There are many reasons why individuals in New Hampshire might face criminal court proceedings. Most people never think of adultery when considering criminal defense needs. However, according to state law, adultery by a spouse in an opposite-sex marriage is a punishable criminal offense. One New Hampshire lawmaker has moved to make a change to that law through a bill. It has been sent from the Senate to the governor's desk.
The representative who championed the law said he was sparked to action by a 2003 state supreme court ruling. In that ruling, the court stated that a same-sex couple couldn't be charged with adultery because the law defined adultery as being between opposite-sex partners.
According to the law, the punishment for a person convicted of adultery is a fine that could be as high as $1,200. Adultery is considered a Class B misdemeanor. Reportedly, the law has not been enforced in the state in more than a decade. The governor's spokesperson said she is likely to sign the bill repealing the adultery law.
The fact that such a law still exists on state books may seem like a joke to many, but it illustrates an important point about criminal law. Individuals are not always aware of the details of legal matters. Therefore, it is essential to have experienced legal professionals on your side when facing criminal allegations. Understanding how allegations and charges change the scope of a case, what the options are for a defense or plea, and how consequences impact your future are important aspects of any criminal defense.
Source: CBS Boston, "Bill To Repeal Crime Of Adultery In NH Goes To Governor’s Desk" No author given, Apr. 17, 2014