False Public Alarm and Its Legal Fallout

November 28, 2023

Creating A False Public Alarm, in Addition to Disturbing Those It Affects, May Result in Significant Legal Repercussions in Monmouth and Ocean County, New Jersey

False Public Alarm and Its Legal Fallout in New JerseyWe are in a chaotic day and age. Across the world, violence, outrage, and uprising are, unfortunately, becoming common news. It is understandable that we would live on edge. However, the legal implications of acting on the knowledge of this fear and falsely creating public alarm are severe. If you have been charged with creating a false public alarm in New Jersey, you are facing an indictable felony offense, and it is necessary for you to seek the support of a criminal defense attorney immediately. Contact our experienced team of criminal defense attorneys at Chamlin, Uliano & Walsh for help defending your false public alarm case. Call 732-440-3950 to consult with a lawyer today.

Degrees of False Public Alarm Offenses in New Jersey

According to N.J.S.A 2C:33-3, a false public alarm occurs when someone informs law enforcement of a present or imminent danger that does not actually exist, and whose circulation of the warning will reasonably cause public alarm and potential harm. There are varying degrees of false public alarm offenses in New Jersey that respond to the nature of the false alarm call and its impact.

Serious Consequences of False Public Alarms

A false public alarm charge is considered quite serious in the state because it has the potential to cause irreparable harm to those alerted. Shouting “fire” in a crowded theater when there is no fire could lead to injury or death as frantic individuals rush for the exits. Calling the New Jersey authorities to a non-existent incident could divert resources from an actual emergency requiring their aid, with catastrophic results. Reporting a bomb threat in a multi-story office building could result in people being crushed as they attempt to hurdle through crowded stairwells. The severity of the charge depends upon the nature of the false alarm itself and its circulation’s outcome on innocent individuals. It also depends on whether the person making the call knew of the event’s falsity, or acted in accordance with a real perceived threat.

Understanding Possible False Public Alarm Fines and Penalties

  • Fourth-Degree Indictable Offense: N.J.S.A 2C:33-3 notes that making a false public alarm call is a fourth-degree felony when one makes a call to 911 knowingly without having an emergency to report. Penalties are up to 18 months in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.
  • Third-Degree Indictable Offense: The law states that false public alarm constitutes a third-degree offense when it involves false warning of “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.” Additionally, the person is guilty of third-degree false public alarm offense if they cause a false alarm to be circulated within a public or private emergency organization such as a fire brigade or Red Cross. Penalties are 3-5 years in prison and up to $15,000 in fines.
  • Creating a False Public Alarm Defense Lawyers in Monmouth County NJSecond-Degree Indictable Offense: The crime is elevated to a second-degree offense when the false alarm call includes the placement of a fake bomb. A person is also guilty in the second degree if their false alarm call (outlined above in third-degree offenses) results in serious physical injury to any individual. Penalties are up to 10 years in prison and up to $150,000 in fines.
  • First-Degree Indictable Offense: A person is guilty in the first degree if their false alarm call (outlined above in third-degree offenses) results in the death of any individual. Penalties are up to 20 years in prison and up to $200,000 in fines.

Contact the Lawyers at Chamlin, Uliano & Walsh for Help with Your False Public Alarm Charges in Freehold and Toms River NJ

Fortunately, there are criminal defense strategies in this case, but to take advantage of these skills in such a serious and life-changing case, you need the experienced representation of a criminal defense attorney. Our criminal defense lawyers can thoroughly investigate the nature of the situation to determine if you have a potential defense due to improper procedural process on the part of law enforcement, or if you truly thought an alarming danger was imminent, among other defenses. Our team at Chamlin, Uliano & Walsh zealously defends those accused of creating false alarms across Monmouth and Ocean County in places like Wall, Holmdel, Toms River, Freehold, Asbury Park, Red Bank, Manasquan, Ocean Township, and Middletown, and we are ready to have your back. Contact us today at 732-440-3950 to schedule a confidential consultation to discuss your case.

Categorised in: Criminal Defense, Threat Crimes