TITLE XII
PUBLIC SAFETY AND WELFARE

CHAPTER 173-B
PROTECTION OF PERSONS FROM DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

Section 173-B:1

    173-B:1 Definitions. –
In this chapter:
I. "Abuse" means the commission or attempted commission of one or more of the acts described in subparagraphs (a) through (h) by a family or household member or by a current or former sexual or intimate partner, where such conduct is determined to constitute a credible present threat to the petitioner's safety. The court may consider evidence of such acts, regardless of their proximity in time to the filing of the petition, which, in combination with recent conduct, reflects an ongoing pattern of behavior which reasonably causes or has caused the petitioner to fear for his or her safety or well-being:
(a) Assault or reckless conduct as defined in RSA 631:1 through RSA 631:3.
(b) Criminal threatening as defined in RSA 631:4.
(c) Sexual assault as defined in RSA 632-A:2 through RSA 632-A:5.
(d) Interference with freedom as defined in RSA 633:1 through RSA 633:3-a.
(e) Destruction of property as defined in RSA 634:1 and RSA 634:2.
(f) Unauthorized entry as defined in RSA 635:1 and RSA 635:2.
(g) Harassment as defined in RSA 644:4.
(h) Cruelty to animals as defined in RSA 644:8.
II. "Applicant" means any private, town, city, or regional agency or organization applying for funds under RSA 173-B:16.
III. "Commissioner" means the commissioner of the department of health and human services.
IV. "Contact" means any action to communicate with another either directly or indirectly, including, but not limited to, using any form of electronic communication, leaving items, or causing another to communicate in such fashion.
V. "Coordinator" means the agency or organization appointed by the commissioner to administer the domestic violence grant program.
VI. "Cross orders for relief" means separate orders granted to parties in a domestic violence situation where each of the parties has filed a petition pursuant to this chapter on allegations arising from the same incident or incidents of domestic violence.
VII. "Deadly weapon" means "deadly weapon" as defined in RSA 625:11, V.
VIII. "Department" means the department of health and human services.
IX. "Domestic violence" means abuse as defined in RSA 173-B:1, I.
X. "Family or household member" means:
(a) Spouses, ex-spouses, persons cohabiting with each other, and persons who cohabited with each other but who no longer share the same residence.
(b) Parents and other persons related by consanguinity or affinity, other than minor children who reside with the defendant.
XI. "Firearm" means any weapon, including a starter gun, which will, is designed to, or may readily be converted to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive.
XII. "Foreign protective order" means an order enforceable under RSA 173-B:13.
XIII. "Fund" means the special fund for domestic violence programs established by RSA 173-B:15.
XIV. "Grantee" means any private, town, city, or regional agency or organization receiving funds under RSA 173-B:16.
XV. "Intimate partners" means persons currently or formerly involved in a romantic relationship, whether or not such relationship was ever sexually consummated.
XVI. "Mutual order for relief" means an order restraining both parties from abusing the other originating from a petition filed by one of the parties and arising from the same incident or incidents of domestic violence.
XVII. "Program" means services or facilities provided to domestic violence victims.

Source. 1999, 240:3. 2010, 289:1, eff. Jan. 1, 2011. 2014, 238:1, 2, eff. July 21, 2014. 2018, 324:2, eff. Aug. 24, 2018.

Section 173-B:2

    173-B:2 Jurisdiction and Venue. –
I. The district division and the judicial branch family division of the circuit courts shall have concurrent jurisdiction over all proceedings under this chapter.
II. If the plaintiff has left the household or premises to avoid further abuse, the plaintiff shall have the option to commence proceedings pursuant to RSA 173-B:3 in the county or district where the plaintiff temporarily resides.
III. Proceedings under this chapter may be transferred to another court upon the motion of any party or of the court as the interests of justice or the convenience of the parties may require.
IV. [Repealed.]

Source. 1999, 240:3. 2013, 62:1, 10, I, eff. Jan. 1, 2014.

Section 173-B:3

    173-B:3 Commencement of Proceedings; Hearing. –
I. Any person may seek relief pursuant to RSA 173-B:5 by filing a petition, in the county or district where the plaintiff or defendant resides, alleging abuse by the defendant. Any person filing a petition containing false allegations of abuse shall be subject to criminal penalties. Notice of the pendency of the action and of the facts alleged against the defendant shall be given to the defendant, either personally or as provided in paragraph III. The plaintiff shall be permitted to supplement or amend the petition only if the defendant is provided an opportunity prior to the hearing to respond to the supplemental or amended petition. All petitions filed under this section shall include the home and work telephone numbers of the defendant, if known. Notice of the whereabouts of the plaintiff shall not be revealed except by order of the court for good cause shown. Any answer by the defendant shall be filed with the court and a copy shall be provided to the plaintiff by the court.
II. (a) The minority of the plaintiff shall not preclude the court from issuing protective orders against a present or former intimate partner, spouse, or ex-spouse under this chapter.
(b) A minor plaintiff need not be accompanied by a parent or guardian to receive relief or services under this chapter.
III. No filing fee or fee for service of process shall be charged for a petition or response under this section, and the plaintiff or defendant may proceed without legal counsel. Either a peace officer or the sheriff's department shall serve process under this section. Any proceeding under this chapter shall not preclude any other available civil or criminal remedy.
IV. The clerks of the circuit courts shall supply forms for petitions and for relief under this chapter designed to facilitate pro se proceedings. All such petitions shall contain the following words: I swear that the foregoing information is true and correct to the best of my knowledge. I understand that making a false statement on this petition will subject me to criminal penalties.
V. [Repealed.]
VI. The findings of facts shall be final, but questions of law may be transferred from the circuit court to the supreme court.
VII. (a) The court shall hold a hearing within 30 days of the filing of a petition under this section or within 10 days of service of process upon the defendant, whichever occurs later.
(b) The time frame established in this paragraph may be extended for an additional 10 days upon motion by either party for good cause shown. A recusal by the judge or any act of God or closing of the court that interferes with the originally scheduled hearing shall not be cause for the dismissal of the petition. The court shall reschedule any hearing under this section in an expeditious manner.
VIII. In any proceeding under this chapter, the court shall not be bound by the technical rules of evidence and may admit evidence which it considers relevant and material.

Source. 1999, 240:3. 2007, 284:1. 2013, 62:2, 3, 10, II, eff. Jan. 1, 2014.

Section 173-B:4

    173-B:4 Temporary Relief. –
I. Upon a showing of an immediate and present danger of abuse, the court may enter temporary orders to protect the plaintiff with or without actual notice to defendant. The court may issue such temporary orders by telephone or facsimile. Such telephonically issued orders shall be made by a circuit court judge to a law enforcement officer, shall be valid in any jurisdiction in the state, and shall be effective until the close of the next regular court business day. Such orders shall be returnable to the circuit court where the plaintiff resides or to which the plaintiff has fled, unless otherwise ordered by the issuing judge. If non-telephonic temporary orders are made ex parte, the party against whom such relief is issued may file a written request with the clerk of the court and request a hearing on such orders. Such hearing shall be held no less than 3 business days and no more than 5 business days after the request is received by the clerk. Such hearings may constitute the final hearing described in RSA 173-B:3, VII. Such temporary relief may direct the defendant to relinquish to a peace officer any and all firearms and ammunition in the control, ownership, or possession of the defendant, or any other person on behalf of the defendant for the duration of the protective order. Other temporary relief may include:
(a) Protective orders:
(1) Restraining the defendant from abusing the plaintiff.
(2) Restraining the defendant from entering the premises and curtilage where the plaintiff resides, except when the defendant is accompanied by a peace officer and, upon reasonable notice to the plaintiff, is allowed entry by the plaintiff for the sole purpose of retrieving toiletries, medication, clothing, business equipment, and any other items as determined by the court.
(3) Restraining the defendant from withholding items of the plaintiff's personal property which are specified in the order. A peace officer shall accompany the plaintiff in retrieving such property to protect the plaintiff.
(4) Awarding custody of minor children to either party or, upon actual notice, to the department when it is in the best interest of a child.
(5) Denying the defendant visitation, ordering that visitation shall take place only at a supervised visitation center that uses a metal detection device and has trained security personnel on-site, ordering that visitation shall be supervised, or ordering a specific visitation schedule. Visitation shall only be ordered on an ex parte basis where such order can be entered consistent with the following requirements. In determining whether visitation can be safely ordered, the court shall consider the following factors:
(A) The degree to which visitation exposes the plaintiff or the children to physical or psychological harm.
(B) Whether the risk of physical or psychological harm can be removed by ordering supervised visitation or by ordering supervised visitation at a center that uses a metal detection device and has trained security personnel on-site.
(C) Whether visitation can be ordered without requiring the plaintiff and defendant to have contact regarding the exchange of children.
(6) Restraining the defendant from contacting the plaintiff or entering the plaintiff's place of employment, school, or any specified place frequented regularly by the plaintiff or by any family or household member.
(7) Restraining the defendant from abusing the plaintiff, plaintiff's relatives, regardless of their place of residence, or plaintiff's household members in any way.
(8) Restraining the defendant from taking, converting, or damaging property in which the plaintiff may have a legal or equitable interest.
(9) Directing the defendant to relinquish to the peace officer, in addition to the relief specified in RSA 173-B:4, I, any and all deadly weapons specified in the protective order that are in the control, ownership, or possession of the defendant, or any other person on behalf of the defendant, for the duration of the protective order.
(10) Granting the petitioner exclusive care, custody, or control of any animal owned, possessed, leased, kept, or held by the petitioner, defendant, or a minor child in either household, and ordering the defendant to stay away from the animal and forbidding the defendant from taking, transferring, encumbering, concealing, committing an act of cruelty or neglect, or disposing of the animal.
(b) Other relief, including but not limited to:
(1) Awarding to the plaintiff the exclusive use and possession of an automobile, home, and household furniture, if the defendant has the legal duty to support the plaintiff or the plaintiff's minor children, or the plaintiff has contributed to the household expenses. The court shall consider the type and amount of contribution to be a factor.
(2) Restraining the defendant from taking any action which would lead to the disconnection of any and all utilities and services to the parties' household, or the discontinuance of existing business or service contracts, including, but not limited to, mortgage or rental agreements.
II. The defendant may be prohibited from purchasing, receiving, or possessing any deadly weapons and any and all firearms and ammunition for the duration of the order. The court may subsequently issue a search warrant authorizing the peace officer to seize any deadly weapons specified in the protective order and any and all firearms and ammunition, if there is probable cause to believe such firearms and ammunition and specified deadly weapons are kept on the premises or curtilage of the defendant and if the court has reason to believe that all such firearms and ammunition and specified deadly weapons have not been relinquished by the defendant.

Source. 1999, 240:3. 2013, 62:4, eff. Jan. 1, 2014. 2014, 107:1, eff. June 11, 2014; 238:3, eff. July 21, 2014.

Section 173-B:5

    173-B:5 Relief. –
I. A finding of abuse shall mean the defendant represents a credible threat to the safety of the plaintiff. Upon a showing of abuse of the plaintiff by a preponderance of the evidence, the court shall grant such relief as is necessary to bring about a cessation of abuse. Such relief shall direct the defendant to relinquish to the peace officer any and all firearms and ammunition in the control, ownership, or possession of the defendant, or any other person on behalf of the defendant for the duration of the protective order. Other relief may include:
(a) Protective orders:
(1) Restraining the defendant from abusing the plaintiff.
(2) Restraining the defendant from entering the premises and curtilage where the plaintiff resides, except when the defendant is accompanied by a peace officer and is allowed entry by the plaintiff for the sole purpose of retrieving personal property specified by the court.
(3) Restraining the defendant from contacting the plaintiff or entering the plaintiff's place of employment, school, or any specified place frequented regularly by the plaintiff or by any family or household member.
(4) Restraining the defendant from abusing the plaintiff, plaintiff's relatives, regardless of their place of residence, or plaintiff's household members in any way.
(5) Restraining the defendant from taking, converting, or damaging property in which the plaintiff may have a legal or equitable interest.
(6) Directing the defendant to relinquish to the peace officer, in addition to the relief specified in RSA 173-B:5, I, any and all deadly weapons specified in the protective order that are in the control, ownership, or possession of the defendant, or any other person on behalf of the defendant.
(7) Granting the petitioner exclusive care, custody, or control of any animal owned, possessed, leased, kept, or held by the petitioner, defendant, or a minor child in either household, and ordering the defendant to stay away from the animal and forbidding the defendant from taking, transferring, encumbering, concealing, committing an act of cruelty or neglect, or disposing of the animal.
(b) Other relief including, but not limited to:
(1) Granting the plaintiff the exclusive use and possession of the premises and curtilage of the plaintiff's place of residence, unless the defendant exclusively owns or leases and pays for the premises and the defendant has no legal duty to support the plaintiff or minor children on the premises.
(2) Restraining the defendant from withholding items of the plaintiff's personal property specified by the court. A peace officer shall accompany the plaintiff in retrieving such property to protect the plaintiff.
(3) Granting to the plaintiff the exclusive right of use and possession of the household furniture, furnishings, or a specific automobile, unless the defendant exclusively owns such personal property and the defendant has no legal duty to support the plaintiff or minor children.
(4) Ordering the defendant to make automobile, insurance, health care, utilities, rent, or mortgage payments.
(5) Awarding temporary custody of the parties' minor children to either party or, where appropriate, to the department, provided that:
(A) Where custody of the parties' minor children with the department may be appropriate, the department shall receive actual notice of the hearing 10 days prior to such hearing provided that, if necessary, such hearing may be continued 10 days to provide the department adequate notice.
(B) The department may move at any time to rescind its custody of the parties' minor children.
(6) Establishing visitation rights with regard to the parties' minor children. The court shall consider, and may impose on a custody award, conditions necessary to assure the safety of the plaintiff and minor children. This may include orders denying visitation, requiring supervised visitation that shall take place only at a visitation center that uses a metal detection device and has trained security personnel on-site, or requiring supervised visitation, where such order can be entered consistent with the following requirements. In determining whether visitation shall be granted, the court shall consider whether visitation can be exercised by the non-custodial parent without risk to the plaintiff's or children's safety. In making such determination, the court shall consider, in addition to any other relevant factors, the following:
(A) The degree to which visitation exposes the plaintiff or the children to physical or psychological harm.
(B) Whether the risk of physical or psychological harm can be removed by ordering supervised visitation or by ordering supervised visitation at a center that uses a metal detection device and has trained security personnel on-site.
(C) Whether visitation can be ordered without requiring the plaintiff and defendant to have contact regarding the exchange of children.
(7) Directing the defendant to pay financial support to the plaintiff or minor children, unless the defendant has no legal duty to support the plaintiff or minor children.
(8) Directing the abuser to engage in a batterer's intervention program or personal counseling. If available, such intervention and counseling program shall focus on alternatives to aggression. The court shall not direct the plaintiff to engage in joint counseling services with the defendant. Court-ordered and court-referred mediation of cases involving domestic violence shall be prohibited.
(9) Ordering the defendant to pay the plaintiff monetary compensation for losses suffered as a direct result of the abuse which may include, but not be limited to, loss of earnings or support, medical and dental expenses, damage to property, out-of-pocket losses for injuries sustained, and moving and shelter expenses.
(10) Ordering the defendant to pay reasonable attorney's fees.
II. The defendant shall be prohibited from purchasing, receiving, or possessing any deadly weapons and any and all firearms and ammunition for the duration of the order. The court may subsequently issue a search warrant authorizing a peace officer to seize any deadly weapons specified in the protective order and any and all firearms and ammunition, if there is probable cause to believe such firearms and ammunition and specified deadly weapons are kept on the premises or curtilage of the defendant.
III. Reconciliation after a previous order, prior to filing the current action, shall not be grounds for denying or terminating a new or existing protective order. Furthermore, the court shall not deny the plaintiff protective orders based solely on a lapse of time between an act of domestic violence and the filing of a petition, provided that the underlying act presents a credible threat to the plaintiff's current safety.
IV. No order made under this section shall supersede or affect any court order pertaining to the possession of a residence; household furniture; custody of children pursuant to RSA 169-B, 169-C, or 169-D; support or custody made under RSA 458; or custody of children of unwed parents as determined by a circuit court, or title to real or personal property.
V. (a) Mutual orders for relief shall not be granted. A foreign mutual order for relief shall only be granted full faith and credit in New Hampshire if it meets the requirements set out in RSA 173-B:13, VII.
(b) Cross orders for relief may be granted only if:
(1) The court has made specific findings that each party has committed abuse against the other; and
(2) The court cannot determine who is the primary physical aggressor.
VI. Any order under this section shall be for a fixed period of time not to exceed one year, but may be extended by order of the court upon a motion by the plaintiff, showing good cause, with notice to the defendant, for one year after the expiration of the first order and thereafter each extension may be for up to 5 years, upon the request of the plaintiff and at the discretion of the court. The court shall review the order, and each renewal thereof and shall grant such relief as may be necessary to provide for the safety and well-being of the plaintiff. A defendant shall have the right to a hearing on the extension of any order under this paragraph to be held within 30 days of the extension. The court shall state in writing, at the respondent's request, its reason or reasons for granting the extension. The court shall retain jurisdiction to enforce and collect the financial support obligation which accrued prior to the expiration of the protective order.
VII. Both parties shall be issued written copies of any orders issued by the court, and all orders shall bear the following language: "A willful violation of this order is a crime, as well as contempt of court. Violations of the protective provisions shall result in arrest and may result in imprisonment." Orders shall clearly state how any party can request a further hearing and how the plaintiff may bring a criminal complaint or a petition for contempt if there is a violation of any court order.
VIII. (a) No order issued under this chapter shall be modified other than by the court. Temporary reconciliations shall not revoke an order.
(b) If either party wishes the defendant to be excused from any provisions of an order of protection, the remedy is to petition the court for modification of such order.
(c) A defendant who is restrained from contacting the plaintiff or entering the premises of the plaintiff is prohibited from doing so even if invited by the plaintiff unless the restraining order has been modified by the court.
(d) This paragraph shall give unequivocal direction to peace officers that orders for protection are to be enforced as written and that no action by a party relieves them of the duty to enforce the order.
VIII-a. Upon issuing an order against a defendant, in which a defendant is restrained from having any contact with the plaintiff, the court shall advise the plaintiff that it would be unwise and possibly unsafe for the plaintiff to contact the defendant. If the plaintiff wishes to contact the defendant for any reason, the court shall advise the plaintiff that such contact be made only after petitioning the court for a modification of the order. In an emergency situation, the plaintiff or plaintiff's family may request that the local police department notify the defendant and the local police may accompany the defendant to a designated location, such as a hospital, if appropriate.
IX. (a) A copy of each protective order issued under this chapter shall be transmitted to the administrative office of the courts by facsimile or computer. An emergency protective order issued telephonically shall be transmitted by telephone or facsimile to the department of safety.
(b) The administrative office of the courts shall enter information regarding the protective orders into the state database which shall be made available to police and sheriff departments statewide. The department of safety shall make available information regarding emergency protective orders issued telephonically to police and sheriff departments statewide.
(c) The administrative office of the courts shall update the database upon expiration or termination of a protective order.
(d) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the administrative office of the courts or the department of safety, its employees and agents, and law enforcement officials shall not be held criminally or civilly liable for action taken under this chapter or RSA 458:16, provided they are acting in good faith and without gross negligence, and within the scope of their duties and authority.
IX-a. If a criminal records check conducted by the department of safety indicates that a potential buyer or transferee is prohibited from receipt or possession of a firearm pursuant to a protective order issued under this chapter, the department of safety shall notify the administrative office of the courts of the denial. The administrative office of the courts shall immediately notify the plaintiff that the defendant has attempted to purchase or obtain a firearm in violation of the protective order.
X. (a) Within 15 days prior to the expiration of the protective orders, the defendant may request, by motion to the court, the return of any and all firearms and ammunition and specified deadly weapons held by the law enforcement agency while the protective order was in effect. Upon receipt of such a motion, the court shall schedule a hearing no later than 15 days after the expiration of the order. The court shall provide written notice to the plaintiff who shall have the right to appear and be heard, and to the law enforcement agency which has control of the firearms, ammunition, and specified deadly weapons. The scope of the hearing shall be limited to:
(1) Establishing whether the defendant is subject to any state or federal law or court order that precludes the defendant from owning or possessing a firearm; and
(2) Under circumstances where the plaintiff has requested an extension of the protective order, whether the plaintiff has established by a preponderance of the evidence that the defendant continues to represent a credible threat to the safety of the plaintiff.
(b) If the court finds that the defendant is not subject to any state or federal law or court order precluding the ownership or possession of firearms, or if the court denies the plaintiff's request to extend the protective order, the court shall issue a written order directing the law enforcement agency to return the requested firearms, ammunition, or deadly weapon to the defendant.
(c) Law enforcement agencies shall not release firearms and ammunition and specified deadly weapons without a court order granting such release. The law enforcement agency may charge the defendant a reasonable fee for the storage of any firearms and ammunition and specified deadly weapons taken pursuant to a protective order. The fee shall not exceed the actual cost incurred by the law enforcement agency for the storage of the firearms and ammunition and specified deadly weapons. The defendant may make alternative arrangements with a federally licensed firearms dealer for the storage of firearms, at the defendant's own expense, upon approval of the court. Such firearms shall be turned over to the appropriate law enforcement agency for transfer to the storage facility. Retrieval of such firearms shall be through the law enforcement agency responsible for their transfer to the storage facility pursuant to a court order as prescribed in this paragraph.
(d) No law enforcement agency shall be held liable for alleged damage or deterioration due to storage or transportation to any firearms and ammunition and specified deadly weapons held by a law enforcement agency, so long as due care is used.

Source. 1999, 240:3. 2000, 230:1. 2001, 189:2. 2004, 206:1. 2005, 284:1. 2006, 214:4. 2013, 62:5, eff. Jan. 1, 2014. 2014, 107:2, eff. June 11, 2014; 238:4, eff. July 21, 2014.

Section 173-B:5-a

    173-B:5-a Permissible Contact. –
I. A protective order issued pursuant to RSA 173-B:4 or RSA 173-B:5 shall not be construed to prohibit an attorney, or any person acting on the attorney's behalf, who is representing the defendant in an action brought under this chapter, or in any criminal proceeding concerning the abuse alleged under this chapter, from contacting the plaintiff for a legitimate purpose within the scope of the civil or criminal proceeding; provided, that the attorney or person acting on behalf of the attorney: identifies himself or herself as a representative of the defendant; acknowledges the existence of the protective order and informs the plaintiff that he or she has no obligation to speak; terminates contact with the plaintiff if the plaintiff expresses an unwillingness to talk; and ensures that any personal contact with the plaintiff occurs outside of the defendant's presence, unless the court has modified the protective order to permit such contact.
II. A no-contact provision in a protective order issued pursuant to RSA 173-B:4 or RSA 173-B:5 shall not be construed to:
(a) Prevent contact between counsel for represented parties; or
(b) Prevent a party from appearing at a scheduled court or administrative hearing; or
(c) Prevent a defendant or defendant's counsel from sending the plaintiff copies of any legal pleadings filed in court relating to the domestic violence petition or related civil or criminal matters.
III. A violation of this section may result in a finding of contempt of court.

Source. 2006, 214:1, eff. July 31, 2006.

Section 173-B:6

    173-B:6 Guardian Ad Litem. – In all proceedings under this chapter, the court may appoint a guardian ad litem to represent the interests of the children of either or both parties. The guardian ad litem may continue to serve after the final disposition of the case.

Source. 1999, 240:3, eff. Jan. 1, 2000.

Section 173-B:7

    173-B:7 Minority Not a Preclusion for Services. – The minority of any individual seeking assistance from any domestic violence program, as defined by RSA 173-B:1, shall not preclude provision of such requested services.

Source. 1999, 240:3, eff. Jan. 1, 2000.

Section 173-B:8

    173-B:8 Notification. –
I. A copy of any order made under this chapter which prohibits any person from abusing another shall be promptly transmitted to the local law enforcement agency having jurisdiction to enforce such order.
II. Temporary orders shall be promptly served on the defendant by a peace officer. Subsequent orders shall be sent to the defendant's last address of record. The defendant shall be responsible for informing the court of any changes of address. Law enforcement agencies shall establish procedures whereby a peace officer at the scene of an alleged violation of such an order may be informed of the existence and terms of such order.
III. Any court-ordered changes or modifications of the order shall be effective upon issuance of such changes or modifications, and shall be mailed or otherwise provided to the appropriate local law enforcement agency and transmitted to the department of safety within 24 hours of the entry of such changes or modifications.

Source. 1999, 240:3, eff. Jan. 1, 2000.

Section 173-B:9

    173-B:9 Violation of Protective Order; Penalty. –
I. (a) When the defendant violates either a temporary or permanent protective order issued or enforced under this chapter, peace officers shall arrest the defendant and ensure that the defendant is detained until arraignment, provided that in extreme circumstances, such as when the health of the defendant would be jeopardized by the temporary detention, a judge in response to a request by the arresting law enforcement officer or agency, may order an alternative to detention pending arraignment. Such arrests may be made within 12 hours without a warrant upon probable cause, whether or not the violation is committed in the presence of a peace officer.
(b) Subsequent to an arrest, the peace officer shall seize any firearms and ammunition in the control, ownership, or possession of the defendant and any deadly weapons which may have been used, or were threatened to be used, during the violation of the protective order. The law enforcement agency shall maintain possession of the firearms, ammunition, or deadly weapons until the court issues an order directing that the firearms, ammunition, or deadly weapons be relinquished and specifying the person to whom the firearms and ammunition or deadly weapons will be relinquished.
II. The prosecution and sentencing for criminal contempt for a violation of a protective order shall not preclude the prosecution of or sentencing for other criminal charges underlying the contempt.
III. A person shall be guilty of a class A misdemeanor if such person knowingly violates a protective order issued under this chapter, or RSA 458:16, III, or any foreign protective order enforceable under the laws of this state. Charges made under this chapter shall not be reduced to a lesser charge, as permitted in other instances under RSA 625:9.
IV. Any person convicted under RSA 173-B:9, III, or who has been convicted in another jurisdiction of violating a protective order enforceable under the laws of this state, who, within 6 years of such conviction or the completion of the sentence imposed for such conviction, whichever is later, subsequently commits and is convicted of one or more offenses involving abuse may be charged with an enhanced penalty for each subsequent offense as follows:
(a) There shall be no enhanced charge under this section if the subsequent offense is a class A felony or an unclassified felony;
(b) If the subsequent offense would otherwise constitute a class B felony, it may be charged as a class A felony;
(c) If the subsequent offense would otherwise constitute a class A misdemeanor, it may be charged as a class B felony;
(d) If the subsequent offense would otherwise constitute a class B misdemeanor, it may be charged as a class A misdemeanor;
(e) If the subsequent offense would otherwise constitute a violation, it may be charged as a class B misdemeanor.
V. A victim of domestic violence shall be entitled to all rights granted to victims of crime under RSA 21-M:8-k.

Source. 1999, 240:3. 2002, 79:1. 2003, 219:1, eff. Jan. 1, 2004.

Section 173-B:10

    173-B:10 Protection by Peace Officers. –
I. Whenever any peace officer has probable cause to believe that a person has been abused, as defined in RSA 173-B:1, that officer shall use all means within reason to prevent further abuse including, but not limited to:
(a) Confiscating any deadly weapons involved in the alleged domestic abuse and any firearms and ammunition in the defendant's control, ownership, or possession.
(b) Transporting or obtaining transportation for the victim and any child, to a designated place to meet with a domestic violence counselor, local family member, or friend.
(c) Assisting the victim in removing toiletries, medication, clothing, business equipment, and any other items determined by the court.
(d) Giving the victim immediate and written notice of the rights of victims and of the remedies and services available to victims of domestic violence. The written notice shall include a statement substantially as follows:
"If you are the victim of domestic violence and you believe that law enforcement protection is needed for your physical safety, you have the right to request that the officer assist in providing for your safety, including asking for an emergency telephonic order for protection. You may also request that the officer assist you in obtaining from your premises and curtilage, toiletries, medication, clothing, business equipment, and any other items as determined by the court, and in locating and taking you to a local safe place including, but not limited to, a designated meeting place to be used as a crisis center, a family member's or friend's residence, or a similar place of safety. If you are in need of medical treatment, you have the right to request that the officer assist you in obtaining an ambulance. You may request a copy of the report filed by the peace officer, at no cost, from the law enforcement department."
II. Pursuant to RSA 594:10, an arrest for abuse may be made without a warrant upon probable cause, whether or not the abuse is committed in the presence of the peace officer. When the peace officer has probable cause to believe that the persons are committing or have committed abuse against each other, the officer need not arrest both persons, but should arrest the person the officer believes to be the primary physical aggressor. In determining who is the primary physical aggressor, an officer shall consider the intent of this chapter to protect the victims of domestic violence, the relative degree of injury or fear inflicted on the persons involved, and any history of domestic abuse between these persons if that history can reasonably be obtained by the officer.

Source. 1999, 240:3, eff. Jan. 1, 2000.

Section 173-B:11

    173-B:11 Notice to the Victim. –
I. Notwithstanding the peace officer's obligations in RSA 173-B:9 and RSA 173-B:10, all peace officers shall give victims of abuse immediate and adequate notice of their right to go to the circuit court of their county to file a petition asking for protective orders against the abusive person and to seek a private criminal complaint.
II. The clerk of the court shall be responsible for advising victims of their right to request that the judge issue an order which may include removing any and all firearms and ammunition in the control, ownership, or possession of the defendant and may include:
(a) Restraining the defendant from abusing the victim.
(b) Directing the defendant to leave and stay away from the victim's premises and curtilage.
(c) Giving the victim custody of any minor children, denying the defendant visitation, or requiring that visitation be supervised to ensure safety for the victim and minor children.
(d) Directing the defendant to support the victim and any minor children if the defendant has the legal responsibility to support either or both.
(e) Restraining the defendant from contacting the victim, or entering the victim's place of employment, school, or any specified place frequented regularly by the victim or by any family or household member.
(f) Restraining the defendant from abusing, in any way, the victim, household members, or victim's relatives, regardless of their place of residence.
(g) Restraining the defendant from taking, converting, or damaging property in which the victim may have a legal or equitable interest.
(h) Directing the defendant to temporarily relinquish to the peace officer specific deadly weapons in the control, ownership, or possession of the defendant which may have been used, or were threatened to be used, in an incident of abuse against the victim or any member of the victim's household.
(i) Ordering the defendant to pay the victim monetary compensation for losses suffered as a direct result of the abuse which may include, but not be limited to, loss of earnings or support, medical and dental expenses, damage to property, out-of-pocket losses for injuries sustained, and moving and shelter expenses.
(j) Ordering the defendant to pay reasonable attorney's fees.

Source. 1999, 240:3. 2013, 62:6, eff. Jan. 1, 2014.

Section 173-B:12

    173-B:12 Emergency Care; Limitation and Liability. – Any act or omission of any peace officer rendering emergency care or assistance to a victim of domestic violence including, but not limited to transportation, shall not impose civil liability upon the peace officer or the peace officer's supervisors or employer if the care or assistance is rendered in good faith, unless the act or omission is a result of gross negligence or willful misconduct.

Source. 1999, 240:3, eff. Jan. 1, 2000.

Section 173-B:13

    173-B:13 Orders Enforceable. –
I. Any protective order issued under this chapter shall be effective throughout the state.
II. Any protective order issued by any other state, tribal, or territorial court related to domestic or family violence, including an ex parte order, shall be deemed valid if the issuing court had jurisdiction over the parties and matter under the law of the state, tribe, or territory, and the person against whom the order was made was given reasonable notice and opportunity to be heard. There shall be a presumption of validity where an order appears facially valid.
III. Any valid protective order, as defined in paragraph II, shall be accorded full faith and credit throughout the state.
IV. A person entitled to protection under a foreign protective order, as defined in paragraph II, may file such order in any circuit court by filing with the court a certified copy of the order. Such person shall swear under oath in an affidavit to the best of such person's knowledge that the order is presently in effect as written. Such filing shall be without fee or cost. The clerk of the circuit court shall forward such order to the administrative office of the courts which shall enter such order in the state database. Such filing shall not be a precondition to arrest or enforcement of a foreign order.
V. A peace officer may rely upon a copy of any protective order issued under this chapter, or under RSA 458, or upon a copy of a foreign protective order, as defined in this section, which has been provided to the peace officer by any source.
VI. Law enforcement personnel may rely on the statement of the person protected by the order that the order remains in effect as written.
VII. A mutual protective order issued by any other state, tribal, or territorial court against one who has petitioned, filed a complaint, or otherwise filed a written pleading for protection relating to domestic or family violence shall be accorded full faith and credit only if:
(a) A cross or counter petition, complaint, or other written pleading was filed seeking such protection order; and
(b) The court made specific findings of domestic or family violence by both parties and that each party was entitled to such order.

Source. 1999, 240:3. 2001, 189:3. 2013, 62:7, eff. Jan. 1, 2014.

Section 173-B:14

    173-B:14 Orders of Support. –
I. In any action determining the obligation of the obligor to support the obligee or the parties' minor children including, but not limited to, actions for divorce pursuant to RSA 458; determination of parental rights and responsibilities pursuant to RSA 461-A; paternity pursuant to RSA 168-A; child support pursuant to RSA 161-B, RSA 161-C, and RSA 458; reimbursement of public assistance pursuant to RSA 161-C; and the uniform interstate family support act pursuant to RSA 546-B; the court shall take judicial notice of any support obligation established pursuant to this chapter upon the filing of a certified copy of the order by:
(a) Either party to the domestic violence proceeding.
(b) The department.
(c) Any other agency or person legally entitled to enforce the obligation of support for the minor children.
II. Any circuit court order for financial support shall include enforcement of any duly filed circuit court order from the date of filing forward, and shall include enforcement of any arrears which have been:
(a) Reduced to judgment by the circuit court;
(b) Documented by the department pursuant to an order to make payable through the department; or
(c) Documented by the obligee in a notarized statement, provided that the obligor shall have 30 days to object and request a hearing on the issue of arrears.

Source. 1999, 240:3. 2005, 273:13. 2013, 62:8, eff. Jan. 1, 2014.

Section 173-B:15

    173-B:15 Fund for Domestic Violence Grant Program. – A special fund for domestic violence programs is established. The sole purpose of the fund shall be to provide revenues for the domestic violence program established in RSA 173-B:16, and shall not be available for any other purpose. The state treasurer shall deposit all fees received by the department under RSA 457:29 in the fund. All moneys deposited in the fund shall be continually appropriated for the purposes of the domestic violence grant program and shall not lapse.

Source. 1999, 240:3, eff. Jan. 1, 2000.

Section 173-B:16

    173-B:16 Grant Program Established. – A grant program is established within the department for the allocation of grant money to New Hampshire programs which provide aid and assistance to victims of domestic violence. The grant program shall be funded by the fund established under RSA 173-B:15.

Source. 1999, 240:3, eff. Jan. 1, 2000.

Section 173-B:17

    173-B:17 Duties of the Commissioner. –
The commissioner shall:
I. Administer the grant program established in RSA 173-B:16 through a coordinator. The costs of administration shall be covered by the fund, and shall not exceed 2 percent.
II. Adopt rules, under RSA 541-A, relative to procedures under which interested New Hampshire programs may apply for funding.
III. Appoint the coordinator.
IV. Enter into a contract with the coordinator, subject to the approval of the governor and council.

Source. 1999, 240:3, eff. Jan. 1, 2000.

Section 173-B:18

    173-B:18 Selection of Coordinator. – The commissioner shall be satisfied that the organization or agency chosen as the coordinator shall be qualified to provide at least those services listed in RSA 173-B:20.

Source. 1999, 240:3, eff. Jan. 1, 2000.

Section 173-B:19

    173-B:19 Compensation for Coordinating Domestic Violence Grant Program. – Compensation for the functions and duties of coordinating the program shall not exceed 30 percent of the total revenues of the fund.

Source. 1999, 240:3, eff. Jan. 1, 2000.

Section 173-B:20

    173-B:20 Duties of Coordinator. –
The coordinator shall be a statewide organization or agency which has demonstrated its ability, at a minimum, to:
I. Serve as a clearinghouse for information relating to domestic violence.
II. Conduct educational programs on domestic violence, both for the general public and for specialized interest groups, such as law enforcement and medical personnel.
III. Provide technical assistance to local domestic violence programs in the areas of budget, management, and other such skills.
IV. Enlist the assistance of public and voluntary health, education, welfare, legal, and rehabilitation agencies in a concerted effort to prevent domestic violence.
V. Provide coordination and supervision of programs.
VI. Assist the commissioner in the administration of the fund.
VII. Publicize the availability of the fund and the date by which applications must be received, and act on all applications within 45 days of the application deadline.
VIII. Notify each appropriate agency or organization in writing whether or not it is eligible for funds, and specify the amount available.
IX. Publicize the availability of domestic violence programs to the public.
X. Provide training for court advocates and social services agency advocates to accompany domestic violence victims.
XI. Apply for and receive any federal funds for which this program may be eligible.
XII. Ensure, as far as possible, that grants are awarded on a reasonable geographical basis throughout the state.
XIII. Obtain and evaluate reports from each grantee, at least annually, on its operations under this chapter.

Source. 1999, 240:3, eff. Jan. 1, 2000.

Section 173-B:21

    173-B:21 Criteria for Selection of Direct Service Grantees. –
The coordinator shall use all of the following criteria for selecting grantees:
I. A grantee's ability to provide direct services to victims of domestic violence as follows:
(a) Shelter or safe homes on a 24-hours-a-day, 7-days-a-week basis.
(b) A 24-hours-a-day, 7-days-a-week switchboard for crisis calls.
(c) Temporary housing and food facilities.
(d) Psychological support and peer counseling.
(e) Referrals to existing services in the community and follow-up on the outcome of the referrals.
(f) A drop-in center to assist victims of domestic violence who have not yet made the decision to leave their homes, or who have found other shelter but who have a need for support services.
(g) Arrangements for school-aged children to continue their education during their stay at the center.
(h) Emergency transportation to a shelter and, when appropriate, arrangements with local law enforcement for assistance in providing such transportation.
(i) Trained court advocates and social service agency advocates to accompany domestic violence victims.
II. A grantee shall be a private or private nonprofit organization, or a public agency.
III. A grantee shall demonstrate the need for the services proposed by the program.
IV. A grantee shall establish its ability to secure community support and its efficiency of administration.
V. A grantee shall receive at least 50 percent of its funding from sources other than the fund, including town, city, county, federal, or private sources. Contributions in kind, whether material, commodities, transportation, office space, or personal services, may be evaluated and counted as part of the required non-state funding.

Source. 1999, 240:3, eff. Jan. 1, 2000.

Section 173-B:22

    173-B:22 Confidentiality. – All persons who are employed, appointed, or who volunteer under this chapter shall maintain confidentiality with regard to persons served by the coordinator and grantees and files kept by the coordinator and grantees, except for reasons of safety for other shelter residents or staff.

Source. 1999, 240:3, eff. Jan. 1, 2000.

Section 173-B:23

    173-B:23 Referral. – Where centers are available, any law enforcement officer who investigates an alleged incident of domestic violence shall advise the person subject to such violence of the availability of programs from which that person may receive services.

Source. 1999, 240:3, eff. Jan. 1, 2000.

Section 173-B:24

    173-B:24 Rights Reserved. – A person shall not be prejudiced by the court having jurisdiction under RSA 173-B for having left the residence or household with or without the children to avoid further domestic violence.

Source. 1999, 240:3, eff. Jan. 1, 2000.

Section 173-B:25

    173-B:25 Severability. – If any provision of this chapter or the application of such provision to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the invalidity does not affect other provisions or applications of the chapter which can be given effect without the invalid provisions or applications, and to this end the provisions of this chapter are severable.

Source. 1999, 240:3, eff. Jan. 1, 2000.

Section 173-B:26

    173-B:26 Repealed by 2014, 107:5, eff. Nov. 1, 2014. –