Tampering with public records is either a disorderly persons offense or a crime of the third degree under N.J.S.A. 2C:28-7. Generally, public records will refer to a record, document or thing belonging to or received or kept by the government for information or record or required by law. If someone tampers with this type of record and is found guilty in accordance with N.J.S.A. 2C:28-7, they are exposed to significant penalties. Your best option in avoiding and/or reducing the penalties that apply to a tampering with records charge is, in our estimation, to hire the most experienced criminal defense lawyer you can afford. In this regard, we would be happy to discuss what we can offer in defending your charge(s). Our office has extensive experience representing clients in Courts throughout Passaic County, including towns like Wayne, Totowa, Little Falls, West Milford, Wanaque, Bloomingdale and Passaic City. We are available immediate for a free consultation at 862-203-4070.
NJ Tampering with Public Records Law
Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:28-7, the State must prove the following to obtain a conviction for tampering with records:
- That the record, document or thing was a public record or information required by law to be kept for the government;
- That the defendant destroyed, concealed, removed, mutilated or otherwise damaged it;
- The defendant acted with a purpose to impair the verity or availability of the record, document or thing; and
- The defendant’s actions were not authorized by law
The violation results in third degree tampering with public records where the defendant’s purpose was to defraud or injure another. It is fourth degree tampering for a person to alter, destroy, conceal, remove or disable a camera or monitoring device maintained by the police or other governmental unit. Otherwise, tampering with public records is a disorderly persons offense.
Jail, Fines & Other Penalties for Tampering with Public Records
If convicted of tampering with records in the third degree, the defendant will face anywhere from three (3) to five (5) years in prison, along with a $15,000 fine. Fourth degree tampering with public records carries jail of up to 18 months and a fine as high as $10,000. Disorderly persons tampering with public records can result in up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. Third and Forth degree varieties of this offense are eligible for pretrial intervention, assuming the accused is otherwise eligible for this diversion program.