Providing for disabled residents of New Jersey to enjoy a full and free life means that under the law, it is a crime to injure or interfere with service animals and guide dogs in the state.
Under N.J.S.A. 2C:29-3.2, Offenses Against Service Animals, Guide Dogs, you can face felony prosecution for some types of conduct, and misdemeanor charges for other actions described by the statute.
Most seriously, a person who recklessly kills a service animal or guide dog, or who recklessly allows their own dog to kill a service animal or guide dog, can face a sentence of up to 18 months, plus fines of $10,000.
Reckless injuries to a guide dog or service animal, or interference with a service animal or guide dog, are misdemeanors.
Injuries sustained by a person’s recklessness or a person’s dog’s recklessness are prosecuted as disorderly persons offenses, with a maximum sentence of six months and a fine of $1,000.
Reckless interference is a petty disorderly person’s offense, with a maximum sentence of 30 days and a fine of $500.
In all cases, a person who is convicted under 2C:29-3.2 will be required to pay restitution to the owner of the service animal or guide dog.
That can include medical and veterinary expenses, the cost of the value of the animal, paying for replacement of a service animal, training for a new service animal, or retraining of the animal, as well as lost wages and other expenses incurred as a result of the service animal or guide dog being away from its handler.
Criminal charges of any kind are hugely detrimental, but when criminal charges are from incidents involving dog fights, they can feel particularly unjust to a defendant.
Get the best representation available to protect you from overzealous prosecutors.
Call Matthew Reisig today at 732-625-9661 for a free consultation with an experienced New Jersey criminal defense attorney.