The Statute of Limitations in New Jersey for False Imprisonment

A statute of limitations law establishes a timeframe within which charges can be brought against various types of crimes. Different jurisdictions have their own time limits for initiating the process of prosecuting anyone who commits any offense. When that time elapses, the offender can no longer be prosecuted for that offense. The New Jersey Code of Criminal Justice describes the offense of false imprisonment and sets the statute of limitations for prosecuting it.

  1. False Imprisonment

    • The statute of limitations for false imprisonment in New Jersey is two years. At the expiration of two years, the statute of limitations kicks in and the offender can no longer be prosecuted for the offense. Under New Jersey Criminal Code, someone commits false imprisonment when he knowingly interferes with the liberty of another person by unlawfully restraining him. Even if the person's consent was obtained by threat, it is still a violation, and as such, false imprisonment. Examples of false imprisonment include locking someone in a car or room without his consent and physically restraining another person. Another example is holding something of value to another person with the aim of causing her to stay some place against her will.


    • Although false imprisonment involves restraining someone against his will, New Jersey Criminal Code makes one exception. A charge of false imprisonment does not apply in a situation when the person restraining the other person is a legal guardian or parent. However, the person being restrained must be a child under the age of 18 and the purpose of any such restraint must be to gain control of the child.

    Classification of Crimes in New Jersey

    • False imprisonment is not a felony in New Jersey. It is classified as a "disorderly person's offense." Under New Jersey Criminal Code, offenses are divided into crimes and disorderly person's offenses. Crimes are more serious offenses for which violators could be indicted, while disorderly person's offenses are equivalent to misdemeanors. Crimes are divided into first- through fourth-degree criminal charges. Disorderly person's offenses carry penalties that range from probation to up to six months in jail.

    Consequences of a False Imprisonment Conviction

    • The consequences of a conviction of false imprisonment can be up to six months in jail. However, the exact punishment depends on several variables -- for instance, the circumstances surrounding the charge of false imprisonment and the presiding judge's discretion. Additionally, the offender's criminal history is an important factor. For instance, first-time offenders might get a more lenient punishment than habitual offenders might.

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