Assault

See also: Sexual Assault

Assaults are defined under NH RSA 631 in New Hampshire, and range from a violation level (non-criminal) offense all the way up to felonies.

Generally, an assault is defined as occurring whenever any person has unprivileged physical contact with another. The degree of seriousness, and therefore the sentencing risk, varies depending on the type of assault involved.

Simple assault is defined in New Hampshire under NH RSA 631:2-a as

  1. purposely or knowingly causing either bodily injury or unprivileged physical contact to another,
  2. recklessly causing bodily injury to another, or
  3. negligently causing bodily injury to another by means of a deadly weapon.
Simple assault is a misdemeanor, which means that it subjects any person convicted of it with the possibility of a maximum punishment of 12 months in the House of Correction, up to a $2,000.00 fine, and the risk of being placed on probation. However, if the simple assault occurs as the result of a fight entered into by mutual consent, it is only a violation. A violation is an offense where even if one is convicted, he or she can not go to jail, but only risks the possibility of a fine and possibly probation.

Second degree assault is defined in New Hampshire under NH RSA 631:2, and is a Class B felony, subjecting one to the possibility of a penalty as high as 3½ years to 7 years in State Prison, up to a $4,000.00 fine, and the risk of being placed on probation. A person is guilty of second degree assault if he or she

  1. knowingly or recklessly causes serious bodily injury to another,
  2. recklessly causes bodily injury to another by means of a deadly weapon,
  3. recklessly causes bodily injury to another under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life,
  4. purposely or knowingly causes bodily injury to a child under 13 years of age,
  5. recklessly or negligently causes injury to another resulting in a miscarriage or stillbirth, or
  6. purposely or knowingly engages in the strangulation of another.
However, if the deadly weapon referenced in #2 above is a firearm, then the person so charged is subject to additional enhanced penalties.

First degree assault is defined in New Hampshire under NH RSA 631:1, and is a Class A felony, subjecting one to the possibility of a penalty as high as 7½ to 15 years in the New Hampshire State Prison, up to a $4,000.00 fine, and the risk of being placed on probation. A person is guilty of first degree assault if he or she

  1. purposely causes seriously bodily injury to another,
  2. purposely or knowingly causes bodily injury to another by means of a deadly weapon (non-firearm),
  3. purposely or knowingly causes injury to another resulting in miscarriage or stillbirth, or
  4. knowingly or recklessly causing serious bodily injury to a person under 13 years of age.
If the deadly weapon referenced in #2 above is a firearm, then the person so charged is subject to additional enhanced penalties.

The assaults defined in this section are sometimes referred to “non-sexual assaults.” For a discussion of sexual assaults, please see the corresponding section.

It should be noted that if any of these assaults are considered to be “domestic” in nature, additional administrative and other collateral consequences can apply including, but not limited to, the prohibition of anyone so convicted from owning, possessing, purchasing or carrying a firearm.

The above is provided as a summary of some of the laws in New Hampshire and should not be considered as an exhaustive list. For personal advice regarding any particular situation please contact a New Hampshire lawyer.