When can you petition to annul a conviction in NH?

RSA 651:5 sets forth the requirements for a petition to annul a prior conviction. Generally speaking one can petition for annulment of a class A felony 10 years after the end of their sentence, for a class B felony the waiting period is 5 years and for a class A, or B misdemeanor it is 3 years.

If a sentence includes a suspended jail sentence or fine then the end of the sentence will be calculated from the time the suspension window closes.

If a person has multiple convictions that he wants to annul, each conviction must be eligible for annulment before he can petition to annul any of the convictions. RSA 651:5(VI)(b).

Because driving while intoxicated convictions trigger enhances penalties if a person gets a subsequent conviction within 10 years he has to wait 10 years to petition to annul this type of conviction.

Recently the NH Supreme Court clarified this rule in the case of State v. Bobola. Mr. Bobola attempted to get two assault convictions annulled even though he had a subsequent driving while intoxicated conviction that was not ripe for annulment. The Court said that he would have to wait until the driving while intoxicated conviction was eligible for annulment before any of them could be annulled.

Annulment is something to consider when you are eligible. It allows you to legally fill out various applications and not disclose prior convictions. It also provides protection against others holding convictions that are the result of more youthful indiscretions against you. Cohen and Winters regularly help clients annul prior convictions and are happy to answer any questions you might have.

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