What Is The Law On Compounding A Felony In New Hampshire And What Are The Punishments For It?
Compounding a felony is an offense classified under a misdemeanor. As per the accepted definition, it consists of a victim of a particular offense entering an agreement not to prosecute or charge the perpetrator of a crime. It also includes entering into an agreement to hamper the prosecution or in any way damage the investigation of a felony.
Under this context, compounding means to enter into an agreement or to come to some sort of settlement. Compounding of a felony, however, does not include a victim accepting an offer in the cases of stolen property or accepting when the offender makes restitution. However, in these cases as well, there must be no agreement on the part of the victim not to prosecute the offender.
Under New Hampshire Revised Statutes Title LXII Criminal Code, chapter 642:5, compounding is similar to the above definition in that it classifies compounding as a misdemeanor. It further expands on the definition by mentioning that instances where one stands to be guilty of compounding a felony under New Hampshire Laws. A person is guilty of a misdemeanor if he/she does any of the following:
- Accepts, settles or solicits an agreement or acceptance of any benefits, cash or kind, in exchange for not prosecuting the offender or not assisting in the criminal investigation.
- Proposes confers or agrees to confer benefits to any individual with the benefit considered as an assurance that the individual will not carry out or aid with any criminal prosecution.
- It is also considered compounding a felony if it is an affirmative defense that the value of the benefit or reimbursement did not in any way exceed the value that the victim of the crime believed was due as reimbursement or restitution for the losses caused or in some cases, to be caused by the carrying out of a particular offense.
As per New Hampshire Laws, misdemeanors are divided into two categories based on the severity of the crime: Category A and Category B. Category A are the more serious of the two and can carry jail time of up to 12 months and a fine of $1,200. Category B crimes do not include any jail time and usually involves a fine up to $1,200. Compounding a felony is under category A and can carry jail time and a fine.
Compounding a crime is a common-law offense and is enacted with the intention of preventing a victim of an offense from hampering the investigation into the crime. This definition is a version of the New York Penal Code 215.45. While the New York Law contains punishment for choosing not to prosecute after entering into an agreement, it makes no mention of the matter of aiding, and abetting or of hampering the investigation further. As ‘post-initiating activities’ such as providing testimony is also a very important part of the prosecution of a criminal, this law further expands on the New York statute.
There exists a controversy regarding a situation wherein the victim of the offense receives no more that he believes reasonably reimburses or compensates him for the damages caused by the criminal act. The New York Penal code provides a defense in this case. Rarely, when the compounding provision is used against a reimbursed victim, it is used as a threat to ensure further cooperation from the victim in the prosecution of the crime. This means that while the prosecutor won’t prosecute for compounding, he may warn the victim that his decision to avoid prosecution may open him up for compounding charges.