Joshua’s Law was signed into law in the summer of 2014 and went into effect on January 1, 2015. Although Joshua's Law established the crime of domestic violence, it did not create new crimes, increase the penalty for any crime, or impose new restrictions on a person's right to purchase firearms. The law consolidated already existing misdemeanor crimes and labeled them "domestic violence," allowed for the labeling of certain felony crimes as domestic violence, and correctly identified those misdemeanor crimes for which federal gun restrictions applied. Labeling already existing crimes as domestic violence allowed police, prosecutors, and judges to make more informed decisions about bail, charges, plea negotiations, and sentencing by revealing whether or not a person was a serial domestic violence abuser.
The law was named for Joshua Sayvon, who was fatally shot by his father during a supervised visit at the Manchester YWCA in August 2013. The name “Joshua’s Law” is the “popular name” of the law. For more information about popular names, see our blog post.
The two links below are to the committee files for SB 318, the bill the created Joshua's Law. The files contain the original and amended versions of the bill as well as testimony from supporters and opponents of the bill. Committee files are a good way to learn about the background of a bill.
Please remember that this guide is for information purposes only and is not comprehensive. It is intended as a starting point for research, to illustrate the various sources of the law, and to provide guidance in their use. NH Law About ... is not a substitute for the services of an attorney.