Pretrial Release | New Hampshire


State legislatures consider and enact laws that address all aspects of pretrial policy, including citations, release eligibility, conditions of release, commercial bail bonding, victims’ rights and diversion. These legislative policies have an important role in providing fair, efficient and safe practices carried out by law enforcement and the courts.

Below is a synopsis of this state’s pretrial release laws as of March 2013 and any relevant legislative reports or audits. Recent enactments modifying these provisions can be found in NCSL’s pretrial enactments database.


Citation in Lieu of Arrest

Issuing a citation is not presumptive, however a citation can be issued for misdemeanors.  Citations can be issued after arrest by peace officers. (§ 594:14)

Pretrial Release Eligibility

State statute provides a presumption of pretrial release. Pretrial release can be denied for offenses punishable by life, abuse of a family or household member, and violation of a protection order for domestic violence. (§ 597:1; § 597:1c; § 597:2(III-a))

Guidance for Setting Release Conditions

State statute provides a presumption of pretrial release on personal recognizance or unsecured appearance bond. (§ 597:2; § 597:7-b)

Pretrial Release Conditions

Law allows release on personal recognizance or an unsecured appearance bond. Common conditions of release include:  commercial surety, cash deposit, other secured bond, supervision and additional requirements. (§ 597:2; § 597:7-b)

Pretrial Detention

When a defendant is unable to meet the pretrial release conditions, a court may modify the release conditions upon notice to the prosecutor. (§ 597:39)

Bail Bond Agent Licensure

Bail agents must be licensed. (§ 597:7-b)

Bail Forfeiture Procedure

Courts are instructed to consider absences due to an act of God, the state or federal governments, or by sentence of law. Unpaid forfeitures can result in suspension of the agent’s authority to execute new bonds. (§ 597:30; § 598-A:2)

Recovery Agents

Recovery agents are overseen by a different regulatory authority than bail agents and are subject to more licensing requirements. (§ 597:7-b)

Victims’ Rights and Protections

Pretrial release hearings are required for a violation of a protection order. Electronic monitoring can be ordered for abuse of a family or household member and for a violation of a protection order for domestic violence. (§ 594:20-a; § 597:2(III-a))

Pretrial Diversion

Substance abuse problem-solving courts are authorized diversion programs. (§ 490-G:2)


Full text of statutes can be retrieved using NCSL’s State Legislatures Internet Links database or learn more about NCSL’s Criminal Justice Program.