Argued: April 5, 2016
Circuit Court–Concord District Division
A. Foster, attorney general (Elizabeth C. Woodcock, assistant
attorney general, on the brief and orally), for the State.
Peabody LLP, of Manchester (Anthony J. Galdieri on the brief
and orally), for the defendant.
defendant, Arthur Kardonsky, appeals the finding of the
Circuit Court (Boyle, J.) that he was guilty of the
violation-level offense of driving after suspension of his
driver's license. See RSA 263:64 (2014). On
appeal, he argues that the trial court erred by ruling that
this violation-level offense does not require the mens
rea of "knowingly." Because we agree, we
relevant facts follow. The defendant was originally charged
with both a misdemeanor and a violation-level offense for
driving his motor vehicle after his privilege to do so had
been suspended. The misdemeanor offense alleged that the
defendant drove after his motor vehicle registration had been
suspended; the violation-level offense alleged that he drove
after his driver's license had been suspended. At trial,
defense counsel urged the trial court to "enter a
finding of not guilty" as to both the misdemeanor and
violation-level offenses because, when the defendant was
arrested for driving with a suspended license and
registration, he was unaware that they had been suspended,
and because "he had a license that on its face appeared
valid and the same for the registration." For its part,
the State argued that the defendant testified that he
"lives at the address to which the notice" of
license suspension "was sent, " and that "his
testimony was conflicting as to what he does and does not
The trial court ruled as follows at the close of evidence:
Sir, you're charged with operating on a suspended
registration, that is a Class B misdemeanor. The State has to
prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you drove or permitted
to be driven a certain motor vehicle in the State of New
Hampshire after knowing that your registration had been
suspended by the director of motor vehicles.
This is a misdemeanor level offense and it carries with it
the mens rea of knowingly. I've heard testimony here
today that you don't recall whether or not you received a
notice from the police officer at the time of your accident
that your registration would be suspended and your license
would be suspended if you failed to comply with the insurance
provisions and in essence guarantee that you would make good
on any damages from the accident that you were at fault.
You've testified that you've had problems getting the
mail where you were living at the time and you don't
recall ever receiving a notice from DMV that you had, in
fact, had your license suspended for failure to comply with
the insurance requirements.
Since there's a mens rea of knowingly on this offense,
I'm going to enter a finding of not guilty.
You also have a violation level offense of operating after
suspension. That is a violation level offense[;] it does not
require a mens rea of knowingly. What the State must prove is
that your license was suspended and that you were operating a
motor vehicle while your license was suspended.
I'm going to enter a finding of guilty to that one.
trial court imposed a $250 fine and a $60 penalty assessment.
See RSA 263:64, VII. This appeal followed. The trial
court subsequently granted the defendant's ...