PROCEEDINGS IN CRIMINAL CASES
BAIL AND RECOGNIZANCES
597:1 Release and Detention Authority Generally.
Except as provided in RSA 597:1-a, 597:1-c, or 597:1-d, all persons arrested for an offense shall be eligible to be released pending judicial proceedings upon compliance with the provisions of this chapter.
Source. GS 240:18. GL 258:18. PS 252:12. PL 366:13. RL 425:13. RSA 597:1. 1969, 78:1. 1974, 34:4. 1988, 110:1. 1989, 386:1. 1993, 258:1, eff. Aug. 14, 1993.
597:1-a Release or Detention of a Defendant Pending Sentence or Appeal.
I. After conviction for an offense punishable by death or, by a term of life imprisonment without possibility of parole, or for aggravated felonious sexual assault or felonious sexual assault, a defendant shall not be allowed bail.
II. Except as provided in paragraph I, the court shall order that a person who has been found guilty of a felony and who is awaiting imposition or execution of sentence be detained, unless the court finds by clear and convincing evidence that the person is not likely to flee or pose a danger to the safety of the person or to any other person or the community. If the court makes such a finding, it shall order the release of the person in accordance with the provisions of RSA 597:2.
III. (a) The court shall order that a person found guilty of a felony and sentenced to a term of imprisonment and who has made a good faith representation that he or she shall file a timely appeal be detained, unless the person establishes and the court finds:
(1) By clear and convincing evidence, taking into consideration the nature of the crime and the length of the sentence imposed, that the person is not likely to fail to appear to answer the judgment following the conclusion of the appellate proceeding, or to pose a danger to himself or herself or to any other person or the community, or to intimidate witnesses, or otherwise to interfere with the administration of justice; and
(2) By a preponderance of the evidence that the appeal will not likely be frivolous or taken merely for delay.
(b) Upon making the findings specified in subparagraph (a), the court shall order the release of the person in accordance with the provisions of RSA 597:2.
IV. Any person who has been found guilty of a misdemeanor and who is awaiting imposition or execution of sentence, or who has been sentenced to a term of imprisonment and who has filed an appeal shall, before the conclusion of the appellate proceeding, be released upon compliance with the provisions of RSA 597:2.
V. In any case where release is denied pending appeal, the court shall provide for the record the reasons for such denial.
VI. The court shall treat a defendant in a case in which an appeal has been taken by the state pursuant to the provisions of RSA 606:10, in accordance with the provisions of RSA 597:2, unless the defendant is otherwise subject to a release or a detention order.
Source. 1975, 275:1. 1985, 26:1. 1988, 110:2. 1989, 386:2. 1992, 254:12, eff. Jan. 1, 1993. 2008, 200:1, eff. June 11, 2008.
597:1-b Repealed by 1988, 110:12, I, eff. June 17, 1988.
597:1-c Offenses Punishable by Life Imprisonment.
Any person arrested for an offense punishable by up to life in prison, where the proof is evident or the presumption great, shall not be allowed bail.
Source. 1993, 258:2, eff. Aug. 14, 1993. 2006, 327:14, eff. Jan. 1, 2007.
597:1-d Probationees and Parolees.
I. If there is a judicial finding of probable cause to believe that a person has committed a violation of RSA 630, RSA 631, RSA 632-A:2-4 or RSA 633:1-3 from an arrest warrant affidavit and the person is on probation or parole for a conviction of a violent crime listed in RSA 651:4-a or a substantially similar crime in any state or federal court in this or any other state, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, or any territory or possession of the United States, it is presumed that release on bail and imposition of any condition or set of conditions listed in RSA 597:2 will not reasonably assure the appearance of the person as required and will endanger the safety of the person or of any other person or the community.
II. The court shall not release such person on bail unless the court finds by a preponderance of the evidence that some condition or set of conditions found in RSA 597:2 will assure the person's appearance and assure that release will not pose a danger to the safety of the person or of any person or the community.
III. Such person shall be detained without bail pending a bail hearing before the court to be held as soon after arraignment as possible but in no event later than 72 hours after arraignment. At such hearing, the arresting agency shall present, and the court shall consider, all relevant records or other documentation concerning the arrested person's parole or probation, as well as the offense for which the person is on parole or probation.
Source. 1993, 258:2, eff. Aug. 14, 1993. 2015, 249:9, eff. Jan. 1, 2016, July 1, 2016 and Oct. 1, 2017.
597:2 Release of a Defendant Pending Trial.
I. Except as provided in paragraph VI, upon the appearance before the court of a person charged with an offense, the court shall issue an order that, pending arraignment or trial, the person be:
(a) Released on his or her personal recognizance or upon execution of an unsecured appearance bond, pursuant to the provisions of paragraph III;
(b) Released on a condition or combination of conditions pursuant to the provisions of paragraph III;
(c) Detained; or
(d) Temporarily detained to permit revocation of conditional release pursuant to the provisions of paragraph VIII.
II. Except as provided in RSA 597:1-d, a person charged with a probation violation shall be entitled to a bail hearing. The court shall issue an order that, pending a probation violation hearing, the person be:
(a) Released on his or her personal recognizance or upon execution of an unsecured appearance bond, pursuant to the provisions of paragraph III;
(b) Released on a condition or combination of conditions pursuant to the provisions of paragraph III; or
III. When considering whether to release or detain a person, the court shall consider the following issues:
(a) Safety of the public or the defendant. If a person is charged with any criminal offense, an offense listed in RSA 173-B:1, I, or a violation of a protective order under RSA 458:16, III, or after arraignment, is charged with a violation of a protective order issued under RSA 173-B, the court may order preventive detention without bail, or, in the alternative, may order restrictive conditions including but not limited to electronic monitoring and supervision, only if the court determines by clear and convincing evidence that release will endanger the safety of that person or the public. In determining whether release will endanger the safety of that person or the public, the court may consider all relevant factors presented pursuant to paragraph IV.
(b) Assuring the court appearance of charged persons.
(1) The court shall order the pre-arraignment or pretrial release of the person on his or her personal recognizance, or upon execution of an unsecured appearance bond in an amount specified by the court, or cash or corporate surety bail, subject to the condition that the person not commit a crime during the period of his or her release, and subject to such further condition or combination of conditions that the court may require unless the court determines by a preponderance of the evidence that such release will not reasonably assure the appearance of the person as required.
(2) If the court determines by a preponderance of the evidence that a person has failed to appear on any previous matter charged as a felony, class A misdemeanor, or driving or operating while impaired, or a reasonably equivalent offense in an out-of-state jurisdiction, 3 or more times within the past 5 years, or twice on the present case, there shall be a rebuttable presumption that release will not reasonably assure the appearance of the person as required.
(3) In determining the amount of the unsecured appearance bond or cash or corporate surety bail, the court may consider all relevant factors bearing upon a person's ability to post bail.
(4) The court shall not impose a financial condition that will result in the pretrial detention of a person solely as a result of that financial condition unless the court determines by clear and convincing evidence that the nature of the allegations presents a substantial risk that the person will not appear and that no reasonable alternative will assure the person's appearance. The defendant shall be afforded the opportunity to be heard.
(c) Failure of a person to abide by previous bail conditions. If there is probable cause to believe that, while on release pending resolution of a previous offense, the person committed a felony, class A misdemeanor, or driving or operating while impaired, there shall be a rebuttable presumption that the person will not abide by a condition that the person not commit a new offense. The court shall not impose a financial condition that will result in the pretrial detention of the person solely as a result of that financial condition unless the court determines by clear and convincing evidence after a hearing that no reasonable alternative or combination of conditions will assure that the person will not commit a new offense. The court may consider any relevant factors in making its determination.
IV. (a) Evidence in support of preventive detention shall be made by offer of proof at the initial appearance before the court. At that time, the defendant may request a subsequent bail hearing where live testimony is presented to the court.
(b) At any subsequent hearing, such testimony may be presented via video conferencing, unless the court determines that witness testimony in court is necessary. A request by the defendant for in-court testimony shall be made by oral motion at the initial hearing or by written motion prior to any subsequent hearing. Any order granting the defendant's request shall be distributed to the parties at least 48 hours prior to any subsequent hearing.
(c) There shall be a rebuttable presumption that an alleged victim of the crime shall not be required to testify at the bail hearing. Nothing in this section shall preclude an alleged victim from voluntarily testifying at such hearing. The state may present evidence of statements made in the course of an investigation through a law enforcement officer.
V. A no-contact provision contained in any bail order shall not be construed to:
(a) Prevent counsel for the defendant from having contact with counsel for any of the individuals protected by such provision; or
(b) Prevent the parties, if the defendant and one of the protected individuals are parties in a domestic violence or marital matter, from attending court hearings scheduled in such matters or exchanging copies of legal pleadings filed in court in such matters.
VI. If a person is charged with violation of a protective order issued under RSA 173-B or RSA 633:3-a, the person shall be detained without bail pending arraignment pursuant to RSA 173-B:9, I(a).
VII. In a release order issued pursuant to this section, the court shall include a written statement that sets forth:
(a) All of the conditions to which the release is subject, in a manner sufficiently clear and specific to serve as a guide for the person's conduct; and
(b) The provisions of RSA 641:5, relative to tampering with witnesses and informants.
VIII. A person charged with an offense who is, or was at the time the offense was committed, on release pending trial for a felony or misdemeanor under federal or state law, release pending imposition or execution of sentence, appeal of sentence or conviction, or completion of sentence, for any offense under federal or state law; or probation or parole for any offense under federal or state law, except as provided in RSA 597:1-d, III, may be detained for a period of not more than 72 hours from the time of his or her arrest, excluding Saturdays, Sundays and holidays. The law enforcement agency making the arrest shall notify the appropriate court, probation or parole official, or federal, state, or local law enforcement official. Upon such notice, the court shall direct the clerk to notify by telephone the department of corrections, division of field services, of the pending bail hearing. If the department fails or declines to take the person into custody during that period, the person shall be treated in accordance with the provisions of law governing release pending trial. Probationers and parolees who are arrested and fail to advise their supervisory probation officer or parole officer in accordance with the conditions of probations and parole may be subject to arrest and detention as probation and parole violators.
IX. Upon the appearance of a person charged with a class B misdemeanor, the court shall issue an order that, pending arraignment, the person be released on his or her personal recognizance, unless the court determines pursuant to paragraph III that such release will endanger the safety of the person or the public. The court shall appoint an attorney to represent any indigent person charged with a class B misdemeanor denied release for the purpose of representing such person at any detention hearing.
X. A person detained by a circuit court has the right to:
(a) In the first instance, a hearing in circuit court within 36 hours after the filing of the motion, excluding weekends and holidays on a motion to reconsider the original detention order; and
(b) A decision upon a de novo appeal, pursuant to RSA 597:6-e, II, to the superior court within 36 hours of the filing of the appeal, excluding weekends and holidays.
Source. 1903, 28:1. 1919, 49:1. PL 366:14. RL 425:14. RSA 597:2. 1969, 78:2. 1989, 386:3. 1992, 269:3, 4. 1993, 258:3, eff. Aug. 14, 1993. 1999, 229:1, eff. Jan. 1, 2000. 2005, 230:1, eff. Jan. 1, 2006. 2006, 214:3, eff. July 31, 2006. 2009, 91:1, eff. Aug. 11, 2009. 2011, 236:2, eff. Sept. 3, 2011. 2015, 74:1-3, eff. Jan. 1, 2016. 2018, 366:2, eff. Aug. 31, 2018. 2019, 143:1-3, eff. June 25, 2019. 2020, 12:5, 6, eff. Sept. 14, 2020.
597:2-a Repealed by 1988, 110:12, II, eff. June 17, 1988.
597:2-b Determination of Indigence and Payment of Bail Commissioner Fee.
I. The arresting officer, at the point of arrest, shall inform the offender of the availability of the services of the bail commissioner. If the offender elects to utilize the bail commissioner's services and is not indigent, the offender shall pay the bail commissioner's fee directly to the bail commissioner. If the offender elects to utilize the services of the bail commissioner, but claims indigence, the court shall, to the extent of available funding, utilize all possible means to pay the bail commissioner's fee, and shall include written evidence of fee payment in the offender's case file.
II. The court shall develop uniform criteria to evaluate and determine whether an offender is indigent or not indigent for the purpose of the offender's ability to pay the bail commissioner's fee. Based on the criteria, the court shall render a finding of indigent or not indigent for the purpose of the offender's ability to pay the bail commissioner's fee.
III. If the court finds that the offender is not indigent for the purpose of paying the bail commissioner's fee, the offender shall reimburse the court for payment of the bail commissioner's fee.
IV. If the court finds that the offender is indigent for the purpose of paying the bail commissioner's fee, the offender shall not be liable to pay the fee.
Source. 2020, 12:11, eff. July 16, 2020.
597:3 Money Deposited.
All money deposited for bail shall be held for the use of the state until the clerk of the superior court where the bail is deposited shall certify that no liability exists against the bail.
Source. 1903, 28:2. PL 366:15. RL 425:15. RSA 597:3. 1983, 383:60, eff. Jan. 1, 1984.
597:4 In Superior Court.
If any person is charged with murder, the superior court or any justice thereof, upon application and notice to the attorney general or county attorney, and examination of such evidence as may be laid before them, may determine the amount of the bail, and take the recognizance required or authorize the clerk or any suitable justice to take it.
Source. GS 240:19. GL 258:19. PS 252:13. PL 366:16. RL 425:16. RSA 597:4. 1969, 78:3. 1973, 370:20, eff. Nov. 1, 1973.
597:5 When Requirable.
Every court and justice may, when a person is accused of an offense in which said court or justice is authorized to receive bail, release said person on personal recognizance or require said person to recognize, with sureties, to appear at a future time before said court or justice or any other competent tribunal. Bail in felony cases is returnable only to the superior court.
Source. RS 222:3. CS 237:3. GS 241:1. GL 259:1. PS 252:14. PL 366:17. RL 425:17. RSA 597:5. 1969, 78:4, eff. June 3, 1969. 2015, 249:10, eff. Jan. 1, 2016, July 1, 2016 and Oct. 1, 2017.
597:5-a When Requirable; Bail and Recognizances for Person Detained for Probation Violation.
Upon motion duly made, a court shall schedule a bail hearing. Every court may, when a person is accused of an offense or a probation violation in which said court is authorized to receive bail, release said person on personal recognizance or require him or her to recognize, with sureties, to appear at a future time before the court or any other competent tribunal.
Source. 2005, 230:2, eff. Jan. 1, 2006.
597:6 Repealed by 2015, 249:16, IX, eff. Oct. 1, 2017.
597:6-a Repealed by 1989, 386:11, eff. June 5, 1989.
597:6-b Repealed by 1988, 110:12, III, eff. June 17, 1988.
597:6-c Repealed by 1988, 110:12, IV, eff. June 17, 1988.
597:6-d Release or Detention of Material Witness.
If it appears from an affidavit filed by a party that the testimony of a person is material in a criminal proceeding, and if it is shown that it may become impracticable to secure the presence of the person by subpoena, a justice of the court in which the defendant will be tried may order the arrest of the person and treat the person in accordance with the provisions of RSA 597:2. No material witness may be detained because of inability to comply with any condition of release if the trial testimony of such witness can adequately be secured by deposition, and if further detention is not necessary to prevent a failure of justice. Release of a material witness may be delayed for a reasonable period of time until the trial deposition of the witness may be taken.
Source. 1988, 110:5. 1989, 386:5, eff. June 5, 1989.
597:6-e Review and Appeal of Release or Detention Order.
I. If a person is ordered released by a bail commissioner, the person, or the state, shall be entitled to a hearing, if requested, on the conditions of bail before a justice within 48 hours, Sundays and holidays excepted.
II. Subject to RSA 597:2, X, the person or the state may file with the superior court a motion for revocation of the order or amendment of the conditions of release set by a municipal or district court, by a justice, or by a bail commissioner. The motion shall be determined promptly. However, no action shall be taken on any such motion until the moving party has provided to the superior court certified copies of the complaint, affidavit, warrant, bail slip, and any other court orders relative to each charge for which a release or detention order was issued by a justice, or a bail commissioner. In cases where a district court justice has made a finding, pursuant to RSA 597:2, IV that the person poses a danger to another, the superior court shall, after notification to both parties, the police department that brought the charges in district court, and the victim, conduct a hearing and make written findings supporting any modifications and reasons for new conditions or changes from the district court order. The reviewing court shall take into consideration the district court's written findings, orders, pleadings, or transcript when making a modification.
III. The person, or the state pursuant to RSA 606:10, V, may appeal to the supreme court from a court's release or detention order, or from a decision denying revocation or amendment of such an order. The appeal shall be determined promptly.
Source. 1988, 110:5. 1989, 386:6. 1999, 229:2. 2000, 51:1, eff. Jan. 1, 2001. 2018, 366:3, eff. Aug. 31, 2018.
597:7 Commitment in Default of Recognizance.
If the order to recognize for his appearance is not complied with in a reasonable time, the court or justice, by warrant, shall cause the accused to be committed to jail until he complies therewith.
Source. RS 222:6. CS 237:6. GS 240:7. GL 258:7. PS 252:16. PL 366:19. RL 425:19.
597:7-a Detention and Sanctions for Default or Breach of Conditions.
I. A peace officer may detain an accused until he can be brought before a justice if he has a warrant issued by a justice for default of recognizance or for breach of conditions of release or if he witnesses a breach of conditions of release. The accused shall be brought before a justice for a bail revocation hearing within 48 hours, Saturdays, Sundays and holidays excepted.
I-a. If a person violates a restraining order issued under RSA 458:16, III, or a protective order issued under RSA 633:3-a, or a temporary or permanent protective order issued under RSA 173-B by committing assault, criminal trespass, criminal mischief, or another criminal act, a peace officer shall arrest the accused, detain the accused pursuant to RSA 594:19-a, bring the accused before a justice pursuant to RSA 594:20-a, and refer the accused for prosecution. Such arrest may be made within 12 hours after a violation without a warrant upon probable cause whether or not the violation is committed in the presence of the peace officer.
II. A person who has been released pursuant to the provisions of this chapter and who has violated a condition of his release is subject to a revocation of release, an order of detention, and a prosecution for contempt of court.
III. The state may initiate a proceeding for revocation of an order of release by filing a motion with the court which ordered the release and the order of which is alleged to have been violated. The court may issue a warrant for the arrest of a person charged with violating a condition of release, and the person shall be brought before the court for a proceeding in accordance with this section. The court shall enter an order of revocation and detention if, after a hearing, the court:
(a) Finds that there is:
(1) Probable cause to believe that the person has committed a federal, state, or local crime while on release; or
(2) Clear and convincing evidence that the person has violated any other condition of release or has violated a temporary or permanent protective order by conduct indicating a potential danger to another; and
(b) Finds that:
(1) There is no condition or combination of conditions of release that will assure that the person will not flee or that the person will not pose a danger to the safety of himself or any other person or the community; or
(2) The person is unlikely to abide by any condition or combination of conditions of release.
If there is probable cause to believe that, while on release, the person committed a federal or state felony, a rebuttable presumption arises that no condition or combination of conditions will assure that the person shall not pose a danger to the safety of any other person or the community. If the court finds that there are conditions of release that shall assure that the person will not flee or pose a danger to the safety of himself or any other person or the community, and that the person will abide by such conditions, he shall treat that person in accordance with the provisions of RSA 597:2 and may amend the conditions of release accordingly.
IV. The state may commence a prosecution for contempt if the person has violated a condition of his release.
Source. 1979, 377:6. 1988, 110:6. 1989, 386:7. 1993, 303:1. 1999, 229:3, eff. Jan. 1, 2000. 2002, 79:3, eff. Jan. 1, 2003.
597:7-b Bail Agents and Recovery Agents; Licensure; Notification to Local Law Enforcement Required.
I. In this section:
(a) "Bail agent" means any person appointed by an insurer by power of attorney to execute or countersign bail bonds for the insurer in connection with judicial proceedings and who receives a premium.
(b) "Bail recovery agent" means a person who meets the requirements of paragraph II of this section and who is offered or given any compensation for assisting a professional bondsman under RSA 598-A or a surety in apprehending or surrendering any defendant, or keeping the defendant under necessary surveillance.
II. Any person who operates as a bail recovery agent in this state, excluding licensed private detectives, shall be trained and certified through a program approved by the Professional Bail Agents of the United States or other training program approved by the commissioner of safety and shall be licensed with the department of safety under RSA 106-F. Licensees shall also meet proficiency requirements under RSA 106-F:8-a. The department of safety shall issue to each licensed bail recovery agent proof of such licensure. Each bail recovery agent operating in this state shall provide to the department of safety proof of liability insurance coverage in the amount of $300,000 for bail recovery activities. This proof of insurance coverage shall be provided before the bail recovery agent is licensed or relicensed by the department of safety. Licenses shall be valid for 2 years after the date of issuance and shall be renewed every 2 years thereafter, upon application and payment of the fee and submission of continuing proof of the required liability insurance coverage. The application for renewal shall be submitted at least 15 days before the expiration of the previously granted license. Any person who operates as a bail recovery agent in this state without meeting the licensure and relicensure requirements shall be guilty of a class B misdemeanor for the first offense and a class A misdemeanor for a second offense within a 7-year period.
III. A bail recovery agent searching for a person who has violated conditions of release shall notify a municipality's chief law enforcement officer if the search is to be conducted in the municipality's jurisdiction. A bail recovery agent who violates the provisions of this paragraph shall be guilty of a class A misdemeanor.
Source. 1995, 287:1. 1999, 299:1, eff. Jan. 1, 2000. 2016, 196:12, eff. Jan. 1, 2017.
597:8 Subsequent Bail.
A prisoner committed to jail pursuant to RSA 597:7 may at any time recognize agreeably to the order to recognize for his appearance, before a justice, and thereupon the justice shall issue his warrant for the discharge of the prisoner, and he shall be discharged from custody.
Source. GS 240:8. GL 258:8. PS 252:17. PL 366:20. RL 425:20.
597:9 Copies, Subsequent Bail.
The justice issuing an order for the discharge of a prisoner shall file, in the office of the clerk of the superior court for the county or judicial district thereof in which the offense is alleged to have been committed, true and attested copies of the application to the justice to take such recognizance, of the order made by the justice on the application, of the recognizance taken, and a note of the warrant of discharge issued by the justice.
Source. GS 240:10. GL 258:10. PS 252:19. PL 366:21. RL 425:21. RSA 597:9. 1992, 284:74, eff. July 1, 1992.
597:10 Copies, on Appeal.
In case of appeal, the municipal and district courts shall cause true and attested copies of the complaint, other process, records and recognizances, together with any cash bail in the case, to be filed with the clerk of the superior court within 10 days after the date of such order for recognizance.
Source. RS 222:4. CS 237:4. GS 240:9. GL 258:9. PS 252:18. 1911, 113:1. PL 366:22. 1937, 49:3. RL 425:22. RSA 597:10. 1957, 71:2. 1959, 19:1. 1965, 86:3, eff. July 10, 1965.
597:11 Repealed by 2015, 249:16, X, eff. Oct. 1, 2017.
Whoever violates any provision of RSA 597:10 and 11 shall be guilty of a violation.
Source. RS 222:4. CS 237:4. GS 240:9. GL 258:9. PS 252:18. 1911, 113:1. PL 366:24. RL 425:24. RSA 597:12. 1973, 531:151, eff. at 11:59 P.M., Oct. 31, 1973.
597:13 Accepting Insufficient Bail, etc.
If a justice knowingly accepts insufficient bail or fails to make return of his proceedings as required by law, he shall be liable to the same punishment as for aiding an escape in a like case; provided, that this section shall not apply to release on personal recognizance upon a finding by the justice that such release is proper under the circumstances of the case.
Source. GS 240:11. GL 258:11. PS 252:20. PL 366:25. RL 425:25. RSA 597:13. 1969, 78:6, eff. June 3, 1969.
Minors and their sureties shall be bound by their recognizance in the same manner as if their principals were of full age.
Source. GS 241:5. GL 259:5. PS 252:21. PL 366:26. RL 425:26. RSA 597:14. 1988, 110:7, eff. June 17, 1988.
597:14-a Repealed by 1988, 110:12, V, eff. June 17, 1988.
597:14-b Penalty for Offense Committed While on Release.
I. A person convicted of an offense while released pursuant to this chapter shall be sentenced, in addition to the sentence prescribed for the offense to:
(a) A maximum term of imprisonment of not more than 7 years if the offense is a felony; or
(b) A maximum term of imprisonment of not more than one year if the offense is a misdemeanor.
II. A term of imprisonment imposed pursuant to this section shall be consecutive to any other sentence of imprisonment. Neither the penalty provided by this section or any prosecution under this section shall interfere with or prevent the forfeiture of any bail or the exercise by the court of its power to punish for contempt.
Source. 1988, 110:8. 1989, 386:8, eff. June 5, 1989.
597:15 Superior Court.
The superior court may appoint justices of the peace and quorum as commissioners authorized to fix and receive bail in criminal or civil cases as hereinafter provided. The superior court shall not appoint as a bail commissioner anyone whose appointment would present a conflict of interest or an appearance of bias in the carrying out of his or her duties as a bail commissioner.
Source. 1895, 37:1. PL 366:27. RL 425:27. RSA 597:15. 1967, 302:1, eff. Aug. 29, 1967. 2007, 189:1, eff. June 18, 2007. 2013, 59:1, eff. June 6, 2013.
597:15-a Circuit Court.
The circuit court may appoint justices of the peace and quorum as commissioners authorized to fix and receive bail and other fines and fees as authorized by law in criminal or civil cases as hereinafter provided. The circuit court shall not appoint as a bail commissioner anyone whose appointment would present a conflict of interest or an appearance of bias in the carrying out of his or her duties as a bail commissioner.
Source. 1963, 331:9. 1985, 341:9. 1998, 288:5, eff. Jan. 1, 1999. 2008, 105:1, eff. May 28, 2008. 2013, 59:2, eff. June 6, 2013.
597:15-b Repealed by 2013, 59:4, I, eff. June 6, 2013.
597:16 Repealed by 2013, 59:4, II, eff. June 6, 2013.
597:17 Term and Identification Card.
I. Bail commissioners shall be commissioned for 5 years and continue in office until their successors shall have qualified.
II. The administrative judge of the superior court or the circuit court shall issue an identification card to each qualified bail commissioner in the state.
Source. 1895, 37:2. PL 366:28. RL 425:28. 2020, 12:12, eff. July 16, 2020.
On application of a person who is arrested for a bailable offense, at any time before his arraignment therefor, any commissioner may fix the amount of and receive bail in the same manner as the court might do, except in cases provided for by RSA 597:4.
Source. 1895, 37:3. PL 366:29. RL 425:29.
597:18-a Educational Requirements for Bail Commissioners.
I. During September or October of each year, a justice of the superior court, under the direction of the administrative judge of the superior court, and a justice from the circuit court, under the direction of the administrative judge of the circuit court, shall hold a meeting with all bail commissioners under the jurisdiction of such courts. This meeting shall be for the purpose of educating bail commissioners on the laws concerning their powers and duties.
II. The administrative judges of the superior and circuit courts shall jointly develop an education program to ensure that bail commissioners have current information regarding the status of the laws affecting bail commissioners and the powers and duties of bail commissioners.
III. A copy of all laws concerning bail commissioners and a copy of the latest edition of the Bail Commissioner's Handbook shall be provided to each bail commissioner at this annual meeting.
Source. 1995, 61:2, eff. July 8, 1995. 2020, 12:13, eff. July 16, 2020.
Every recognizance taken by a commissioner shall be certified and returned to the clerk of the court before which the party is bound to appear, on or before the day of the sitting thereof.
Source. 1895, 37:4. PL 366:30. RL 425:30.
The bail commissioners in such cases shall be entitled to a fee of $40. However, clerks of court or members of their staffs who are bail commissioners shall be entitled to collect such fee only when called while not on active duty. In jurisdictions where the bail commissioner is a full-time salaried police officer, constable, sheriff, deputy sheriff, state police employee, or anyone else authorized to execute police powers, such person shall not receive the fee established in this section, but instead such amount shall be remitted to the town or city in which the district court is situated. If the defendant is indigent, the fee shall be waived.
Source. 1895, 37:5. 1905, 9:1. 1921, 83:1. PL 366:31. RL 425:31. 1949, 135:1. RSA 597:20. 1965, 195:1. 1969, 215:1. 1971, 112:1. 1981, 139:1. 1989, 150:1. 1995, 61:1, eff. July 1, 1995. 2001, 154:1, eff. Aug. 28, 2001. 2008, 117:1, eff. Aug. 2, 2008. 2019, 143:5, eff. June 25, 2019.
597:21 Bail on Sunday.
Persons arrested on Sunday, or on the evening or afternoon preceding, may be admitted to bail on that day when in the opinion of the commissioner an application for that purpose appears to be proper.
Source. 1895, 37:6. PL 366:32. RL 425:32.
Recognizances of Witnesses
597:22 Recognizances After Arrest.
Any police officer may detain any person who he deems to be a necessary witness to a crime; provided, however, within 24 hours, including Sundays and holidays, he shall be brought before a justice of the superior court who may, upon the showing that the testimony of said person is necessary in any court, release the person on personal recognizance or take the recognizance of the witness in such sum as the justice may deem reasonable for his appearance before the court.
Source. RS 222:5. CS 237:5. GS 240:16. GL 258:16. PS 252:22. PL 366:33. RL 425:33. RSA 597:22. 1959, 159:1. 1965, 86:5. 1969, 78:7. 1975, 407:1, eff. Aug. 15, 1975.
597:23 Commitment in Default of Recognizance.
Whenever a witness, upon being ordered by a superior court justice to recognize, neglects or refuses to do so, the justice may issue a warrant and cause such witness to be committed to jail until he complies with the order.
Source. RS 222:6. CS 237:6. GS 240:17. GL 258:17. PS 252:23. PL 366:34. RL 425:34. RSA 597:23. 1959, 159:2. 1965, 86:6. 1975, 407:2, eff. Aug. 15, 1975.
Form of Recognizance
597:24 To the State; Sureties.
Recognizance shall be taken in the name of the state, and with sufficient sureties, unless, in proper cases, the recognizance of the party shall be deemed by the superior court to be sufficient.
Source. RS 211:17. CS 224:17. GS 241:2. GL 259:2. PS 252:24. PL 366:35. RL 425:35.
Recognizances may be taken with condition to attend the court or before the justice at the next term, from term to term, at a fixed day to which the case may be continued, or from day to day, there to wait and abide the order of the court, and not to depart without leave until discharged by order of court.
Source. GS 241:3. GL 259:3. PS 252:25. PL 366:36. RL 425:36.
Recognizances may be taken in any other form which the court, considering the circumstances of the case, may direct or allow.
Source. GS 241:4. GL 259:4. PS 252:26. PL 366:37. RL 425:37. RSA 597:26. 1967, 132:38, eff. July 18, 1967.
Discharge of Bail
597:27 Surrender, in Court.
A surety for the appearance of a party or witness may be discharged by order of the superior court from further liability upon surrendering the party in open court, during the pendency of the original cause and before trial, on payment of the costs of any proceeding against them, and the principal shall be committed unless again recognized.
Source. RS 201:6. CS 214:6. GS 241:6. GL 259:6. PS 252:27. PL 366:38. RL 425:38. RSA 597:27. 1969, 78:8, eff. June 3, 1969.
597:28 Surrender, to Jailer.
Sureties may be discharged before forfeiture of the recognizance by committing the principal to the jail of the county, by leaving with the jailer a certified copy of the order to recognize and of the names of the bail, and a certificate of the bail thereon that they have committed the principal in discharge of their liability as bail, and by giving written notice thereof to the attorney general or county attorney.
Source. RS 201:4. CS 214:4. GS 241:7. GL 259:7. PS 252:28. PL 366:39. RL 425:39. RSA 597:28. 1967, 132:39, eff. July 18, 1967.
597:29 Jailer's Authority; New Bail.
The copies and certificates provided for in RSA 597:28 shall be sufficient authority for the keeper of the jail to detain the party committed until he shall be discharged by due order of law; and the accused may be again recognized with sureties, agreeably to the original order of the court requiring such recognizance.
Source. GS 241:8. GL 259:8. PS 252:29. PL 366:40. RL 425:40. RSA 597:29. 1967, 132:40, eff. July 18, 1967.
597:30 Excusing Surrender.
When the sureties in a recognizance, without their fault, are prevented from surrendering their principal by an act of God or of the government of the state or of the United States, or by sentence of law, the superior court, on petition and notice thereof to the county commissioners and state's counsel, may discharge them on such terms as may be deemed just.
Source. GS 241:12. GL 259:12. PS 252:30. PL 366:41. RL 425:41.
Forfeitures of Recognizances and Actions Thereon
597:31 Declaration of Forfeiture.
If any party recognized to appear makes default, the recognizance shall be declared forfeited, and the state may cause proceedings to be had immediately for the recovery of such forfeiture.
Source. 1865, 4077:3, 4. GS 241:9. GL 259:9. 1889, 27:1. PS 252:31. PL 366:42. RL 425:42. RSA 597:31. 1959, 12:1. 1988, 110:9. 1989, 386:9, eff. June 5, 1989.
597:32 Striking Off Default.
Any court, for good cause, may strike off a default upon a recognizance or order it to be struck off at a future day, upon a substantial compliance with the condition.
Source. GS 241:10. GL 259:10. 1889, 27:2. PS 252:32. PL 366:43. RL 425:43.
The superior court may render judgment for the whole amount of any forfeited recognizance and interest and costs, or for such part thereof as, after hearing counsel, the court may think proper, according to any special circumstances in evidence affecting the case or the party liable.
Source. 1865, 4075:2. GS 241:11. GL 259:11. PS 252:33. PL 366:44. RL 425:44. RSA 597:33. 1983, 383:61, eff. July 1, 1984.
Actions upon recognizances may be brought and tried in the county or judicial district thereof in which they were taken, unless the court shall order the venue to be changed.
Source. RS 211:17. CS 224:17. GS 241:14. GL 259:14. PS 252:34. PL 366:45. RL 425:45. RSA 597:34. 1992, 284:76, eff. July 1, 1992.
597:35 Defective Records, etc.
No action on a recognizance shall be defeated, nor judgment thereon be arrested, for any omission to record a default at the proper term, nor for any defect in the form of recognizance or of the scire facias, but the court may order the record of process to be amended to conform to the facts, without costs.
Source. GS 241:15. GL 259:15. PS 252:35. PL 366:46. RL 425:46.
In actions brought upon recognizances taken in criminal prosecutions, it shall be sufficient to set forth in the writ the substance of the recognizance and the time and place at which the same was declared forfeited, without setting forth the complaint or indictment or any subsequent proceedings thereon.
Source. 1865, 4075:1. GS 241:17. GL 259:17. PS 252:36. PL 366:47. RL 425:47.
597:37 Bench Warrants.
Any court may issue a warrant for the arrest of a person under recognizance to appear before the court who fails to appear according to the condition thereof or of any person who, being party to a criminal proceeding, is, by escape or otherwise, improperly at large.
Source. GS 241:16. GL 259:16. PS 252:37. PL 366:48. RL 425:48. RSA 597:37. 1967, 132:41, eff. July 18, 1967.
597:38 Forfeit of Recognizance.
If a recognizance is forfeited and paid in any case in which, if the recognizor had been convicted, any sum might have been due and payable to the complainant or to any other person, the superior court may ascertain the amount and may order it to be paid from the state treasury.
Source. RS 211:16. CS 224:16. GS 245:3. GL 263:3. PS 261:3. PL 375:3. RL 435:3. RSA 597:38. 1983, 383:62, eff. July 1, 1984.
597:38-a Default Fees.
I. Whenever a party recognized to appear for any offense defaults, the court may impose an administrative processing fee in the amount of $50 in addition to any other fine or penalty assessment.
II. The administrative processing fee provided for in paragraph I shall be retained by the court.
Source. 1991, 347:7, eff. July 1, 1991.
597:38-b Collection of Forfeitures; Motor Vehicles.
I. Whenever a party recognized to appear for any offense involving driving makes default and the recognizance is declared forfeited, the court shall send a notice of default to the division of motor vehicles. The division shall send a notice to the person owing the recognizance, demanding payment within 30 days and stating that failure to make payment within the 30-day period shall result in suspension of such person's driver's license or driving privilege until such time as the person provides proof to the department of safety that he has paid the amount of the forfeited recognizance to the court.
II. Payments of the forfeited recognizance under paragraph I shall be sent to the department of safety and deposited into a special fund, known as the default bench warrant fund, established in RSA 263:56-d to pay the costs of state, county and local law enforcement officials who make arrests pursuant to bench warrants issued for persons improperly at large for driving-related offenses and to pay the cost of breath analyzer machines.
Source. 1991, 366:1. 1998, 288:10, eff. Jan. 1, 1999.
Discharge of Prisoner Unable to Procure Bail
The court, upon petition and notice to the county attorney, prosecutor or party interested, may order the discharge of any person imprisoned for inability to find sureties in a recognizance, upon such terms as may be deemed just.
Source. 1858, 2118:1. GS 241:13. GL 259:13. PS 252:38. PL 366:49. RL 425:49. RSA 597:39. 1967, 132:42, eff. July 18, 1967.
Recognizances Upon Arrest for Offense Committed in Another County
597:40 Recognizance for Appearance in Superior Court.
If a person is arrested in one county on a warrant for an offense alleged to have been committed in another county exceeding the jurisdiction of a justice to determine, the officer, on the arrestee's request, shall take the arrestee before a justice for the county or judicial district thereof in which the arrest was made, and, upon the arrestee's waiving examination, such justice may take the arrestee's personal recognizance or recognizance with sufficient sureties upon the terms and conditions prescribed by this chapter for the arrestee's appearance at the next term of the superior court for the county or judicial district thereof in which the offense is alleged to have been committed, and the arrestee shall return to said court certified copies of the warrant and recognizance.
Source. RS 222:16. CS 237:16. GS 236:12. GL 254:12. PS 250:12. PL 364:15. RL 423:15. RSA 597:40. 1969, 78:9. 1992, 284:77, eff. July 1, 1992.
597:41 Recognizance for Appearance Before Court or Justice Named in Warrant.
A justice before whom a party is taken pursuant to RSA 597:40 may, upon good cause shown, take the recognizance of the party to appear before the court or justice as directed in the warrant on a day and hour named, within 10 days following. He shall certify the fact upon the warrant and deliver it, with the recognizance, to the officer.
Source. GS 236:13. GL 254:13. PS 250:13. PL 364:16. RL 423:16.
597:42 Return of Recognizance, etc.
The officer shall forthwith deliver the warrant and recognizance to the justice or court before whom the warrant is returnable, who may thereupon summon before him and order to recognize any witness that he may deem necessary to appear at the same time and place.
Source. GS 236:14. GL 254:14. PS 250:14. PL 364:17. RL 423:17.
Commission on Pretrial Detention, Pretrial Scheduling, and Pretrial Services
597:43 Repealed by 2019, 143:7, eff. Nov. 1, 2020.