Sexual Assault

Sexual assault is defined in New Hampshire under NH RSA 632:A.

Sexual assault charges vary in severity from Class A misdemeanors that can subject a person to a possible term of imprisonment of up to 12 months in the House of Correction, up to a $2,000.00 fine, and probation, all the way up to Class A felonies that can subject a person to an extended term at the New Hampshire State Prison.

Misdemeanor sexual assault is defined in New Hampshire under NH RSA 631-A:4 as having occurred when

  1. a person subjects another who is 13 years of age or older to “sexual contact” under any of the circumstances indicated in NH RSA 632-A:2,
  2. when a person subjects another (other than his or her spouse) who is 13 years of age or older, and under 16 years of age, to sexual contact when the age difference between the two people is five years or more, or
  3. except where there exists a number of specific aggravating circumstances, where the person engages in “sexual penetration” with another (other than his or her spouse) who is 13 years of age or older and under 16 years of age when the age difference between the actor and the other person is four years or less.

Under NH RSA 632-A:4 III, a person may also be guilty of misdemeanor sexual assault if he engages in sexual contact or sexual penetration with another, or causes another to engage in sexual contact on himself or herself, in his or her presence, when the defendant is in a certain position of authority over the other person.

Felonious sexual assault, contrary to NH RSA 632-A:3, is a Class B felony, and occurs if someone

  1. subjects another to sexual contact and thereby causes serious personal injury under any of a list of specific articulated circumstances named in RSA 632-A:2,
  2. engages in sexual penetration with a person other than his or her legal spouse who is 13 years of age or older and under 16 years of age where the age difference between the actor and the other person is four years or more,
  3. engages in sexual contact with a person other than his or her legal spouse who is under 13 years of age, or
  4. engages in sexual contact with another, or causes a person to engage in sexual contact on himself or herself in the presence of the defendant, when the defendant is in a certain position of authority over the other person and uses that authority to coerce the person to submit under any of a certain number of specific circumstances articulated in the statute.

Felonious sexual assault is a Class B felony subjecting the individual to a penalty of up to between 3 ½ to 7 years at the New Hampshire State Prison.

Aggravated felonious sexual assault contrary to RSA 632-A:2 is a Class A felony and occurs when the defendant engaged in sexual penetration with another person either by

  1. overcoming the victim through the actual application of physical force, physical violence or superior physical strength,
  2. when the victim is physically helpless to resist,
  3. when the defendant coerces the other person to submit by threatening to use physical violence or superior physical strength on the victim and the victim believes that the actor has the ability to execute those threats,
  4. when the defendant coerces the victim to submit by threatening to retaliate against the victim or any other person and the victim believes that the defendant has the ability to execute those threats in the future,
  5. when the victim submits under circumstances involving false imprisonment, kidnapping or extortion,
  6. when the defendant, without the prior knowledge or consent of the victim, administers or has knowledge of another person administering to the victim any intoxicating substance which incapacitates the victim,
  7. when the defendant provides therapy, medical treatment or examination of the victim, and in the course of that treatment and treating relationship, or within one year of termination of that therapeutic treating relationship, acts in a manner or purpose which is not professionally recognized as ethical or acceptable,
  8. uses his position as such provider to coerce the victim to submit,
  9. when, except as between legally married spouses, the defendant knows that the other person is mentally defective or has reason to know that the victim is mentally defective,
  10. when the defendant through concealment or by the element of surprise is able to cause sexual penetration with another before the other has an adequate chance to flee or resist,
  11. when, except as between legally married spouses, the victim is 13 years of age or older and under 16 years of age and the defendant is a member of the same household or is related by blood or affinity to the other,
  12. when, except as between legally married spouses the defendant is in a position of authority over a victim between the ages of 13 and 18 and uses this authority to coerce submission,
  13. when the person with whom there was sexual penetration is less than 13 years of age,
  14. when the defendant is told by speech or conduct that there is no freely given consent or
  15. when the defendant is in a position of authority over the other and uses this authority under certain articulated circumstances.

Aggravated felonious sexual assault, sometimes in the vernacular called “rape,” is a Class A felony subjecting the individual to a term of imprisonment of up to between 7½ to 15 years at the State Prison.

In New Hampshire, a defendant can also be guilty of aggravated felonious sexual assault, even without penetration, if he or she intentionally touches, either directly or through clothing or otherwise, the genitalia of a person under the age of 13 under circumstances that can be reasonably construed as being for the purposes of sexual arousal or gratification.

It can also be aggravated felonious sexual assault if the defendant engages in a “pattern of sexual assaults” against another person not his or her spouse who is less than 16 years of age.

An individual in New Hampshire can also be guilty of aggravated felonious sexual assault when he or she engages in sexual penetration with another person under 18 years of age who is known to be his or her ancestor, descendent, brother or sister of the whole or half blood, uncle, aunt, nephew or niece.

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.