“If you interfere with an arrest or police investigation, you could be charged with Hindering Apprehension. A conviction for Hindering Apprehension can result in significant jail time.”
Travis J. Tormey and the Tormey Law Firm recently represented a client who had been accused of lying to the police and hindering apprehension in Boonton Township, New Jersey.
The client was at her home in Boonton NJ when police officers showed up. The officers informed the client that they were at the residence so that they could serve a warrant on the client’s boyfriend. Our client told the officers that her boyfriend was not inside the residence. She then consented to a search of the home, but told police that she would need to put away her large, 200-pound mastiff dog because it is not friendly to strangers. When the client went downstairs to put away the dog, she saw her boyfriend in the basement. A short time later, the boyfriend exited the basement and was arrested without incident.
Since the arresting officers believed that our client had lied to them about her boyfriend’s whereabouts, they issued her a summons for hindering apprehension. The penalties for this offense are severe. N.J.S.A. 2C:29-3(a) classifies hindering apprehension as a disorderly persons offense, which meant that our client faced a potential jail sentence of up to 6 months in the Morris County Jail.
However, our client was adamant that she had been wrongfully charged. During trial in the Boonton Municipal Court, she testified that she did not realize her boyfriend was inside the residence when police officers came to her door. Moreover, both her boyfriend and her daughter testified at trial and corroborated her story.
Mr. Tormey helped the client fight the hindering apprehension charges and eventually convinced the judge to dismiss the charges entirely. When issuing his ruling, the judge referenced a New Jersey Supreme Court decision that declared that a person cannot be convicted of hindering apprehension simply for responding to police questions; the person must volunteer false information to the police in order for it to be considered “hindering.”
Thanks to Mr. Tormey’s efforts, the client avoided jail time. This was a major trial victory for the Tormey Law Firm.