This bill proposes to limit the circumstances under which law enforcement officers can obtain or execute no-knock search warrants. It amends RSA 595-A:2 to define a "no-knock search warrant" and sets out specific conditions under which such a warrant can be issued. The bill requires that law enforcement officers executing any search warrant must be identifiable as officers and must announce their authority and purpose before executing the search, except when a no-knock warrant is granted. No evidence obtained in violation of this requirement can be admitted in state prosecutions. No-knock warrants can only be granted if there is an imminent threat of physical injury by announcing presence, if exigent circumstances arise at the scene, or in exceptional circumstances such as human trafficking or missing person cases where evidence could be destroyed.

The bill also requires written approval from the chief law enforcement officer or their designee before seeking a no-knock warrant, and a timely report must be made to the county attorney and attorney general, which will become public record once the warrant is returned to the court. The bill specifies three circumstances under which a no-knock warrant may be executed: imminent threat of injury, exigent circumstances at the scene, or exceptional circumstances where evidence is at significant risk of destruction. The fiscal impact of the bill is indeterminate, with potential increases in state police expenditures due to the additional requirements for obtaining a no-knock warrant. Local law enforcement may also incur additional costs due to changes in tactics required by the bill, but the exact financial impact is not possible to estimate and will vary depending on the number of warrants executed and the tactics employed. The bill will take effect 60 days after its passage.

Statutes affected:
As Amended by the Senate: 595-A:2
As Amended by the Senate (2nd): 595-A:2
Version adopted by both bodies: 595-A:2