New Hampshire Court Records
What Are New Hampshire Traffic Court Records?
New Hampshire traffic court records are the legal documents and files that constitute the report of the proceedings of the adjudication of traffic offenses in the state of New Hampshire.
Are New Hampshire Traffic Court Records Public Records?
Traffic court records are considered public records. Public records refer to records that can be accessed by members of the public in compliance with the public access to information law.
Which Courts in New Hampshire Have Jurisdiction to hear traffic violation matters?
How Do I Find New Hampshire Traffic Court Records?
If the case number of the required record is known, eligible parties can obtain NH traffic records by submitting a request at the court where the records are located. If the case number of the required record is not known, then a record search will have to be performed. To do this, the requestor will need to obtain and complete the record search form for the court where the records are located and submit the form, in person or by mail, to
NH Judicial Branch Administrative Offices
Attn: Central Processing Center
1 Granite Place, Suite 400
Concord, NH 03301
A processing fee will be required and should be made payable to NHJB Central Processing Center.
Additionally, publicly available records are accessible from some third-party websites. These websites offer the benefit of not being limited by geographical record availability and can often serve as a starting point when researching a specific or multiple records. To find a record using the search engines on these sites, interested parties must provide:
- The name of someone involved providing it is a not a juvenile
- The assumed location of the record in question such as a city, county, or state name
Third-party sites are not government-sponsored websites, and record availability may differ from official channels.
What Information Is Required To Obtain New Hampshire Traffic Court Records?
To obtain NH traffic court records, the requestor will have to provide valid information about the record such as the record case number and the full name of the defendant on the record. If the requestor does not have this information, then a record search must be conducted. A valid, state-approved means of identification will be required and all applicable fees must be paid before the records can be released.
Are all Traffic Violations handled the same way, in New Hampshire?
In New Hampshire traffic violations and Infractions are generally handled the same way but will depend on the circumstances of the complaint. Tickets that are to be answered to the Department of Safety will be handled differently from tickets which are to be answered to Circuit Court. Afterward, the handling of Guilty/No Contest pleas and that for Not Guilty pleas will be the same for either situation i.e. to say the procedures for handling violations which are to be answered to the Department of Safety will be similar irrespective of the type of violation and the same with tickets which are to be answered to the Circuit Court.
Can New Hampshire Traffic Records Be Sealed Or Expunged?
In NH traffic offenses are typically violations or misdemeanors. Violations are not considered to be crimes and do not appear on a defendant’s record. If convicted. As such, there are no records to expunge. It is possible to expunge criminal records of convictions for misdemeanors and some felonies. To be eligible for a misdemeanor expungement, the petitioner must have completed all terms of their sentence and a prescribed waiting period must have elapsed; two years for Class B misdemeanors and three years for Class A misdemeanors.
How Does One End Up In A New Hampshire Traffic Court?
A person ends up in NH traffic court when a law enforcement officer in the state of NH cites the person for a traffic violation and, as a consequence of the nature of the offense, indicates on the complaint that the defendant must respond to the Circuit Court (not the NH Department of Safety). One can also end up in traffic court if cited for a traffic offense and asked to respond to the Department of Safety, but the defendant wishes to contest the charges and request a trial.
Getting a Traffic Ticket in New Hampshire
In New Hampshire, a traffic ticket or Complaint is issued, by a law enforcement officer, for violations of traffic laws, state statutes, and local ordinances. It is a legal document that represents an attestation by the officer regarding the incident. The officer will fill in the full name of the defendant and list the physical address. The complaint will also contain all relevant information about the defendant’s driver’s license as well as details about the vehicle involved in the incident.
The officer will indicate by checking or/and writing the traffic offenses and corresponding Road Safety Authority (RSA) code that the defendant is accused of violating. The officer will also include other information such as weather and traffic conditions at the time of the incident. If the fine can be paid without a court appearance, it will be listed on the ticket as well. If it is not listed, affected parties may need to contact the New Hampshire Department of Safety to obtain the fine amount.
Instructions on how to respond to the complaint will be listed on the reverse side of the ticket and should be read thoroughly. The officer will append his name and badge ID number and sign and date the complaint before issuing a copy to the defendant. Depending on the severity of the offense being cited for, the officer will check one of 3 options:
- Option 1 indicates the defendant does not have to come to court to respond to the complaint but must respond to the Department of Safety
- Option 2 indicates the defendant does not have to come to court but must respond to the Court listed in the complaint
- Option 3 indicates the defendant must appear in court and will include a date and time
The court with jurisdiction over the case will be listed with its location. This is the court that will hear the case if it moves to trial. New Hampshire differs from most states in that courts in New Hampshire do not generally process traffic violations unless the offense requires a court appearance or the defendant requests a trial.
Traffic ticket fines are paid directly to the New Hampshire Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Traffic ticket fines are established by the NH court and are uniform across the state, for every violation. Convictions for traffic violations will result in demerit points being added on a driver’s record and can lead to a loss of driving privileges. Points remain on a driver record for 3 years. For drivers aged 21 and above accumulation of 12 points within a year will result in a 3-month suspension while accumulating 24 points in 3 years will result in a 1-year suspension. A driver can also be labeled a “Habitual Offender” if the NH DMV considers the driver to be a danger to other road users. Accumulating 12 total convictions or 3 major convictions (DUI, reckless driving) within a 5year period will obtain this classification.
Traffic violations are typically divided into moving or non-moving violations. Moving violations are offenses by vehicles in motion, such as speeding or reckless driving. Non-moving violations are offenses related to faulty vehicle equipment or stationary vehicles such as parking violations or damaged lights. Non-moving violations can also occur in moving vehicles, but these violations will not be reported to the NH DMV and do not constitute demerit points on a driver’s record.
What to Do When You Get a Traffic Ticket in New Hampshire?
When served a complaint in New Hampshire, the options for response will be determined by the ticket. Tickets might direct responses to the Department of Safety or the Circuit Court. For either response the defendant can choose to plead Guilty, No Contest or Not Guilty. A response must be made within 30 days of issuance of the ticket or a default status will be placed on the ticket and administrative fee penalties will be added to the accruable fine. If the ticket indicates the defendant need not come to Court but must answer to the Department of Safety, the method of response will be determined by the plea.
Guilty Plea/ No Contest Plea: This will be noted as convictions and points will be assessed on the driver’s record (which may result in loss of driving privileges). The defendant has 30 days from the issuance of the ticket (to avoid added penalties) to pay the traffic ticket. Payment can be made
- By telephone- Call 1–800–272–0036. Credit card payments only
- Mail- Mark the Guilty checkbox, sign and date ticket and mail with the total fine amount to
Department of Safety
P. O. Box 472
Concord, NH 03302.
Payment can also be made in person at the:
Division of Motor Vehicles
23 Hazen Drive
Concord, NH 03305
If the ticket indicates the defendant responds to the court, then the defendant must respond or appear at the court listed on the complaint within 30 days of issuance of the ticket. Responses can be made in-person or by mail.
If the defendant wishes to plead guilty/no contest, he/she must check the appropriate box and deliver the complaint with the total amount due to the court listed in the complaint. If the defendant chooses to plead Not Guilty, he/she must check the appropriate box and deliver it to the court listed. A notification will be sent by the court with a court date and time.
If the defendant chooses to take the case to trial, it is advisable to hire a traffic attorney. Before the trial, it is possible to meet with the prosecutor in a pre-trial conference to reach a plea agreement to prevent a trial. If this is not possible, then a trial date will be set and communicated to the defendant. The judge will hear all sides of the arguments at trial and reach a verdict. If the verdict is guilty, the defendant will have to pay all fines and any additional costs which might accrue. Demerit points will be added to the defendant’s driver’s record, which may lead to a loss of driving privileges. If the defendant is found not guilty, then all charges will be dismissed and the defendant will be freed of fines and demerit points, though court costs might still be applicable. Failure to appear for any of the court dates will result in a default judgment being entered against the defendant.