What is Creating a False Public Alarm in New Jersey?
“False public alarm is a third degree crime under NJSA 2C:33-3. If you’re accused of making a false report about an emergency situation, you may face these charges and serious penalties.”
Even if you didn’t mean to create a panic by making a false report about a fire, explosion, bombing, crime, catastrophe or emergency, making a false report that may result in public inconvenience or alarm can lead to serious criminal charges in New Jersey. When a person warns about an impending disaster knowing what they are saying is false, this is considered a criminal act in violation of NJSA 2C:33-3. In many cases, these charges are brought against students at schools and universities who make threats about acts of violence. Sometimes, young people make statements meant to be jokes, which end up creating much more catastrophic scenarios than they intended.
In New Jersey, a person can be charged with creating a false public alarm for any type of report or warning that is false and may lead to the evacuation of a building or public place. This is considered a third degree crime, punishable by between 3 and 5 years in NJ state prison.
If you make a report or statement without merit about a disastrous event and because of the public alarm someone is injured, an offense under NJSA 2C:33-3 is enhanced to a second degree crime. Creating a false public alarm is also a second degree crime if some type of action that you take creates a security scare. Additionally, if the false public alarm offense occurs during a state of emergency at the state or national level, this is considered a second degree felony. If convicted of a second degree crime for creating false public alarm, you may be sentenced to serve between 5 and 10 years in prison.
In the most serious cases wherein creating an alarm results in someone’s death, you will be charged with a first degree crime. If you’re found guilty, the prison exposure is extensive–up to 20 years. On the other hand, if you call police and report something that isn’t true creating a false alarm (like a 9-1-1 call), this is typically classified as a fourth degree crime. Fourth degree crimes have a maximum term of incarceration of 18 months in New Jersey.
Contact an NJ False Public Alarm Attorney for Your Defense
If you or a loved one is facing charges for creating a false public alarm, don’t delay in speaking with an experienced criminal defense lawyer about your options. There are ways to defend against charges for NJSA 2C:33-3. At The Tormey Law Firm, our criminal defense attorneys fight tirelessly on behalf of clients arrested for making false reports and threats. Don’t let a misunderstanding or misjudgment jeopardize your future. Contact us today for an absolutely free consultation about your case. We are reachable by phone anytime at (201)-556-1570. You can also contact us online to arrange an appointment at one of our convenient office locations.
We have offices in Hackensack, Newark, Morristown, New Brunswick, and Middletown so we can serve clients throughout New Jersey. If you have a pending criminal case for creating false public alarm in Bergen County, Morris County, Passaic County, Hudson County, Monmouth County or elsewhere in New Jersey, find out how we can defend your innocence.
2C:33-3. False Public Alarms.
a. Except as provided in subsection b. or c. of this section, a person is guilty of a crime of the third degree if he initiates or circulates a report or warning of an impending fire, explosion, bombing, crime, catastrophe or emergency knowing that the report or warning is false or baseless and that it is likely to cause evacuation of a building, place of assembly, or facility of public transport, or to cause public inconvenience or alarm. A person is guilty of a crime of the third degree if he knowingly causes such false alarm to be transmitted to or within any organization, official or volunteer, for dealing with emergencies involving danger to life or property.
b. A person is guilty of a crime of the second degree if in addition to the report or warning initiated, circulated or transmitted under subsection a. of this section, he places or causes to be placed any false or facsimile bomb in a building, place of assembly, or facility of public transport or in a place likely to cause public inconvenience or alarm. A violation of this subsection is a crime of the first degree if it occurs during a declared period of national, State or county emergency.
c. A person is guilty of a crime of the second degree if a violation of subsection a. of this section in fact results in serious bodily injury to another person or occurs during a declared period of national, State or county emergency. A person is guilty of a crime of the first degree if a violation of subsection a. of this section in fact results in death.
d. For the purposes of this section, “in fact” means that strict liability is imposed. It shall not be a defense that the death or serious bodily injury was not a foreseeable consequence of the person’s acts or that the death or serious bodily injury was caused by the actions of another person or by circumstances beyond the control of the actor. The actor shall be strictly liable upon proof that the crime occurred during a declared period of national, State or county emergency. It shall not be a defense that the actor did not know that there was a declared period of emergency at the time the crime occurred.
e. A person is guilty of a crime of the fourth degree if the person knowingly places a call to a 9-1-1 emergency telephone system without purpose of reporting the need for 9-1-1 service.
Arrested for Creating a False Public Alarm Charge in NJ?
Contact the Tormey Law Firm now for a free initial consultation at 201-556-1571.