New Jersey Stalking Defense Lawyers
In New Jersey, stalking is almost always treated very seriously by the prosecutor’s office. As in domestic violence cases, there is usually a special prosecutor that will handle a stalking case. Stalking is defined at N.J.S.A. 2C:12-10 as follows:
A person is guilty of stalking, a crime of the fourth degree, if he purposefully or knowingly engages in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for his safety or the safety of a third person or suffer other emotional distress.
It is important to understand what “course of conduct” means because it is defined very broadly:
“Course of conduct” means repeatedly maintaining a visual or physical proximity to a person; directly, indirectly, or through third parties, by any action, method, device, or means, following, monitoring, observing, surveilling, threatening, or communicating to or about, a person, or interfering with a person’s property; repeatedly committing harassment against a person; or repeatedly conveying, or causing to be conveyed, verbal or written threats or threats conveyed by any other means of communication or threats implied by conduct or a combination thereof directed at or toward a person.
With this definition, the prosecutor could consider a host of things to be stalking – text messages, talking to common friends, driving by a house, Facebook comments, etc.
The crime is escalated to a 3rd degree crime if the conduct is in violation of an existing court order, like a temporary restraining order (TRO) or a permanent restraining order. Even without an existing court order, stalking is also elevated to a 3rd degree crime if it is a second offense against the same victim or if the defendant was in jail/prison at the time or out on parole. A 3rd degree crime carries a potential jail sentence of 3 to 5 years and a fine up to $15,000. Also – and this is very important – if a person is convicted of stalking, the judge must enter a permanent restraining order limiting or prohibiting contact between the defendant and the victim, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:12-10.1. And a permanent restraining order may very seriously affect one’s ability to get a job and prohibits the person from owning a gun or other firearm.
New Jersey Harassment/Threats Defense Lawyers
Harassment is a much simpler case in New Jersey, but should still be taken seriously because a conviction could still have serious negative consequences for years into the future. Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:33-4, harassment is essentially a one-time occurrence, whereby the defendant does something on purpose to harass another, buy communicating at inconvenient times of the day, using offensive or abusive language, or does some other type of “alarming” conduct. Also, any kind of assault (punching, shoving, kicking, etc.) is also considered harassment. Harassment is a petty disorderly persons offence, not a crime.
Threatening to commit an act of violence (i.e. an assault) is known as the crime of “terroristic threats” and is a 3rd degree crime pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:12-3. Although the statute uses the word “terroristic”, this law has nothing to do with terrorists. Rather, it criminalizes threats that are designed to terrorize another, or cause public alarm. As a 3rd degree crime, a conviction carries a potential jail sentence of 3 to 5 years and a fine up to $15,000.
Harassment / Threats / Stalking Crime Defense Approach (Why Us?)
As you can see, harassing a person, threatening a person, and/or stalking a person could subject you to a wide range of different penalties. If you are charged with such a crime you will need a lawyer to protect your rights. It is possible for a prosecutor to use relatively benign facts and “blow them out of proportion” and charge you with very serious crimes. That is why we encourage everyone charged with harassment, terroristic threats, and/or stalking to take the case very seriously. Our firm will fight vigorously for you and help you achieve the best results for your criminal case. We are skilled at analyzing the evidence that the state intends to use against you and we fight to exploit any holes in the prosecutor’s case. We also spend a considerable amount of time in negotiating with the prosecutor so that our client’s get the best plea offers possible. Once a plea offer is made, we counsel our clients about whether it makes sense to accept a plea offer or take their case to trial, where the prosecutor would have to prove all of the charges beyond a reasonable doubt.
Harassment / Threats / Stalking Free Consultation
If you are charged with any crime, please call us right away for a 100% FREE CONSULTATION, on the phone or in our office. We will review the court documents with you and advise you on what we can do to help you. Remember, the prosecutor’s job is to put people charged with crimes in jail. The prosecutor will not simply listen to your side of the story and drop the case against you. It is important to be represented by a skilled criminal defense attorney.
Please call us today for a free consultation!
Raff & Raff, LLP
Attorneys at Law
30 Church Street
Paterson, NJ 07505
Based in Paterson, New Jersey, Raff & Raff, LLP services clients in the communities of Bloomingdale, Clifton, Haledon, Hawthorne, Little Falls, Passaic, Paterson, Pompton Lakes, Prospect Park, Ringwood, Totowa, Wanaque, Wayne, West Milford, Woodland Park, Allendale, Alpine, Bergenfield, Bogota, Carlstadt, Cliffside Park, Closter, Cresskill, Demarest, Dumont, East Rutherford, Edgewater, Elmwood Park, Emerson, Englewood, Fair Lawn, Fort Lee, Franklin Lakes, Garfield, Glenn Rock, Hackensack, Hasbrouck Heights, Haworth, Hillsdale, Ho-Ho-Kus, Leonia, Little Ferry, Lodi, Lyndhurst, Mahwah, Maywood, Midland Park, Montvale, Moonachie, New Milford, North Arlington, Northvale, Norwood, Oakland, Old Tappan, Oradell, Palisades Park, Paramus, Park Ridge, Ramsey, Ridgefield, Ridgewood, River Edge, River Vale, Rochelle Park, Rockleigh, Rutherford, Saddle Brook, Saddle River, Teaneck, Tenafly, Teterboro, Waldwick, Wallington, Westwood, Wood-Ridge, Woodcliff Lake, Wyckoff, Belleville, Bloomfield, Caldwell, Cedar Grove, Orange, Essex Fells, Fairfield, Glen Ridge, Irvington, Livingston, Maplewood, Millburn, Montclair, Newark, North Caldwell, Nutley, Roseland, Verona, Bayonne, Jersey City, Hoboken, Union City, West New York, Guttenberg, Secaucus, Kearney, Harrison, North Bergen, Weehawken, Elizabeth, Linden, Plainsfield, Rahway, Union, Scotch Plains, Clark, Cranford, Hillside, Westfield, Roselle, and surrounding areas.