Crime & Public Safety


Should members of the public be able to see annulled criminal records?

May 23, 2017

Annulling an arrest or crime effectively ‘deletes’ it from an individual’s criminal record. To get an offense annulled, an individual must petition the court and meet a number of strict requirements, including completion of one’s sentence and remaining offense-free for a set wait period. Currently in New Hampshire, records of annulled offenses are ‘sealed’, which means they do not appear on a person’s criminal record. However, the records can potentially be accessed by filing a right-to-know request. Read more about this issue. 

"Should members of the public be able to see annulled criminal records?"

Criminal Records Annulment NH Citizen Voices Chart

Participation: 184 participants gave 297 responses.

A total of 92% of those participating gave a ‘yes or no’ response to the question. The remaining 8% of participants engaged in the discussion but did not give a ‘yes or no’ response. In total, 184 individuals from New Hampshire contributed a total of 297 responses or reactions to this question. (Click here for details on our methodology.)

What Participants Said

No: A strong majority, at 93% of ‘yes or no’ respondents, were opposed to letting members of the public see annulled criminal records. 

  • “Why should a person be discriminated against for something that the court deemed never happened?”
  • “No. People deserve to be able to move on from their past.”
  • “If you can see an annulment, that defeats the purpose. No record should exist anywhere.”

Yes: The minority of ‘yes or no’ respondents, at 7%, were in favor of allowing members of the public to see annulled criminal records.   

  • “Yes. Better yet, don’t annul them at all.”

Other: As noted above, 8% of those participating did not give a ‘yes or no’ response, instead addressing their comments to related questions and issues. These included:  

  • Annulments in general: “All non-conviction charges should be expunged after 2 or 3 years without any other arrests and or convictions.”
  • Media: “The Concord Monitor every Sunday list homes that are sold and the amount that changed hands. Yet very seldom list police records. I think it’s wrong.”
  • Relevance: “Why is this even being debated if it is not currently an issue before the Legislature?”

*Editor selection of actual participant quotes. 

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