A:31

    502-A:31 Repealed by 1985, 404:8, III, eff. Jan. 1, 1986. –

Section 502-A:32

    502-A:32 Repealed by 2011, 88:29(24), eff. July 1, 2011. –

Section 502-A:33

    502-A:33 Repealed by 1965, 327:7, eff. Sept. 6, 1965. –

Section 502-A:34

    502-A:34 Repealed by 2011, 88:29(25), eff. July 1, 2011. –

Section 502-A:35

    502-A:35 Repealed by 2011, 88:29(26), eff. July 1, 2011. –

Section 502-A:36

    502-A:36 Repealed by 2011, 88:29(27), eff. July 1, 2011. –

Court Modernization Fund

Section 502-A:37

    502-A:37 Repealed by by 1989, 408:82, IV, eff. July 1, 1998. –