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Jim Reilly
Jim Reilly, Crim Defense Atty
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 1805
Experience:  CA Atty since 1976, primarily criminal law. 150+ jury trials.
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My girlfriend Jamie (17) was at my house with me (19) and my

Customer Question

My girlfriend Jamie (17) was at my house with me (19) and my friends. Her mom came to get her, when i answered the door i told her mother that Jamie wasn't here because i didn't want her mom in my house. Her mother then called the police and i walked inside and told Jamie to go outside and talk to her. When the police arrived i was threatened with unlawful harboring of a minor. Is this legitimate?
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Jim Reilly replied 8 years ago.
The only New Jersey statute which appears to apply to this situation is Code of Criminal Justice section 2C:13-4, which you can see in full at: adings=on&headingswithhits=on&hitsperheading=on&infobase=statutes.nfo&rank=&record={1720}&softpage=Doc_Frame_PG42&wordsaroundhits=2&x=42&y=16&zz=

The pertinent portions of this statute are:

2C:13-4. Interference with custody.

a. Custody of children. A person, including a parent, guardian or other lawful custodian, is guilty of interference with custody if he:

(1) Takes or detains a minor child with the purpose of concealing the minor child and thereby depriving the child's other parent of custody or parenting time with the minor child ....

c. It is an affirmative defense to a prosecution under subsection a. of this section, which must be proved by clear and convincing evidence, that:

(3) The child, being at the time of the taking or concealment not less than 14 years old, was taken away at his own volition and without purpose to commit a criminal offense with or against the child.

So, as you can see, if your girlfriend was with you of her own free will and neither of you had intent to commit any crime, there is no violation of this statute. It appears that the police officer was just trying to scare you.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Can I do something about him saying this?
Expert:  Jim Reilly replied 8 years ago.
You can always file a misconduct complaint with his department. They may give you a hard time about doing so, but if you are persistent, they should take it. If they absolutely refuse to do so, then you can write a letter or send an email to the Chief of Police to register your complaint.

Contact information is available on the police department's website at:

If you feel that you may not be taken seriously because of your age, you might want to have a local attorney file the complaint for you. You can find an attorney through the Monmouth County Bar Association's Lawyer Referral Service, contact information for which is available at:

Good luck dealing with this.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Thank you for you help,greatly appreciated.
Expert:  Jim Reilly replied 8 years ago.
You're welcome, I am happy to be able to help. Good luck to you both.