TITLE LXII
CRIMINAL CODE

CHAPTER 625
PRELIMINARY

Section 625:1

    625:1 Name. – This title shall be known as the Criminal Code.

Source. 1971, 518:1, eff. Nov. 1, 1973.

Section 625:2

    625:2 Effective Date. –
I. This code shall take effect on November 1, 1973.
II. Prosecution for offenses committed prior to the effective date of this code shall be governed by the prior law, which is continued in effect for that purpose as if this code were not in force; provided, however, that in any such prosecution the court may, with the consent of the defendant, impose sentence under the provisions of this code.
III. For purposes of this section, an offense was committed prior to the effective date if any of the elements of the offense occurred prior thereto.

Source. 1971, 518:1, eff. Nov. 1, 1973.

Section 625:3

    625:3 Construction of the Code. – The rule that penal statutes are to be strictly construed does not apply to this code. All provisions of this code shall be construed according to the fair import of their terms and to promote justice.

Source. 1971, 518:1, eff. Nov. 1, 1973.

Section 625:4

    625:4 Territorial Jurisdiction. –
I. Except as otherwise provided in this section, a person may be convicted under the laws of this state for any offense committed by his own conduct or by the conduct of another for which he is legally accountable if:
(a) Either conduct which is an element of the offense or the result which is such an element occurs within this state; or
(b) Conduct occurring outside this state constitutes an attempt to commit an offense under the laws of this state and the purpose is that the offense take place within this state; or
(c) Conduct occurring outside this state would constitute a criminal conspiracy under the laws of this state, and an overt act in furtherance of the conspiracy occurs within this state, and the object of the conspiracy is that an offense take place within this state; or
(d) Conduct occurring within this state would constitute complicity in the commission of, or an attempt, solicitation or conspiracy to commit an offense in another jurisdiction which is also an offense under the law of this state; or
(e) The offense consists of the omission to perform a duty imposed on a person by the law of this state regardless of where that person is when the omission occurs; or
(f) Jurisdiction is otherwise provided by law.
II. Subparagraph I(a) does not apply if:
(a) Causing a particular result or danger of causing that result is an element and the result occurs or is designed or likely to occur only in another jurisdiction where the conduct charged would not constitute an offense; or
(b) Causing a particular result is an element of an offense and the result is caused by conduct occurring outside the state which would not constitute an offense if the result had occurred there.
III. When the offense is homicide, either the death of the victim or the bodily impact causing death constitutes a "result" within the meaning of subparagraph I(a) and if the body of a homicide victim is found within this state, it is presumed that such result occurred within the state.
IV. This state includes the land and water and the air space above such land and water with respect to which the state has legislative jurisdiction.

Source. 1971, 518:1, eff. Nov. 1, 1973.

Section 625:5

    625:5 Civil Actions. – This code does not bar, suspend, or otherwise affect any right or liability for damages, penalty, forfeiture or other remedy authorized by law to be recovered or enforced in a civil action, regardless of whether the conduct involved in such civil action constitutes an offense defined in this code.

Source. 1971, 518:1, eff. Nov. 1, 1973.

Section 625:6

    625:6 All Offenses Defined by Statute. – No conduct or omission constitutes an offense unless it is a crime or violation under this code or under another statute.

Source. 1971, 518:1, eff. Nov. 1, 1973.

Section 625:7

    625:7 Application to Offenses Outside the Code. – The provisions of RSA 625 through 629 are applicable to offenses defined outside this code unless the code otherwise provides.

Source. 1971, 518:1, eff. Nov. 1, 1973.

Section 625:8

    625:8 Limitations. –
I. Except as otherwise provided in this section, prosecutions are subject to the following periods of limitations:
(a) For a class A felony, 6 years;
(b) For a class B felony, 6 years;
(c) For a misdemeanor, one year;
(d) For a violation, 3 months.
(e) For an offense defined by RSA 282-A, 6 years.
(f) For an offense defined in RSA 638:1, III-a, 2 years.
II. Murder may be prosecuted at any time.
II-a. [Repealed.]
III. If the period prescribed in paragraph I has expired, a prosecution may nevertheless be commenced:
(a) Within one year after its discovery by an aggrieved party or by a person who has a duty to represent such person and who is himself not a party to the offense for a theft where possession of the property was lawfully obtained and subsequently misappropriated or for any offense, a material element of which is either fraud or a breach of fiduciary duty.
(b) For any offense based upon misconduct in office by a public servant, at any time when the defendant is in public office or within 2 years thereafter.
(c) For any offense under RSA 208, RSA 210, or RSA 215, within 3 years thereafter.
(d) For any offense under RSA 632-A or for an offense under RSA 639:2, where the victim was under 18 years of age when the alleged offense occurred, within 22 years of the victim's eighteenth birthday.
(e) For any offense where destruction or falsification of evidence, witness tampering, or other unlawful conduct delayed discovery of the offense, within one year of the discovery of the offense.
(f) For any offense under RSA 153:24 and RSA 153:5, the state fire code, within one year of its discovery.
(g) For any offense under RSA 641:1 through 641:7, if committed with the purpose to assist in a murder, to conceal a murder, or to conceal or hinder the investigation or apprehension of an individual responsible for murder, at any time.
(h) For any violation-level offense involving a motor vehicle accident resulting in death or serious bodily injury, within 6 months of the accident.
(i) For any offense under RSA 633:7, within 20 years, except where the victim was under 18 years of age when the alleged offense occurred, in which case within 20 years of the victim's eighteenth birthday.
IV. Time begins to run on the day after all elements of an offense have occurred or, in the case of an offense comprised of a continuous course of conduct, on the day after that conduct or the defendant's complicity therein terminates.
V. A prosecution is commenced on the day when a warrant or other process is issued, an indictment returned, or an information is filed, whichever is the earliest.
VI. The period of limitations does not run:
(a) During any time when the accused is continuously absent from the state or has no reasonably ascertained place of abode or work within this state; or
(b) During any time when a prosecution is pending against the accused in this state based on the same conduct.

Source. 1971, 518:1. 1973, 370:45. 1989, 97:1. 1990, 153:2; 213:2. 1993, 215:3. 2000, 173:1. 2003, 265:3. 2007, 183:1. 2009, 100:1. 2012, 208:1. 2014, 257:4, eff. Oct. 23, 2014. 2019, 281:2, eff. Sept. 17, 2019.

Section 625:9

    625:9 Classification of Crimes. –
I. The provisions of this section govern the classification of every offense, whether defined within this code or by any other statute.
II. Every offense is either a felony, misdemeanor or violation.
(a) Felonies and misdemeanors are crimes.
(b) A violation does not constitute a crime and conviction of a violation shall not give rise to any disability or legal disadvantage based on conviction of a criminal offense.
III. A felony is murder or a crime so designated by statute within or outside this code or a crime defined by statute outside of this code where the maximum penalty provided is imprisonment in excess of one year; provided, however, that a crime defined by statute outside of this code is a felony when committed by a corporation or an unincorporated association if the maximum fine therein provided is more than $200.
(a) Felonies other than murder are either class A felonies or class B felonies when committed by an individual. Felonies committed by a corporation or an unincorporated association are unclassified.
(1) Class A felonies are crimes so designated by statute within or outside this code and any crime defined by statute outside of this code for which the maximum penalty, exclusive of fine, is imprisonment in excess of 7 years.
(2) Class B felonies are crimes so designated by statute within or outside this code and any crime defined outside of this code for which the maximum penalty, exclusive of fine, is imprisonment in excess of one year but not in excess of 7 years.
IV. Misdemeanors are either class A misdemeanors or class B misdemeanors when committed by an individual. Misdemeanors committed by a corporation or an unincorporated association are unclassified.
(a) A class A misdemeanor is any crime so designated by statute within or outside this code and any crime defined outside of this code for which the maximum penalty, exclusive of fine, is imprisonment not in excess of one year.
(b) A class B misdemeanor is any crime so designated by statute within or outside this code and any crime defined outside of this code for which the maximum penalty does not include any term of imprisonment or any fine in excess of the maximum provided for a class B misdemeanor in RSA 651:2, IV(a).
(c) Any crime designated within or outside this code as a misdemeanor without specification of the classification shall be presumed to be a class B misdemeanor unless:
(1) An element of the offense involves an "act of violence" or "threat of violence" as defined in paragraph VII;
(2) The state files a notice of intent to seek class A misdemeanor penalties on or before the date of arraignment. Such notice shall be on a form approved in accordance with RSA 490:26-d; or
(3) The misdemeanor charge is filed directly in superior court.
(d) Nothing in this paragraph shall prohibit the state from reducing any offense originally charged as a class A misdemeanor to a class B misdemeanor at any time with the agreement of the person charged.
V. A violation is an offense so designated by statute within or outside this code and, except as provided in this paragraph, any offense defined outside of this code for which there is no other penalty provided other than a fine or fine and forfeiture or other civil penalty. In the case of a corporation or an unincorporated association, offenses defined outside of this code are violations if the amount of any such fine provided does not exceed $50.
V-a. The violation of any requirement created by statute or by municipal regulation enacted pursuant to an enabling statute, where the statute neither specifies the penalty or offense classification, shall be deemed a violation, and the penalties to be imposed by the court shall be those provided for a violation under RSA 651:2.
VI. Prior to or at the time of arraignment, the state may, in its discretion, charge any offense designated a misdemeanor, as defined by paragraph IV, as a violation. At such time, the prosecutor shall make an affirmative statement to the court as to whether he intends to proceed under this paragraph. In such cases the penalties to be imposed by the court shall be those provided for a violation under RSA 651:2. This paragraph shall not apply to any offense for which a statute prescribes an enhanced penalty for a subsequent conviction of the same offense.
VII. The state may change any offense designated or defined as a class A misdemeanor as defined by paragraph IV to a class B misdemeanor, so long as no element of the offense involves an act of violence or threat of violence. The term "act of violence" means attempting to cause or purposely or recklessly causing bodily injury or serious bodily injury with or without a deadly weapon; and the term "threat of violence" means placing or attempting to place another in fear of imminent bodily injury either by physical menace or by threats to commit a crime against the person of the other. The state may change an offense pursuant to this paragraph if such change is in the interest of public safety and welfare and is not inconsistent with the societal goals of deterrence and prevention of recidivism, as follows:
(a) In its own discretion prior to or at the time of arraignment in the district court;
(b) In its own discretion following an entry of appeal in the superior court or within 20 days thereafter;
(c) With the agreement of the person charged at any other time; or
(d) In its own discretion, following entry of a complaint at a regional jury trial court or within 21 days thereafter.
VIII. If a person convicted of a class A misdemeanor has been sentenced and such sentence does not include any period of actual incarceration or a suspended or deferred jail sentence or any fine in excess of the maximum provided for a class B misdemeanor in RSA 651:2, IV(a), the court shall record such conviction and sentence as a class B misdemeanor.

Source. 1971, 518:1. 1973, 370:26-28. 1983, 382:7. 1988, 225:2. 1992, 269:1, 2. 1995, 277:21. 1996, 93:1. 2001, 274:5. 2006, 64:3. 2009, 142:1, 2, eff. Oct. 1, 2009. 2019, 121:1, eff. Jan. 1, 2020.

Section 625:10

    625:10 Burden of Proof. – No person may be convicted of an offense unless each element of such offense is proved beyond a reasonable doubt. In the absence of such proof, the innocence of the defendant is assumed.

Source. 1971, 518:1, eff. Nov. 1, 1973.

Section 625:11

    625:11 General Definitions. –
The following definitions apply to this code.
I. "Conduct" means an action or omission, and its accompanying state of mind, or, a series of acts or omissions.
II. "Person", "he", and "actor" include any natural person and, a corporation or an unincorporated association.
III. "Element of an offense" means such conduct, or such attendant circumstances, or such a result of conduct as:
(a) Is included in the definition of the offense; or
(b) Establishes the required kind of culpability; or
(c) Negatives an excuse or justification for such conduct; or
(d) Negatives a defense under the statute of limitations; or
(e) Establishes jurisdiction or venue.
IV. "Material element of an offense" means an element that does not relate exclusively to the statute of limitations, jurisdiction, venue or to any other matter similarly unrelated to (1) the harm sought to be prevented by the definition of the offense, or (2) any justification or excuse for the prescribed conduct.
V. "Deadly weapon" means any firearm, knife or other substance or thing which, in the manner it is used, intended to be used, or threatened to be used, is known to be capable of producing death or serious bodily injury.
VI. "Serious bodily injury" means any harm to the body which causes severe, permanent or protracted loss of or impairment to the health or of the function of any part of the body.

Source. 1971, 518:1, eff. Nov. 1, 1973.