(TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Gilbert “Whip” Wilson and Carmelo Garcia to raise the penalty for anyone who falsely incriminates another person in a criminal activity was approved Monday by an Assembly panel.
Under current law, a person who knowingly gives or causes to be given false information to a law enforcement officer in order to implicate another commits a crime of the fourth degree. Wilson and Garcia’s bill upgrades false incrimination to a crime of the third degree, or crime of the second degree if the victim was implicated in a crime of the first or second degree.
The sponsor’s intent of the bill is to deter persons from filing these reports and squandering public resources enhancing the penalties for this crime.
“False police reports abuse valuable public resources and endanger the entire community by diverting the efforts of law enforcement away from genuine criminal activity,” said Wilson (D-Camden, Gloucester). “Most information received has value but there are those who give false information to knock an investigation off its course. This action deserves the strongest penalty New Jersey can provide.”
A crime of the third degree is punishable by three to five years in prison, a fine of up to $150,000 or both.
“The police must be able to depend on the information received from an individual,” said Garcia (D-Hudson). “Following false leads squanders valuable time during an investigation. This crime is not one that should be taking lightly. In many cases, time can mean the difference between life and death or catching the perpetrator and not.”
The measure was released by the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee.