Historically, misdemeanors were defined in the common law as offenses resulting in a possible period of incarceration of less than one year. Crimes that involved a possible sentence in excess of one year were known as felonies.

New Hampshire law is based in part on these common law definitions. In New Hampshire, offenses are divided into three categories: violations, misdemeanors, and felonies. Violations are offenses for which no period of incarceration is possible. The maximum punishment for a violation is a fine, a possible loss of license or other administrative penalty, and, in rare circumstances, probation. Misdemeanors in New Hampshire defined as offenses for which the maximum possible period of incarceration is 12 months in the House of Correction along with a fine and a period of probation, and, if it is a motor vehicle offense, a possible loss of driver’s license.

Offenses which can result in a sentence of a year and a day or greater at the New Hampshire State Prison are known as felonies.

Felonies in New Hampshire are divided into Class A and Class B felonies, depending on what the legislature determined is the severity of the offense. Class B felonies are offenses for which a defendant faces a possible maximum sentence of 3½ to 7 years at the New Hampshire State Prison, a $4,000.00 fine, and probation. Class A felonies are offenses for which the defendant faces a possible maximum sentence of up to 7½ to 15 years at the New Hampshire State Prison, a $4,000.00 fine, and probation.

In addition, convictions for felonies can have additional penalties. For instance, if the offense involves the operation of a motor vehicle, a defendant convicted of a felony could lose his or her license for an extended period of time.

New Hampshire also recognizes unclassified felonies in which the defendant, due to the severity of the offense or the defendant’s own prior record, faces extended periods of incarceration beyond 15 years. These would include convictions for homicide as well as convictions for certain drug offenses.

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.