Hudson County Hindering Apprehension Lawyer
If you have been charged with hindering apprehension under N.J.S.A. 2C:29-3, you could be facing jail time and a criminal conviction on your record. Before making any decisions regarding your case and what to do next, you should make to understand these serious charges and the consequences of a conviction in New Jersey. While hindering is a relatively common offense, it is largely misunderstood. Essentially, you can be charged with hindering apprehension or prosecution for preventing or attempting to prevent law enforcement from taking you or someone else into custody, investigating you or another person, retrieving evidence that may be used in a criminal prosecution, or otherwise interfering with the course of an investigation or prosecution. As you can see, hindering can take many forms, from flushing pills down the toilet to hiding someone in your home before they flee to the state or country. If you have been arrested for hindering, eluding police, resisting arrest, obstructing the administration of law, or another crime in Hudson County, contact the skilled criminal defense lawyers at Proetta & Oliver for immediate assistance. We have years of experience defending clients facing criminal charges in Jersey City, Kearny, Bayonne, North Bergen, Hoboken, and throughout New Jersey and we are here to fight for your innocence. Contact us at (201) 793-8018 for a free consultation or to arrange an appointment at our local office in Jersey City, NJ.
What is Hindering Apprehension?
Hindering apprehension or prosecution can take on many different meanings, as explained in section N.J.S.A. 2C:29-3 of the New Jersey statutes. However, the commonality in all hindering cases is that the person who is charged with hindering has allegedly committed an act “with the purpose to hinder the detention, apprehension, investigation, prosecution, conviction or punishment of another for an offense” or violation “of a motor vehicle offense.” In essence, hindering apprehension is any act by any person that is designed to prevent the detection of oneself, any other person, or evidence that may be used to prosecute a crime.
What Acts can Lead to Hindering Charges?
Any person who intentionally commits certain acts may be guilty of hindering apprehension. Below is a list of acts that may give rise to a hindering charge:
- Harboring or hiding another;
- Providing or aiding in providing a weapon, money, transportation, disguise or other means of avoiding discovery or apprehension or effecting escape;
- Hiding or destroying evidence of a crime or tampering with evidence, a witness, or document that would assist in the apprehension of any person;
- Warning another of impending apprehension;
- Preventing or obstructing, by force, intimidation, or deception, the detection or apprehension of another;
- Aiding such person to protect or expeditiously profit from an advantage derived from such crime; or
- Giving false information to law enforcement.
For example, perhaps a police officer pulls over a car with four occupants inside who are in possession of marijuana. As the officer approaches, the driver tells one of the occupants in the backseat to “get rid of it.” The driver throws the passenger the marijuana, who promptly eats the drugs to avoid detection. The cop approaches and smells raw marijuana, sees the backseat passenger chewing something, and also notices remnants of the marijuana on his lips. The officer pulls another occupant from the car and asks him questions about what happened. The passenger being questioned becomes nervous, and tells the officer everything that had just transpired. The officer may very well head back to his police car and charge both the driver and the passenger who ate the marijuana with a violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:29-3. The driver is charged because he asked or requested the passenger to get rid of the drugs or to “conceal” them. The passenger is charged because he “destroyed” evidence that could be used against each of the car’s occupants when facing charges for marijuana posession.
Continuing with this example, perhaps the vehicle contained a fourth occupant who provided a fake name to the officer because he knew there was a warrant out for his arrest. In this example, he would be guilty of hindering his own apprehension, knowing that if the officer knew his real name, he would be arrested. Hindering apprehension charges may apply in all of these scenarios, subjecting the defendants to serious criminal charges and possible jail time.
What if I’m Convicted of Hindering Apprehension or Prosecution?
Charges for hindering apprehension or prosecution can be indictable offenses (felonies) which would result in a state prison sentence. If not an indictable offense, hindering is a disorderly persons offense (misdemeanor) with a potential sentence of up to 180 days in the county jail. The degree of the offense charged is always one degree lower than the charge for which you could have been charged had you not concealed evidence or hindered prosecution. Otherwise, if the crime for which you are hindering apprehension is disorderly persons offense, the hindering charge will be a disorderly persons offense.
In addition, when a hindering offense involves the use of intimidation or force, it is considered a second degree crime. Second degree hindering is punishable by 5-10 years in prison and a maximum fine of $150,000. Third degree hindering crimes carry between 3 and 5 years of imprisonment, while fourth degree hindering apprehension entails prison time of up to 18 months. Lastly, a disorderly persons charge for hindering may result in up to 180 days in jail and a fine amounting to $1,000.
Contact a Kearny NJ Hindering Apprehension Defense Attorney
Whether you have been charged with an indictable offense or a disorderly persons offense for hindering in Hudson County or elsewhere in New Jersey, you should speak with an attorney knowledgeable about the specifics of your case as soon as possible. Hindering charges can be confusing and even police officers make mistakes in the degree of the charges filed. Our team of knowledgeable Hudson County criminal defense attorneys know how to defend hindering charges, as we have been doing it in Hudson County Superior Court and local courts throughout the county for our entire careers. To learn more about how we can help with your case and get a better idea of your options, contact our Jersey City office today at (201) 793-8018 for a free consultation.