With the national attention that’s been directed at responding to and curbing domestic violence, most states, including New Jersey, have enacted statutes providing criminal sanctions for anything considered to constitute stalking. Here’s what you need to know if you are under suspicion for or have been charged with stalking in New Jersey.
WHAT ACTS ARE CONSIDERED TO BE STALKING?
Under New Jersey law, stalking requires a purposeful act—you cannot be charged with unintentionally or negligently stalking someone. To qualify as stalking, the conduct must be directed at a specific person and it must be such that a reasonable person would fear bodily injury or death. You can, however, be charged with stalking if you acted purposefully, but didn’t intend to cause fear, but did so anyway, as long as the fear was reasonable. Stalking is not restricted to physical threats of violence. You can be charged with stalking from making repeated phone calls, sending frequent e-mails, showing up at a person’s home or place of employment, showering a person with gifts, or using social media to regularly contact a person.
WHAT IS THE PUNISHMENT FOR CONVICTION ON A CHARGE OF STALKING?
At a minimum, stalking will be charged as a crime of the 4th degree. If there’s a protective order in place, or if you are on parole or probation at the time of the offense, it can be elevated to a crime of the 3rd degree. A crime of the 3rd degree can result in up to three to five years in prison and/or a fine of up to $15,000. In addition, if you are convicted of a second stalking charge involving the same victim, the charge will automatically be charged as a crime of the 3rd degree. Your conviction also serves as an application for a permanent restraining order.
CONTACT OUR OFFICE
At Jack Venturi Law, we bring considerable skill, knowledge, experience and resources to criminal defendants across New Jersey. To schedule a private meeting, contact our office by e-mail or call us toll free at 866-339-7801. We represent clients throughout Middlesex County, Union County, Mercer County, Monmouth County, Essex County and Somerset County.