New Hampshire PI Law
DETECTIVE AGENCIES AND SECURITY SERVICES
106-F:1 Declaration of Purpose. – The purpose of this chapter is to:
I. Provide reasonable supervision and control of private detective agencies and their employees, security guard services and their employees, and individuals licensed as private detectives and security guards doing business in this state.
II. Ensure the honesty, good character and integrity of individuals, licensees, and license holders.
Source. 1977, 582:1. 1991, 308:32, eff. June 24, 1991.
106-F:2 Exclusions. – The following are excluded from the provisions of this chapter:
I. Insurance adjusters licensed as such.
II. Consumer reporting agencies and their employees who are engaged solely in the business of assembling or evaluating consumer credit information for a consumer reporting agency as defined in RSA 359-B:3, VI.
III. Police officers, except as provided in RSA 106-F:2-a, or fire investigators of the United States and the state, county, city, or town, while assigned to duty by and performing as officers of their respective law enforcement or fire service agencies.
IV. Any unarmed security guard who is an employee of a business which is not a security guard agency and who is employed by that business to secure its premises while so employed.
V. Towing or wrecking companies engaged in the repossession of vehicles.
Source. 1977, 582:1. 1983, 459:2. 1985, 338:1. 1992, 139:1. 1996, 37:1, eff. Jan. 1, 1997.
106-F:2-a Prohibition. – No person who is a sworn law enforcement officer employed by the state of New Hampshire or any of its political subdivisions shall be issued or hold a private detective's license under this chapter.
Source. 1996, 37:2, eff. Jan. 1, 1997.
106-F:3 Rulemaking; Enforcement. –
I. The commissioner of safety shall adopt rules, pursuant to RSA 541-A, relative to:
(a) Form of licenses and applications therefor;
(b) Examination procedures for license applications;
(c) Requisite standards of integrity and reputation for honesty;
(d) Use of fees for administration and enforcement of this chapter; and
(e) Revocation of licenses.
II. The commissioner of safety shall have the authority to enforce the provisions of this chapter, which authority shall not be restricted by RSA 106-B:15.
Source. 1977, 582:1. 1981, 389:1. 1987, 124:6, I(a), eff. July 1, 1987.
106-F:4 Definitions. – In this chapter:
I-a. "Applicant" means any person who makes application to engage in any activity regulated under this chapter.
I-b. "Private detective" means a person engaged in conducting investigations involving, but not limited to:
(a) Unsolved crimes.
(c) Clandestine surveillance.
(d) Missing persons.
(e) Lost, concealed, or stolen property.
(f) Escaped felons or wanted persons subject to reward for capture.
II. "Private detective agency" means the business of collecting for a fee, hire or reward information on the identity, conduct, movements, whereabouts, affiliations, transactions, reputation or character of any person, or otherwise doing investigative work for a private rather than a public interest.
III. "Security guard service" means any business entity, except as provided in RSA 106-F:2, that furnishes or employs persons for the protection of individuals or their property from injury or theft and includes, but is not limited to, services providing for the safe transport of money or valuable documents and security patrols of homes, businesses or industrial plants.
IV. "Employee" means an individual employed by a private detective agency or an individual employed by a security guard service performing the duties of a private detective or a security guard for the said private detective agency or security guard service.
V. "Licensee" means a licensed private detective agency or security guard service.
VI. "License holder" means an employee of a licensee.
VII. "Individual" means an individual licensed as a private detective or security guard who is not an employee and who has no employees.
Source. 1977, 582:1. 1981, 389:2, 3. 1990, 146:3. 1991, 308:33, eff. June 24, 1991.
106-F:5 License Required; Registration of Foreign Corporations. –
I. No person shall engage in the business of a private detective agency without obtaining a private detective agency license from the commissioner of safety and no person shall engage in the business of a security guard service without obtaining a security guard service license from the commissioner of safety.
II. No person shall become an employee of a private detective agency or a security guard agency without first obtaining a license to do so from the commissioner of safety.
III. Any out-of-state applicant incorporated under the laws of any other state, desiring to do business in this state pursuant to this chapter, shall be deemed to be a foreign corporation and shall be required to register under and comply with the provisions of RSA 293-A.
Source. 1977, 582:1. 1987, 124:6, I(a). 1990, 146:1, 2, eff. Jan. 1, 1991.
106-F:6 Application for License; Confidentiality. – All information provided by an applicant for a license under this chapter, other than the application date and the business address of the applicant, shall be kept confidential, unless such information is requested by a law enforcement agent engaged in the performance of his authorized duties. An applicant for any license issued under this chapter shall include the following in his application:
I. The name and address of the firm applying for a license, or the name and address of the applicant if an individual, and all partners, officers and major stockholders.
II. The name of the person primarily responsible for managing and conducting the business in this state.
III. The name of at least 3 unrelated persons to whom inquiry can be made concerning the applicant's character as to integrity and reputation for honesty.
IV. The applicant's record of felony convictions and misdemeanor convictions.
V. Information as to whether any prior or similar licenses have ever been issued to the applicant and if so, whether such licenses were ever revoked or suspended, in this or any other state.
VI. In the case of an applicant for an armed security guard or armed private detective license, 2 sets of the applicant's fingerprints taken at state police headquarters.
VII. Two photographs of the applicant taken at state police headquarters to be used for a photo license card issued by the commissioner of safety identifying the private detective or security guard holder and by whom he is employed.
VIII. In addition to the requirements of paragraphs I-VII, applicants for private detective licenses shall meet the following qualifications:
(a) Be a resident of the United States.
(b) Be at least 18 years of age.
(c) Have no record of violent misdemeanors, or theft, fraud, or felony convictions.
(d) Except for employees, possess:
(1) A minimum of 4 years' experience as a full-time law enforcement officer with a federal, state, county or municipal police department; or
(2) An associate of science degree or bachelor of science degree in criminal justice or fire service from an accredited college or university, and employment as a full-time investigator for a private detective agency for at least 2 years; or
(3) A minimum of 4 years' employment as a full-time investigator for a licensed private detective or private detective agency; or
(4) A minimum of 4 years' experience as a full-time firefighter and certification by the International Association of Arson Investigators.
(e) Provide verifiable documentation of his qualifications at the time of application for a license.
Source. 1977, 582:1. 1981, 389:4. 1987, 124:6, I(a); 205:1. 1990, 146:4, 5. 1991, 308:34. 1992, 139:3, eff. July 3, 1992.
106-F:7 Issuance of License; Identification Card. –
I. Following review of the application, the applicant's references, and investigation into the character, competency and integrity of the applicant, the commissioner shall as soon as practicable issue a license or renewal license in the form prescribed by him to the applicant, or notify the applicant of denial of the application. Prior to approval of any armed detective or security license issued under this chapter, the applicant shall submit to a fingerprint examination conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the department of safety shall be authorized to use the records of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the screening of applicants. The applicant shall be responsible for the cost of any background investigation or criminal records check required under this section.
II. All persons licensed under this chapter shall carry identification cards developed under rules adopted by the commissioner pursuant to RSA 541-A.
III. Applications for license renewals shall be reviewed subject to the provisions of RSA 541-A:30.
IV. The commissioner shall notify an applicant of an application denial in writing, including a complete statement of the reasons for denial. An applicant may request a hearing on such denial within 15 days of receipt of the notice of denial. Not later than 30 days following receipt of a timely request for hearing, the commissioner shall hold a hearing on the denial, and shall notify the applicant of the time, date and place of such hearing in writing. Hearings under this section shall be held pursuant to the contested case provisions of RSA 541-A:31-36.
Source. 1977, 582:1. 1981, 389:5. 1983, 459:3. 1985, 338:2. 1987, 124:6, I(a). 1990, 146:6. 1994, 412:11, eff. Aug. 9, 1994. 2002, 280:1, eff. July 17, 2002.
106-F:8 License Application and Renewal Fees. –
I. The fee for a private detective agency license or a security guard service license shall be $100 for an agency or service employing one person licensed under this chapter and $400 for an agency or service employing more than one such person. A person may hold one or more types of license at any given time, provided that a separate fee shall be paid for each license so held. Licenses shall be valid for 2 years after the date of issue and shall be renewed every 2 years thereafter, upon application and payment of the fee and submission of certified evidence that the surety bond remains in force. The application for renewal shall be submitted at least 15 days before the expiration of the previously granted license.
II. There shall be a nonrefundable fee of $5 for a license issued by the commissioner of safety to an employee as defined in RSA 106-F:4, IV. Such fee shall be paid by the service or agency employing such employee and shall be paid before the license is issued. Such licenses shall be valid for 2 years after the date of issue and shall be renewed upon the completion and filing of an application for renewal which meets the requirements of this chapter submitted at least 15 days before the expiration of the previously granted license.
III. The commissioner of safety shall set a reasonable fee, which he shall adopt by rule under RSA 541-A, to cover the expenses of the record check and investigation provided in RSA 106-F:7. The fee shall be charged to the applicant.
Source. 1977, 582:1. 1983, 459:4. 1985, 338:3. 1987, 124:6, I(a). 1990, 146:7, eff. Jan. 1, 1991.
106-F:8-a Firearm Proficiency. –
I. All armed security guards and armed private detectives shall meet minimum requirements in the proficiency in the use of firearms at least once per year. The requirements shall be as follows:
(a) The practical police course or the tactical revolver course, with a minimum qualification score of 75 percent.
(b) Shotgun familiarization course required for all security officers whose employers issue, or have as part of their equipment, shotguns.
(c) 4 hours of instruction, to include firearms techniques and safety, laws on the use of deadly force, and the moral and ethical use of force. Only qualified firearms instructors shall be used to certify the successful completion of the requirements.
II. Individuals shall be considered for qualification if they successfully complete one of the following courses:
(a) Council Firearms Instructor School;
(b) F.B.I. Firearms Instructor School;
(c) Smith & Wesson Firearms Instructor School;
(d) National Rifle Association Police Firearms Instructor Course;
(e) Equivalent courses as determined by the commissioner of safety on an individual basis.
Source. 1985, 338:4. 1987, 124:6, I(a), eff. July 1, 1987.
106-F:9 Surety Bond. – The surety bond required by this section shall be so conditioned that the person bonded shall conduct his or her business in a lawful and honest manner without committing, compounding, aiding or abetting the commission of any criminal offense. Said bond shall be filed with and kept by the secretary of state and shall be subject to being sued upon by the attorney general of the state in the name of the state or sued upon by any person injured by a breach of any condition of such bond designed to protect such person. The principal sum of the bond shall be $50,000, which shall be increased by $50, 000 for each additional type of license held by any person licensed under this chapter.
Source. 1977, 582:1. 1990, 146:8, eff. Jan. 1, 1991. 2001, 239:1, eff. Sept. 11, 2001.
106-F:10 Disposition of Fees. – All fees collected under this chapter shall be paid into the general fund of the state.
Source. 1977, 582:1, eff. Sept. 16, 1977.
106-F:11 Employees. –
I. A person licensed under this chapter may employ agents or guards as he deems necessary. The licensee shall be responsible for the conduct of any such employees who shall be covered under the licensee's surety bond.
II. The commissioner of safety may disapprove the employment of any individual for just cause. Appeal from such decision shall be permitted as set forth in RSA 106-F:15.
Source. 1977, 582:1. 1987, 124:6, I(a), eff. July 1, 1987.
106-F:12 Notice of Change. –
I. A licensee shall notify the commissioner of safety of the discharge or termination of any employee licensed under the provisions of this chapter and also any change in the membership of the firm or in the officers or directors of any association or corporation or any change in the address of any office or the location of such business, within 10 business days after such change. Failure to give such notification shall be sufficient cause for suspension of the licensee's license.
II. Any license holder who changes his place of employment from one agency to another shall within 10 business days notify the commissioner of safety in person as to the identity of his new employer, and a new photo license shall be issued at no cost to license holder.
Source. 1977, 582:1. 1987, 124:6, I(a). 1990, 146:9, eff. Jan. 1, 1991.
106-F:13 Restrictions. –
I. No trade name or designation shall be used which implies any association with any municipal, county, state or federal government or agency thereof. No licensee shall use a badge of any kind for identification purposes, except a security guard, who, if he wears any type of badge, shall wear one badge on the left breast of his uniform and one on his cap while on duty as a security guard. The word "police" shall not be used in any way, on any seal, card, badge or advertisement by the licensee.
II. No person shall:
(a) Provide any service requiring licensure under this chapter who is not licensed under this chapter.
(b) Falsely represent that a person holds a valid license issued under this chapter.
(c) Possess a license or identification card issued to another person under this chapter.
(d) Engage in advertising or the use of any seal or card which, in the opinion of the commissioner, may tend to mislead the public.
Source. 1977, 582:1. 1990, 146:10, eff. Jan. 1, 1991.
106-F:13-a Obligation to Report Certain Criminal Violations. – All felonies observed or discovered by persons licensed under this chapter shall be immediately reported to the New Hampshire state police or to the local police department in the municipality in which the felony occurred.
Source. 1990, 146:11, eff. Jan. 1, 1991.
106-F:14 Suspension or Revocation; Cessation of Operation. –
I. The commissioner of safety may revoke or suspend a license issued under this chapter, after a hearing, if the licensee:
(a) Violates any provision of this chapter or any rules adopted under this chapter.
(b) Is convicted of fraud, deceit or misrepresentation.
(c) Makes a material misstatement in a license application or application for license renewal.
II. Unless a license revocation or suspension issued under this section is appealed, the licensee shall immediately cease operations for the time period ordered in the suspension notice, or permanently if his license has been revoked. The licensee shall immediately notify all its clients of such revocation or suspension. The licensee shall forward a copy of each such notification to the commissioner, and keep a copy of each such notification in its business records.
III. Any license suspended or revoked under this section shall be surrendered to the commissioner within 72 hours of receipt of the notice of suspension or revocation by the licensee, subject to the provisions of RSA 106-F:15.
Source. 1977, 582:1. 1987, 124:6, I(a). 1990, 146:12, eff. Jan. 1, 1991.
106-F:15 Appeal. – All decisions by the commissioner of safety affecting licensing shall be mailed by certified mail to the applicant's last known address. Appeals from such decisions to the superior court shall be permitted as a matter of right, if taken within 30 days after the date received. In any such appeal the right to trial by jury shall be obtained, if requested in advance. No appeal taken from a decision of the commissioner of safety shall suspend the operation or effect of such decision unless so ordered by a justice of the superior court.
Source. 1977, 582:1. 1987, 124:6, I(a), eff. July 1, 1987.
106-F:15-a Exemptions. – Nothing in this chapter shall require the licensure of persons employed by any federal or state agency or any city or town as an investigator. Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to require licensure under this chapter for persons engaged in interviewing parties or witnesses in any legal matter.
Source. 1990, 146:13, eff. Jan. 1, 1991.
106-F:16 Penalty. – Any individual or person who engages in business as a private detective agency or security guard service without first having obtained a license therefor or who violates any other provisions of this chapter shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.
Source. 1977, 582:1. 1991, 308:35, eff. June 24, 1991.