CAN I HAVE MY CHILD EMANCIPATED AS AN ADULT IN NH?
NO. There is no emancipation law in the state of New Hampshire. The age of minority for criminal offenses is 17 in the State of New Hampshire. For child services, the age remains at 18 years old. A child can only go to adult court if he/she commits a motor vehicle or aeronautical violation upon reaching 16 years old, or a tobacco related offense once he/she has turned 12 years old. These are similar to being issued a traffic ticket. Juveniles may be "certified" as adults through the court system, but only after certain criteria directly related to a particular criminal offense or offenses have been met. In other words, parents or youth cannot say that they want their child to become emancipated because they can no longer control them or want nothing further to do with them. Services regarding behaviors amounting to CHINS offenses
(runaway, stubborn and unruly etc.) may be obtained by calling the Office of Youth Services (OYS) at 624-6470
IF MY CHILD IS ARRESTED OR CHARGED WITH A DELINQUENCY, DOES HE HAVE TO MAKE BAIL?
No. After a juvenile is charged with an offense, he or she is released to a parent or guardian. When the crime is very serious (such as a domestic assault), the juvenile may be detained at the Police Department until the next court session. The sergeant will consider the seriousness of the offense, the possibility that the juvenile will harm others or him/herself, or flee the community when deciding if a juvenile will be detained. The juvenile may be detained at the Bedford Police Department or at YDSU in Manchester, NH until the next court session.
WHAT CAN I EXPECT FROM THE JUVENILE DIVISION IF I AM THE VICTIM OF A JUVENILE ACT?
All cases involving juveniles are reviewed and considered for assignment to one of the detectives who handle juvenile crime. All cases involving juveniles are reviewed and considered for assignment to one of the juvenile officers. Cases are naturally prioritized from serious to less serious. Serious crimes against persons and/or if there is a risk that the suspect will flee and commit additional crimes take precedent over other cases. You can expect the Detective assigned to your case to interview the suspect and any witnesses you may have listed, or witnesses the Detective may have identified. Be prepared to be patient and understand that juvenile matters are very confidential - despite recent legislation allowing victim input in the most serious cases.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A DELINQUENT AND A CHINS OFFENDER?
A delinquent is any person under the age of 17 who commits any act that would constitute a felony or a misdemeanor if committed by an adult. A CHINS offender is any person under the age of 17 who commits an offense that would constitute a violation if committed by an adult, such as a violation of a city ordinance. CHINS offenses also include charges unique to juveniles. These include Truancy, Runaway, and Stubborn and Unruly Child. These also include all motor vehicle violations if committed by a child under the age of 16. Any violation of the motor vehicle code for individuals over 16 years of age shall be treated as an adult.
IF I THINK A CHILD IS BEING ABUSED, AM I OBLIGATED TO CONTACT SOMEONE AND IF SO, WHOM SHOULD I CALL?
A person is in violation of RSA 169-C:29 if he or she fails to report his or her suspicions that a child is or has been abused or neglected. Reports of abuse can be made to the Division of Children, Youth and Families (800-894-5533) or to your local police department or 911.
WHO CAN I CALL IF MY CHILD IS BEING "STUBBORN AND UNRULY" OR IS CONTANTLY ABSENT FROM HOME?
Reports of a missing child are made to your local police department. Be prepared to give a photo of your child to the officer taking the report and a full description. The missing youth is then put out through N.C.I.C (National Crime Information Center). Upon return of the youth, he/she is cancelled on the computer as missing. Again, missing persons are considered CHINS offenses, therefore once a missing youth is located, he/she cannot be locked up in a secured cell unless the youth is charged with a criminal (delinquent) act. The Office of Youth Service is a city organization designed to assist families with troubled youths. Many cases of CHINS offenses, such as Truancy and Runaway, are handled at O.Y.S. If you have a child whose behavior is similar to what is described above, O.Y.S. can be contacted at 624-6470.