Edison NJ Stalking Defense Lawyer
Criminal and Restraining Order Attorneys in Middlesex County, New Jersey
Stalking charges commonly arise out of failed romantic relationships, disputes between neighbors, and other relationships in which one party feels violated and responds aggressively. Regardless, the bottom line is that if you have been arrested for stalking in New Jersey, then you are facing serious criminal charges and may also be facing a permanent restraining order. If you or your loved one is facing charges for stalking in New Jersey, then it is in your best interest to understand the gravity of the consequences accompanying a guilty verdict. Such a verdict may result in a felony conviction and possible incarceration, a criminal record, mandatory community service, and steep monetary penalties. Our founding attorney, Will Proetta, Esq., has successfully represented a wide array of criminal and restraining order cases, including those that arise from stalking allegations, in courts across New Jersey. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Proetta & Oliver represent clients in both criminal and restraining order proceedings throughout Middlesex County, such as Old Bridge, New Brunswick, Woodbridge Township, Carteret, South Plainfield, Sayreville, and Dunellen. To speak with an experienced stalking defense attorney, please contact our office in Edison at (732) 659-9600 for a free initial consultation. We have representatives available 24/7 to answer your call.
New Jersey Stalking Law N.J.S.A. 2C:12-10
The law on stalking in New Jersey is listed below, in pertinent part, for your convenience.
§ 2C:12-10. Stalking
a. As used in this act:
(1) “Course of conduct” means repeatedly maintaining a visual or physical proximity to 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.
(2) “Repeatedly” means on two or more occasions.
(3) “Immediate family” means a spouse, parent, child, sibling or any other person who regularly resides in the household or who within the prior six months regularly resided in the household.
b. 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 bodily injury to himself or a member of his immediate family or to fear the death of himself or a member of his immediate family.
c. A person is guilty of a crime of the third degree if he commits the crime of stalking in violation of an existing court order prohibiting the behavior.
d. A person who commits a second or subsequent offense of stalking against the same victim is guilty of a crime of the third degree.
e. A person is guilty of a crime of the third degree if he commits the crime of stalking while serving a term of imprisonment or while on parole or probation as the result of a conviction for any indictable offense under the laws of this State, any other state or the United States.
f. This act shall not apply to conduct which occurs during organized group picketing.
What are the Consequences of a Stalking Conviction in New Jersey?
As provided in the above statute, stalking is normally a fourth degree felony punishable by up to 18 months in prison. Stalking can be upgraded to a third degree indictable offense if committed in violation of an existing court order, a repeat offense, or while on probation. A third degree felony is punishable by up to 3 – 5 years in state prison and a fine of up to $15,000. Furthermore, a conviction for stalking will result in a lifelong restraining order against the defendant. Due to the classification of stalking as a felony, the Middlesex County Prosecutors Office tries these cases in Middlesex County Superior Court, located in New Brunswick.
Charged with Stalking, What does it Mean?
Under N.J.S.A. 2C:12-10, you can be charged with the crime of stalking, a fourth degree indictable offense, if you purposefully or knowingly take some action toward a person that would make a reasonable person fear for their safety, the safety of someone else, or cause the individual to experience emotional distress. Many different acts can qualify as stalking, including following, monitoring, surveilling, or threatening another person. You may also be charged with stalking if you continually harass someone.
Another type of stalking is cyber-stalking, which is usually charged as a separate offense known as “cyber harassment.” You can be convicted of this offense if you harass someone online or with any electronic device. This includes by means of email, posting or sharing in online forums or social media, or by any other electronic means. If you are found guilty of stalking someone online, you can face up to 18 months of jail time and fines of up to $10,000.
If stalking occurs as an act of domestic violence, usually because the victim is your spouse, former spouse, someone you have lived with, dated, or have a child with, then it can also form the basis of a restraining order. A temporary restraining order will be filed first, followed by a final restraining order hearing. If after the restraining order trial, the judge finds a reasonable basis for a permanent restraining order, then you will be prohibited from stalking or contacting the other party at any point moving forward. Violating an FRO by stalking is a third degree crime, while any violation of an FRO is a fourth degree crime under NJ law.
Contact a Sayreville NJ Stalking Lawyer for Answers
Due to the various possible defenses that can be employed, the relationship and history of the persons involved, and the grave nature of the offense, defending a stalking case can become a very complicated endeavor. It certainly pays off to have an experienced stalking defense lawyer who knows how to properly challenge the State’s case against you and put them to their burden. Will Proetta, Esq., and his team of talented criminal and restraining order attorneys represent clients charged with stalking in South Brunswick, Plainsboro, Metuchen, Old Bridge, Cranbury Township, Perth Amboy, and throughout Middlesex County. For additional information regarding stalking or other domestic violence charges in New Jersey, contact our office anytime for a free initial consultation at (732) 659-9600.