SENATE LAW AND PUBLIC SAFETY COMMITTEE

 

STATEMENT TO

 

SENATE, No. 1878

 

with committee amendments

 

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

 

DATED:  JUNE 14, 2012

 

      The Senate Law and Public Safety Committee reports favorably and with committee amendments Senate Bill No. 1878.

      As amended and reported by the committee, this bill enhances the penalties for falsely incriminating another person in criminal activity or making a fictitious report to law enforcement authorities. 

      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.  Current law also provides that a person commits a disorderly persons offense if he reports to law enforcement authorities an offense or other incident that did not occur, or pretends to furnish the authorities with information relating to an arrest or incident for which he has no information.  A crime of the fourth degree is punishable by up to 18 months imprisonment, a fine of up to $10,000, or both.  A disorderly persons offense is punishable by imprisonment for up to six months, a fine of up to $1,000, or both.

      This bill upgrades false incrimination to a crime of the third degree, or a crime of the second degree if the victim was implicated in a crime of the first or second degree.  A crime of the third degree is punishable by three to five years imprisonment, a fine of up to $15,000, or both.  A crime of the second degree is punishable by five to 10 years in prison, a fine of up to $150,000, or both.

      The committee amended the bill to upgrade making a fictitious report to law enforcement authorities a crime of the fourth degree.

      According to the sponsor, false police reports abuse valuable public resources and endanger the entire community by diverting the efforts of law enforcement away from genuine criminal activity.  Enhancing the penalties for these crimes will deter persons from filing these reports and squandering public resources.