If you need details about how New Hampshire background checks work, then this guide will give you all the answers you need. From employment background checks to criminal checks, all the information you’re looking for is included below.
New Hampshire Background Check Laws
The Criminal Records Unit in New Hampshire is used for storing all of the criminal records, which is known as the CHRI (Criminal History Record Information) database.
Every disposition and criminal arrest, including any individuals that have been arrested and charged with an offense (criminal) will go through this process.
The same division handles the AFIS (Automated Fingerprint Identification System) as well, which is responsible for processing any fingerprint background checks it receives.
The Unit’s Central Repository stores all the CHRI and is currently the only available source in New Hampshire for accessing an individual’s criminal history background.
The Criminal Records Unit is responsible for receiving all of the CHRI. This includes fingerprint results from the individual arrested or from any criminal complaints that are recorded. Dispositions from all courts are also included.
The FBI receives all fingerprint results and is sent to be stored in the CHRI database. New Hampshire does not issue an expiration date of any CHRI and it can only be removed using a ‘Petition to Annul’ that must be granted by a court in the said jurisdiction.
Storing of all CHRI for both criminal and non-criminal charges is kept in the Central Repository. These could include the following for the non-criminal:
With the above listed, only conviction CHRI can be provided. There may be other circumstances that also fall under these guidelines that are not listed above.
Public Criminal Conviction History
Any history of a criminal conviction is available to the public and can be accessed by anyone who submits a request and pays the fee.
However, any criminal information that is deemed confidential, even those that include non-conviction details can only be accessed by law enforcement or to a person who is requesting the details of their own record.
Both the FBI CHRI and New Hampshire’s CHRI can be statutorily required in some circumstances. These types of examples would include:
- Employment Purposes
- Professional Licensing
Note: Criminal records for convictions that have been obtained are considered to be official documents and are stored according to New Hampshire’s laws.
The New Hampshire law (RSA 651:5) can enable specific convictions and criminal arrests to be removed from both the state and FBI criminal history records. In order to start this process, you will need to file a ‘Petition to Annul’ within the court of jurisdiction.
The annulment process has required fees that must be paid:
- Court Filing Fee – $100.00
- Department of Corrections Parole and Probation Report Fee – $100.00
- State Police Administrative Fee – $100.00
These fees must be paid from the removal of any annulled CHRI from both the state and FBI criminal history records.
If you have any questions about obtaining an annulment, you can call (603) 223-3867 and then select option three when prompted.
New Hampshire statutes (§359-B:5) for obsolete information prevent consumer reporting agencies from reporting any records of arrests or convictions older than seven years.
What do Employment Background Checks Include in New Hampshire?
Depending on what type of employment you are applying for or if the background check is being done as a pre-screening for a loan application, what shows up will vary based on what was requested. Employers are restricted when asking about a candidate’s criminal convictions.
Most employers are seeking to find information that either confirms or discredit’s an applicant’s application details. They will want to know if the potential employee is honest and can be trusted. So they often perform background checks on the following:
- Past Job History
- Verifying Education (degrees, diplomas, certificates, etc.)
- Personal Information (full name, maiden name, alias, etc.)
When employers use a third-party investigative company to conduct background checks, all reports are subject to the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), plus any state laws that were put into effect to protect people’s personal information.
Any employer in New Hampshire must comply with all laws concerning criminal background checks, consumer reporting (including credit checks), and any driver’s records.
According to state laws, an applicant or employee must be informed by any person or business requesting a consumer report for employment purposes.
Suppose an employer is granted permission by the applicant to acquire a consumer report and is not hired for the job position applied for. In that case, the employer has the following obligation:
An employer is required by law to disclose the details that were considered a significant determining factor in the denial of employment if it was based in part or whole on the consumer report’s findings.
What Shows Up on a Criminal Background Check in New Hampshire?
There are both state and federal laws in place that protect an individual’s information when it comes to criminal background checks. However, when you apply for a position of employment in one or more of the following fields, then a criminal background check is mandatory:
- Financial Sector – Credit Unions, Banking Department Employees, Agents for Loans, Debts, and Sales
- Department of Health and Human Services – Childcare, Adoptive Parents, Foster Parents, Therapeutic Cannabis Program, and New Hampshire Medicaid Program
- Professional Licenses and Certifications Positions – Nursing, Board of Medicine, Alcohol and Drug Use Professionals, Real Estate Appraisers, Medical Technicians, Other Medical Field Positions, Allied Health Professionals, and More
- Lottery Commission and Charitable Gaming Commission – Licensing of Game Operators and Games of Chance Facility License
- Department of Safety – Driver’s Education Instructors, Employees that are Division or Bureau Specific, Emergency Medical Services, Etc.
- All County and State Employees, Consumer Reporting Agencies, Save America Act Volunteers, and many more positions that are listed under specific sectors.
There can be other types of professional businesses requiring different licenses, according to New Hampshire’s state laws.
A potential employer will be able to provide upfront all the legal requirements needed in order to apply for a position, including what type of background checks will be required of you.
When a criminal background check is conducted, the following details can show up:
- Financial Records – Bankruptcies, repossessions, civil judgments, and both federal and state tax liens can be seen in this background check report.
- Crime(s) Committed – This can include felonies, misdemeanors, sex crimes, etc. The full details and description of the crime committed can be viewed unless protected under laws for sealed or expunged records.
- Personal Information – Details such as your marital status, full name, maiden name, alias’, date of birth, and nationality will be available on this report.
- Other Items – Notable features or marks on the individual (scars, tattoos, etc.), incarceration records, warrants, mug shots, and fingerprints.
How Long Does a Background Check Take in New Hampshire?
Depending on the type of background check being performed, the estimated time it takes will vary based on the details requested.
However, pre-employment background checks are typically done within two to five business days when not requesting in-depth research, such as a criminal background check would include.
Criminal background checks can take up to ten business days; however, the average turnaround time is approximately one week. Some local governments, such as states, counties, etc., might have longer response times and can take up to fourteen days.
Can An Employee Get Hired Before a Background Check Has Been Completed?
No, under no circumstances can a potential employee begin working before the background check results have been concluded and shared with an employer.
Keep in mind that an employment offer is a contingent upon the completion of a background check. Hence, until those results are available, a candidate cannot perform any job duties legally.
Suppose you are going through the background check process as an existing employee who is being considered for a new position that is either safety or security-sensitive.
In that case, you will need to wait until your employer has the results from your background check before performing any new responsibilities or job duties.
Who is Responsible for Payment of an Employment Background Check?
Usually, an employer will cover a background check’s costs when considering an applicant for a position within their company. However, no law mandates this in New Hampshire, and it wouldn’t be illegal for a business to request the potential employee to pay for the charges themselves.
Very few states have a strict law in place that prohibits an employer from asking an applicant to pay for a background check. There is also no federal law that prohibits any employer from charging potential employees for the costs associated with a background check.
However, since background checks are now becoming more and more standard practice for many industries, other states could also adopt the law prohibiting an employer from charging an applicant for a background check.
If an employer ever asks you to pay the costs associated with your background check for possible employment, check to ensure that New Hampshire didn’t put a new statute in place that restricts any employer from doing this.
How to Get a Criminal Background Check in New Hampshire
There are several ways you can obtain a criminal background check in New Hampshire. You can apply in person, mail your application (notary not required), or use a third-party release form.
If you want to request your own confidential full background criminal history record, then you will have two choices on how to receive your records:
- Mailing – If you choose to mail in your request, then a signature from either a Notary Public or the Justice of the Peace is required. These must include the date and seal.
- In-Person – If you would like to go in person and request your criminal history record, you will need to have a valid photo ID with you.
The fee for obtaining these records is $25.00 and must be in the exact amount. You can pay by using one of the following payment methods:
- Check (payable to The State of New Hampshire)
- Money Order
- MasterCard, VISA, or Discover (only accepted in person at the counter)
Note: All criminal records must accompany each New Hampshire request.
How Far Back Do Background Checks Go in New Hampshire?
A background check in New Hampshire typically goes back seven years. However, suppose an employer is considering a candidate for a management position or has access to financial records.
In that case, an employer can ask that a background check goes all the way back until the applicant was 18 years old.
This is standard for many companies that do not want to take a risk with hiring a new employee that could cause harm or damage the business’s reputation.
There are also laws in place that require specific sectors to run background checks longer than the typical seven to ten years.
How Long Does a Background Check Take For a Gun in New Hampshire?
New Hampshire is considered to be a ‘partial point of contact’ state for the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) database.
New Hampshire law does not require but does authorize the New Hampshire Department of Safety (DOS) to act as their point of contact for NICS.
However, DOS has only chosen to act as a point of contact for the handgun sales in New Hampshire, but not any long gun sales.
So this means that in the state of New Hampshire, licensed firearm dealers that sell handguns must initiate the background check required by the federal law, which is to contact DOS.
But if a firearm dealer sells long guns, then they must initiate the background check required by federal law by contacting the FBI directly.
Since you don’t need a license to purchase a firearm in New Hampshire and you don’t have to register your firearm, the process is pretty straightforward.
The FBI has three business days to conduct their background check from the time of application from the applicant purchasing a firearm from a federally licensed firearms dealer.
If the FBI does not find a legal reason to deny or does not respond by the fourth business day, then the transfer can take place.
Note: New Hampshire does not require any private seller to conduct a background check on an individual transferring their firearm.
Can You Get a Free Background Check in New Hampshire?
No, you cannot get an official free background check conducted in the state of New Hampshire. However, you can pay $25.00 for non-criminal use that is processed through the Criminal Records Unit (CRU).
They do offer a discounted price of $10.00 if you can prove that you are a volunteer of a nonprofit organization. There is also an additional fee for the LiveScan fingerprinting when requested.
You can access most county court records online through the New Hampshire Judicial Branch’s public portal. But you will need to register before gaining access to any online records. There can be fees associated with accessing these records as well, which could include administrative costs.
There are plenty of third-party websites that offer instant background checks for the state of New Hampshire. If you’re willing to pay a fee to get these details, then you can typically see your results the same business day.
It is not uncommon for an individual to want to get details about a person’s background that they are considering having a partnership with. This could include:
- Romantic Interests
- Family Members
- Potential Business Partners
Acquiring certain information about another individual can provide you the details needed to make a wise decision regarding life matters.
Knowing if a potential roommate or romantic interest is trustworthy and can pay his or her share of the bills is imperative to the relationship being successful