Hoboken NJ False Imprisonment Attorney
False imprisonment is criminal charge that deals with restricting another person’s liberty to come and go as they please. The statute itself can actually sound worse than it is because when people hear it they normally think of someone tied up in a basement or behind bars. This is simply not the case as false imprisonment normally only deals with a relatively minor interference with another’s liberty and is charged a disorderly persons offense. However, under certain circumstances, a crime of false imprisonment can quickly be upgraded to criminal restraint or kidnapping depending on the length of time the victim was restrained and whether they suffered any injuries as a result of the restraint. In fact, sometimes the difference between a crime of false imprisonment, criminal restraint or kidnapping can be so small that it can become a matter of contention during a criminal prosecution. That is why it is always important to have an experienced criminal defense lawyer review the facts of your case and develop potential defenses toward the ultimate goal of a dismissal or downgrade of your charges.
What is False Imprisonment 2C:13-3?
False imprisonment under 2C:13-3 happens when a person knowingly restrains another unlawfully so as to interfere substantially with his liberty. In most circumstances this can simply mean locking someone in a room or preventing them from leaving by hiding their keys or cell phone. However, the facts and exact circumstances of each case often vary greatly. However, one factor they all have in common is the court and prosecutor will exam whether the defendant’s actions actually affected the alleged victim’s free will and, by doing so, prevented them from leaving a place or residence.
**It is important to note that it is not a crime of false imprisonment if the victim is a minor under the age of 18 years old and the actor is a parent, relative, or guardian who is trying to assume control over the minor.
Penalties for Fales Imprisonment in New Jersey
Because false imprisonment is a disorderly persons offense in will typically be handled in the municipal court of the town, city or borough in which it took place. The municipal judge has the discretion to sentence you as they see fit which can include fines up to $1,000 in addition to mandatory assessments due to the state and court costs. Moreover, the judge has the discretion to sentence a defendant up to 6 months or 180 days in county jail depending on the circumstances. However, county jail is rare without aggravating factors such as a prior record or injury to the alleged victim. Lastly, if you are convicted of false imprisonment you will unfortunately wind up with a criminal record. But it is important, you can file an expungement for a disorderly persons offense in as little as 3 years, depending on the circumstances, in order to have the conviction removed from your permanent record.
Defending False Imprisonment Charges in Hudson County, NJ
False imprisonment is commonly seen in criminal cases involving domestic violence such as simple assault and harassment or even alleged as a basis for a temporary restraining order. Often times these cases involve different versions of events from the parties which is commonly referred to as a “he said, she said” scenario. Under some circumstances, a defendant may be able to successfully argue that he or she acted in good faith in order to protect or help the alleged victim. As noted above, because false imprisonment cases often rely solely on the testimony of an ex-lover, they can sometimes be difficult for the prosecutor to prove. Therefore, one strategy in defending a false imprisonment case may be to try and negotiate a downgrade to a municipal ordinance if not a complete dismissal if the circumstances allow. If you are interested in learning more about how our criminal defense attorneys can potentially help, then contact us today at (201) 793-8018 for a free consultation.