TITLE LIX
PROCEEDINGS IN CRIMINAL CASES

Chapter 595-A
SEARCH WARRANTS

Section 595-A:1

    595-A:1 Issuance of Search Warrants; Purposes. –
A search warrant authorized by this chapter may be issued by any justice, associate justice or special justice of the municipal, district or superior courts to search for and seize any property which is:
I. Stolen, embezzled or fraudulently obtained;
II. Designed or intended for use or which is or has been used as the means of committing a criminal offense;
III. Contraband; or
IV. Evidence of the crime to which the probable cause upon which the search warrant is issued relates.

Source. 1969, 317:1, eff. Aug. 29, 1969.

Section 595-A:2

    595-A:2 Requisites of Warrant. – Search warrants shall designate or describe the person, building, vessel, or vehicle to be searched and shall particularly describe the property or articles to be searched for. They shall be substantially in the form prescribed in RSA 595-A:3 and shall be directed to a sheriff or his deputy or to a constable or police officer, commanding him to search in the daytime, or if the warrant so directs, in the nighttime, the person, building, vessel, or vehicle where the property or articles for which he is required to search are believed to be concealed, and to bring such property or articles when found, and the persons in whose possession they are found, before any circuit or superior court named therein.

Source. 1969, 317:1. 1971, 255:1, eff. Aug. 22, 1971. 2015, 249:7, eff. Jan. 1, 2016, July 1, 2016 and Oct. 1, 2017.

Section 595-A:3

    595-A:3 Form of Warrant. – The warrant shall be in substantially the following form:
The State of New Hampshire
(County), ss. (Name) Court.
To the Sheriffs of our several counties, or their deputies, any State Police Officer, or any Constable or Police Officer of any city or town, within our said State.
Proof by written statement under oath (supplemented by oral statements under oath) having been made this day before (name of person authorized to issue warrant) by (names of person or persons whose written statements under oath have been taken) that there is probable cause for believing that (certain property has been stolen, embezzled, or fraudulently obtained; certain property is intended for use or has been used as the means of committing a crime; contraband; evidence of the crime to which the probable cause upon which the search warrant is issued relates.)
We therefore command you in the daytime (or at any time of the day or night) to make an immediate search of (identify premises) (occupied by A.B.) and (of the person of A.B.) and of any person present who may be found to have such property in his possession or under his control or to whom such property may have been delivered, for the following property:
(description of property)
and if you find any such property or any part thereof to bring it and the persons in whose possession it is found before (name of court and location).
Dated at (city or town) this .......... day of .........., 20......

Source. 1969, 317:1. 1971, 255:2, eff. Aug. 22, 1971. 2021, 196:2, eff. Oct. 9, 2021.

Section 595-A:4

    595-A:4 Written Statement Under Oath in Support of Application for Warrant; Contents and Form. –
A person seeking a search warrant shall appear before a court or justice authorized to issue search warrants in criminal cases and shall give a written statement under oath in substantially the form hereinafter prescribed. Such written statement under oath shall contain facts, information, and circumstances upon which such person relies to establish probable cause for the issuance of the warrant and such written statement under oath may be supplemented by oral statements under oath for the establishment of probable cause. The person issuing the warrant shall retain the written statement under oath and shall make notes, personally, of the substance, or arrange for a transcript, of any oral statements under oath supplementing the written statement under oath. The person issuing the search warrant shall deliver the written statement under oath and the notes or transcript within 3 days after the issuance of the warrant to the court to which the warrant is returnable. Upon the return of said warrant, the written statement under oath and the notes or transcript shall be attached to it and shall be filed therewith, and they shall be a public document when the warrant is returned, unless otherwise ordered by a court of record.
The written statement under oath in support of the application for a search warrant shall be in substantially the following form:
The State of New Hampshire
(County), ss. (Name) Court.
.................., 20......
I, (name of applicant) being duly sworn, depose and say:
1. I am (describe position, assignment, office, etc.).
2. I have information, based upon (describe source, facts indicating reliability of source and nature of information; if based on personal knowledge, so state).
3. Based upon the foregoing reliable information (and upon my personal knowledge) there is probable cause to believe that the property hereinafter described (has been stolen, etc.) and may be found (in the possession of A.B. or any other person) at premises (identify).
4. The property for which I seek the issuance of a search warrant is the following: (here describe the property as particularly as possible).
Wherefore, I request that the court issue a warrant and order of seizure, authorizing the search of (identify premises and the persons to be searched) and directing that if such property or evidence or any part thereof be found that it be seized and brought before the court; together with such other and further relief that the court may deem proper.
.................................................
Name
Return
I received the attached search warrant on .........., 20....., and have executed it as follows:
On .........., 20......, at .......... o'clock ... M, I searched (the person) (the premises) described in the warrant and I left a copy of the warrant with (name of person searched or owner) at (the place of search) together with a receipt for the items seized.
The following is an inventory of property taken pursuant to the warrant:
This inventory was made in the presence of .......... and ..........
I swear that this inventory is a true and detailed account of all the property taken by me on the warrant ....................
....................................
Name
Signed under penalty of perjury, the penalty for which may include a fine or imprisonment or both.

Source. 1969, 317:1, eff. Aug. 29, 1969. 2021, 196:2, eff. Oct. 9, 2021.

Section 595-A:4-a

    595-A:4-a Electronic Communication and Signature. – The personal appearance and authorization for a search warrant under RSA 595-A:4 may be by means of telecommunication or electronic communication, and electronic signature pursuant to RSA 294-E.

Source. 2005, 76:3, eff. Jan. 1, 2006.

Section 595-A:5

    595-A:5 Receipt, Inventory, and Return. – The officer taking property under the warrant shall give to the person from whom, or from whose premises, the property was taken a copy of the warrant and a receipt for the property taken, or shall leave the copy and receipt at the place from which the property was taken. The return shall be made promptly and shall be accompanied by a written inventory of any property taken. The inventory shall be made in the presence of the applicant for the warrant and the person from whose possession or premises the property was taken, if they are present, or in the presence of at least one creditable person other than the applicant for the warrant or the person from whose possession or premises the property was taken, and shall be verified by the officer. The justice of a court of record shall upon request deliver a copy of the inventory to the person from whom or from whose premises the property was taken and to the applicant for the warrant. The justice of a court of record shall attach to the warrant a copy of the return, inventory and all other papers in connection therewith and shall file them with the clerk of the court to which the warrant is returnable. The return shall be in substantially the following form:

Return


I received the attached search warrant on .........., 20....., and have executed it as follows:
On .........., 20....., at .......... o'clock ... M, I searched (the person) (the premises) described in the warrant and I left a copy of the warrant with (name of person searched or owner) at (the place of search) together with a receipt for the items seized.
The following is an inventory of property taken pursuant to the warrant:
This inventory was made in the presence of .......... and ..........
I swear that this inventory is a true and detailed account of all the property taken by me on the warrant
....................

Subscribed and sworn to and returned before me this .......... day of .........., 20......
....................
Justice of the Court

Source. 1969, 317:1. 1971, 255:3, eff. Aug. 22, 1971.

Section 595-A:6

    595-A:6 Seizure, Custody and Disposition of Articles; Exceptions. – If an officer in the execution of a search warrant, or by some other authorized method, finds property or articles he is empowered to take, he shall seize and safely keep them under the direction of the court or justice so long as necessary to permit them to be produced or used as evidence in any trial. Upon application by a prosecutor, defendant, or civil claimants, the court, prior to trial or upon an appeal after trial, shall, upon notice to a defendant and hearing, and except for good cause shown, order returned to the rightful owners any stolen, embezzled or fraudulently obtained property, or any other property of evidential value, not constituting contraband. This section shall apply regardless of how possession of the property was obtained by the state. Photographs or other identification or analysis made of the returned property shall be admissible at trial as secondary evidence, in lieu of the originals, for all relevant purposes, including ownership. In the case of unknown, unapprehended defendants, or defendants wilfully absent from the jurisdiction, the court shall have discretion to appoint a guardian ad litem to represent the interest of such unknown or absent defendants. The judicial findings on such matters as ownership, identification, chain of possession or value made at such an evidentiary hearing for the restoration of property to the rightful owners shall thereafter be admissible at trial, to be considered with other evidence on the same issues, if any, as may be admitted before the finder of fact. All other property seized in execution of a search warrant or otherwise coming into the hands of the police shall be returned to the owner of the property, or shall be disposed of as the court or justice orders, which may include forfeiture and either sale or destruction as the public interest requires, in the discretion of the court or justice, and in accordance with due process of law. Any property, the forfeiture and disposition of which is specified in any general or special law, shall be disposed of in accordance therewith.

Source. 1969, 317:1. 1977, 320:1. 1981, 553:9. 1988, 88:3, eff. Jan. 1, 1989.

Section 595-A:7

    595-A:7 Time for Return of Warrant. – Every officer to whom a warrant to search is issued shall return the same to the court to which it was made returnable as soon as it has been served, and in any event not later than 7 days from the date of issuance thereof, with a return of his actions thereon.

Source. 1969, 317:1. 1971, 255:4, eff. Aug. 22, 1971.

Section 595-A:8

    595-A:8 Assistants. – An officer executing a search warrant may take with him suitable assistants and suffer no others to be with him.

Source. 1969, 317:1, eff. Aug. 29, 1969.

Section 595-A:9

    595-A:9 Scope and Definition. – This chapter does not modify any act inconsistent with it regulating search, seizure and the issuance and execution of search warrants in circumstances for which special provision is made. The term "property" is used in this chapter to denote everything which is the subject of ownership.

Source. 1969, 317:1, eff. Aug. 29, 1969.

Section 595-A:10

    595-A:10 Informed Consent Exception for Motor Vehicles. –
I. A law enforcement officer may legally conduct a search of a motor vehicle without a warrant under this chapter if the law enforcement officer expressly informs the operator of the motor vehicle that:
(a) The operator has the right to refuse to consent to a search;
(b) Any refusal to consent to a search shall not constitute a basis either for probable cause to arrest the operator or reasonable suspicion to detain the operator;
(c) The operator cannot be charged with any crime or violation for refusing to consent to a search; and
(d) The operator cannot be further detained for refusing to consent to a search.
II. If the operator of a motor vehicle refuses to consent to a search, the law enforcement officer shall cease any further questioning concerning consent to a search.
III. A law enforcement officer shall document any consent to search either by the signature of the motor vehicle operator on a consent-to-search form providing notice of the provisions of paragraphs I and II at the time of the consent, or by means of a video and sound recording of the consent at the time of the consent. Such form or video and sound recording shall be retained until any criminal charge resulting from the consent to search is fully resolved.
IV. Any act of a law enforcement officer which violates a provision of this section shall result in the inadmissibility in any criminal proceeding of any evidence of obtained by the law enforcement officer.
V. This section shall not preclude searches incident to arrest; searches allowed under the United States Constitution for officer safety; searches on any grounds, lands, or parking areas of any state or county correctional facility or transitional housing unit operated by the department of corrections; or inventory searches of lawfully-seized property, including but not limited to vehicles towed in conjunction with the arrest of the operator.
VI. Any person on prison grounds or in a department of corrections facility, regardless of whether such person is a resident, visitor, staff, or anyone identified in some other category, shall be subject to search without warning of their vehicle, possessions, and person pursuant to administrative rule Cor 306.

Source. 2021, 196:1, eff. Oct. 9, 2021.