Travis J. Tormey and the Tormey Law Firm, LLC recently defended a client against hindering apprehension charges in Boonton Municipal Court.
Our client, a resident of Boonton NJ, was at home bathing her two daughters when the police stopped by her house and served a warrant on her boyfriend. Our client came to the door and told the officers that her boyfriend was not home. When the officers asked if she would consent to a search of the house, she said “yes.” She then told the officers that she needed to put away her 200-pound mastiff dog because it is not friendly to strangers. While the client was downstairs putting away the dog, she saw her boyfriend in the basement. He then exited the basement and was arrested without incident.
Unfortunately for our client, the arresting officers believed that she initially gave them false information about her boyfriend’s whereabouts. So police issued her a summons for hindering apprehension.
As set forth by N.J.S.A. 2C:29-3(a), hindering apprehension is a disorderly persons offense. This meant that our client faced up to 6 months in the Morris County Jail.
The client, who had no prior criminal history, was adamant that she had been wrongfully charged. At trial, she testified that she did not know that her boyfriend was home when police officers knocked on her door. Additionally, both her boyfriend and her daughter testified and corroborated her version of events.
Mr. Tormey vigorously defended the client against the charges. As a result, the State was unable to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt. The judge ultimately decided to dismiss the hindering apprehension charges. When issuing his ruling, the judge cited a New Jersey Supreme Court decision that states that anyone who answers a question from the police with false or imperfect information is not guilty of hindering apprehension; the person must volunteer the false information on their own in order for it to rise to the level of hindering.
Our client was thrilled with the outcome of the case. This was a major victory for the Tormey Law Firm.