Defending NJ 2C:28-7. Tampering with public records.
After you read the following NJ Criminal Statute (Tampering with public records) you may decide that you need the help of a lawyer, or need a legal interpretation of how this statute applies to your case. The firm of Villani & DeLuca has experienced criminal lawyers with over 20 years of experience, including a former municipal prosecutor. Call the number above for a free 24×7 phone consultation or read more about the fake id charge.
Tampering with Public Records Defined
Generally, the tampering with public records charge is utilized to control the use of fake documentation that is used to enter a bar or purchase alcohol or tobacco. The statute makes it a disorderly persons offense to alter a government document, such as a state or federally issued identification card. It is important to remember that you need not use the ID or document to be charged with this offense. If you are caught with an altered document, that will be enough to charge you with the offense as a disorderly person. If you use the altered ID or document to defraud another, such as to purchase alcohol, you could face third degree criminal charges which are much more serious. One common method used to catch people using tampered with documentation, such as fake ID’s, is by placing cops in shops throughout New Jersey.
How the Prosecutor will Obtain a Conviction
In order to obtain a conviction for tampering with public records in New Jersey, the prosecutor must prove three elements beyond a reasonable doubt. First, he or she must show that the defendant made a false entry in, or false alteration of, a record, document or thing. Next, he must show that the defendant knew that the entry or alteration was false. Last, the prosecutor must show the defendant knew the record, document or thing belonged to, was received by, was kept by the government for information or record, or was required by law to be kept by another for information of the government. The statute refers to driver’s licenses, birth certificates, social security cards and passports as examples. Again, the prosecutor must prove all three elements beyond a reasonable doubt for a conviction.
Defending Against a Tampering Charge
There are many ways an experienced criminal defense attorney can defend against these charges. Each case has its own set of unique factors that must be considered when mounting an offense against the prosecutor. For example, showing the document was not the type that is kept, or that is required to be kept, by the local or federal government is a way to show that one of the elements needed have not been met. There may be a number of defenses available, so contacting an attorney will allow you to more fully challenge the charge.
Penalties for a Conviction for Tampering with Public Records
There are a number of ways that the statute can be charged. If you are simply in possession of the altered document, you will be charged as a disorderly person. Disorderly persons offenses generally carry penalties such as: a fine of up to $500.00, possible jail time, possible community service and other fines and penalties. If you use the altered document to perpetrate fraud, you could face third degree criminal charges where the penalties are much worse. Don’t try to defend yourself in court. Hire an experienced criminal defense attorney to help you present a strong defense. Call Villani & DeLuca today for a free initial consultation.
NJ Statute: 2C:28-7. Tampering with public records or information.
a. Offense defined. A person commits an offense if he:
(1)Knowingly makes a false entry in, or false alteration of, any record, document or thing belonging to, or received or kept by, the government for information or record, or required by law to be kept by others for information of the government;
(2)Makes, presents, offers for filing, or uses any record, document or thing knowing it to be false, and with purpose that it be taken as a genuine part of information or records referred to in paragraph (1); or
(3)Purposely and unlawfully destroys, conceals, removes, mutilates, or otherwise impairs the verity or availability of any such record, document or thing.
b.Grading. An offense under subsection a. is a disorderly persons offense unless the actor’s purpose is to defraud or injure anyone, in which case the offense is a crime of the third degree.
c.A person commits a crime of the fourth degree if he purposely and unlawfully alters, destroys, conceals, removes or disables any camera or other monitoring device including any videotape, film or other medium used to record sound or images that is installed in a patrol vehicle.
L.1978, c.95; amended 2001, c.219.
AKA: NJ Criminal Charge 2C:28-7, Violation 2C:28-7, Offense 2C:28-7
Disclaimer: A copy of this statute has been provided for your information. This wording was current from the NJ website lis.njleg.state.nj.us as of August 2012.