New Jersey Stalking Lawyer
If you are facing stalking charges in New Jersey, contact a criminal defense attorney at our law firm today. Stalking is often prosecuted aggressively in New Jersey. In some cases, the person charged with this state crime may also face federal stalking laws, depending on the situation. In many cases, stalking is charged alongside related offenses, including domestic violence or harassment charges.
In some cases, charges that involve domestic violence automatically result in harsher penalties upon conviction than in cases where no domestic violence occurred. A conviction for stalking is punishable by up to five years in prison, depending on the severity of the offense.
If you’ve been charged with stalking, you need an experienced defense attorney by your side who can advocate for your best interests. Your New Jersey stalking lawyer will present your side of the story, and defend you in court. Do not hesitate to contact a New Jersey criminal lawyer as soon as possible.
Stalking Charges and Penalties
According to New Jersey Revised Statutes § 2C:12-10, someone is guilty of stalking if they:
- Purposefully or knowingly engage in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for their safety or the safety of a third person or suffer other emotional distress (fourth degree)
- Commit the crime of stalking in violation of an existing court order prohibiting the behavior (third degree)
- Those charged with any subsequent stalking offenses would face a third-degree charge regardless of whether there was an existing court order in place
A conviction for stalking in the fourth degree can result in an 18-month prison sentence. A conviction for third-degree stalking is more serious and is punishable by three to five years in prison. Additionally, anyone convicted of stalking faces a criminal record listing conviction for this serious offense. To defend against such penalties, an individual should contact a stalking lawyer in New Jersey immediately.
New Jersey Stalking Laws
Under this law, a course of conduct means maintaining a “visual or physical proximity” to someone. This proximity can be virtual, such as through text or social media.
If someone engages in a course of conduct that would cause a reasonable person to experience fear or emotional distress, they could face a stalking charge. For example, if someone’s text message to another person causes the other person to fear for their safety, even if the sender was merely joking, they could be charged with stalking.
Stalking charges can also arise if the accused uses a third party to cause fear or distress. For example, having a friend send a threatening (intentionally threatening or not) message through social media may be considered stalking under this law.
Prosecutors often take text messages, social media posts, and emails between the accused and a specific person out of context to argue stalking occurred. Because the legal definition of stalking is so vague, it can be hard to prove such communications or interactions did not meet the legal definition of stalking.
This is why is it important for anyone facing this charge to contact an experienced New Jersey stalking lawyer immediately after arrest.
Contact an Attorney
Have you been charged with stalking? Are you concerned that prosecutors will take your words or actions out of context in order to convict you? If so, contact a stalking attorney in New Jersey today. An experienced stalking criminal defense lawyer will present the facts of what really happened and defend you in court. Call our law office to schedule a free consultation to discuss your stalking case.
Frequently Asked Questions Regarding New Jersey Stalking Law
In many cases of stalking, alleged offenders are often shocked, surprised, and bewildered when faced with a stalking charge. This is due to the vague details in New Jersey stalking law and the fact that so many human interactions can be misinterpreted and misunderstood. Clients often come to our law firm with many questions and concerns regarding their stalking case. Here you’ll find some common questions and answers associated with stalking. If you’d like more information about New Jersey stalking laws, penalties, and defense strategies, contact our law firm today.
What constitutes stalking in New Jersey?
This is the most difficult aspect of New Jersey stalking law. Defining what does or does not classify as stalking is often perceived as vague or subjective. According to New Jersey Revised Statutes § 2C:12-10, someone is guilty of stalking if they purposefully or knowingly engage in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for their safety or the safety of a third person or suffer other emotional distress.
In order to file a stalking complaint, all the alleged victim has to do is explain that they experienced fear due to a course of conduct directed by the offender. This “course of conduct” can be any action that sparks fear, makes the other person feel threatened, or experience emotional distress. However, what one person might believe is threatening, may not be considered threatening by another. This can lead to an endless list of potential issues when attempting to classify a behavior as stalking.
This is the fundamental reason why it’s necessary to hire a criminal defense attorney that specializes in stalking cases. A New Jersey stalking attorney can deliver your side of the story and prove that your behavior was never intended to cause fear and therefore, shouldn’t classify as a stalking offense. Regardless of what the course of conduct was, it’s important to work with a criminal defense lawyer in these circumstances. Contact our law firm today to speak to an attorney about your stalking charge.
What are the criminal penalties for stalking in New Jersey?
The penalties for a stalking crime in New Jersey will vary depending on a few factors. For instance, if it’s your first offense and there are no active court orders against you, such as a protective order or a restraining order, you can face fourth-degree penalties and punishments. Fourth-degree stalking crime penalties in New Jersey can include up to 18-months in prison, $10,000 in fines, and a felony charge on your record.
If you do have a court order filed against you, such as a restraining order, you can face third-degree penalties and punishments. Third-degree stalking crime penalties in New Jersey can result in 3-5 years in prison, $15,000 in fines, and a felony charge on your record.
As you can see, the New Jersey courts take stalking charges very seriously and are willing to punish a stalking offender with years in prison, incredibly expensive fines and a felony charge on their record. The only way to minimize these penalties and punishments for a stalking charge is to work with a New Jersey stalking attorney. If you’re facing stalking charges, don’t wait until the last minute to hire legal representation. Contact our law office today to speak with a criminal defense attorney.
What is the relationship between stalking and domestic violence?
Legal scholars have studied the strong link between stalking and domestic violence for quite some time. Statistics show that domestic violence charges and stalking charges often go hand-and-hand. The link is strong between intimate or ex-intimate partners, acts of domestic violence, and acts that often classify as stalking. A stalking crime will rarely revolve around two complete strangers. Typically, the alleged victim of stalking and the stalking offender have some form of a personal relationship. It’s commonly a familial connection or a romantic one. These personal and close relationships that suffer from high levels of conflict can lead to domestic violence, and subsequently, lead to stalking charges. If you’ve been charged with domestic violence and there’s a protective order against you, there’s a high probability that any type of behavior, whether it be in person, via text message, or even on social media, will be viewed as threatening. If you’ve been served with a restraining order and you’ve now been accused of stalking, it’s imperative to contact a New Jersey criminal defense attorney that specializes in these cases.
What do they mean by “reasonable person” in the stalking law?
This is another aspect of stalking law that leads to confusion, uncertainty, and misrepresentation. There are various ways to define the characteristics of a “reasonable person”. Again, what you define as a “reasonable person” may be different from what someone else defines as a “reasonable person”. Since there’s no clear cut legal definition for a reasonable person, the reception of stalking is left up to interpretation. A reasonable person might know that a person was joking when they sent a particular text message. However, a judge or jury might think that a reasonable person wouldn’t know that the text message was intended as a joke. These fuzzy and imprecise details in stalking law are the key reason why it’s essential to speak with a New Jersey criminal defense attorney if you’ve been accused of stalking.
Why should I hire a New Jersey criminal defense attorney for my stalking case?
The main reason why anyone facing stalking charges should hire a New Jersey criminal defense attorney is that the consequences, penalties, and punishments of stalking are severe and intense. A trusted and experienced stalking lawyer can develop a defense strategy that can minimize these penalties. A New Jersey stalking attorney may even be able to get your stalking charges dropped. Unless you speak with a defense lawyer, you’re left to face these serious penalties on your own. It’s always highly recommended to hire a New Jersey attorney that focuses on stalking law to defend you if you’ve been charged with stalking. Contact our law office today to take advantage of a free consultation to discuss your stalking case.
If you have more questions about stalking conviction or would like to discuss about sexual harassment, cyber harassment or any other criminal charge related topic call New Jersey Criminal Attorney John B. Fabriele for a free consultation.
New Jersey Stalking Lawyer Office
New Jersey Stalking Lawyer
East Brunswick , NJ
Phone: (732) 246-0888