Neptune NJ Stalking Defense Attorneys
In New Jersey, the crime of stalking very often occurs within the context of domestic violence and as such, a conviction for stalking is accompanied by a permanent restraining order, which will limit or completely restrict your interaction with the alleged victim. Clearly, stalking is considered a serious crime, threatening in nature, and thus, is taken very seriously by prosecutors. When an allegation of stalking does arise, the State must prove a number of essential elements, which are crucial to understand when seeking to challenge these accusations.
First, “stalking” cannot occur in an isolated incident. It must comply with the standard known as a “course of conduct,” which requires 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.
The term “repeatedly” is critical, as it means that the behavior must have occurred on at least two or more occasions. Further, the act of stalking must provide cause for a reasonable degree of fear or emotional distress. This element often presents an avenue for challenging the prosecution’s case, as the victim’s experience is entirely subjective and may be open for interpretation. In order to effectively combat these charges, an experienced attorney must be well-versed in the nuances of stalking cases and familiar with significant case law in this realm.
At Chamlin, Uliano & Walsh, our seasoned attorneys have been representing clients in Monmouth County for over 50 years. In addition, our diversified team is comprised of attorneys with a variety of specializations, which allows us to handle every component of your case, be it a restraining order, divorce, child custody dispute, or solely criminal accusation. To discuss your case with one of our highly knowledgeable legal professionals, contact our West Long Branch offices today at 732-440-3950.
Stalking in New Jersey: N.J.S.A. 2C:12-10
The New Jersey Criminal Code addresses stalking in section N.J.S.A. 2C:12-10, stating the following with regard to these offenses:
a. 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.
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.
Penalties for Stalking in New Jersey
As outlined above, a typical charge for stalking is graded as a fourth-degree felony, which carries a sentence to serve up to 18 months in New Jersey State Prison. However, a charge for stalking may be elevated to a third-degree crime if the conduct is committed in violation of an existing court order (such as a temporary or permanent restraining order); if the behavior represents a second or subsequent offense of stalking against the same victim; or if the defendant is incarcerated or on parole at the time of the offense. In any of the aforementioned cases, a conviction for third-degree stalking may result in a sentence to serve between 3 and 5 years in New Jersey State Prison and a fine of up to $15,000. These potential penalties are notwithstanding the permanent restraining order that is implemented when a person is convicted of stalking in New Jersey. After this restraining order is entered, a violation of its provisions may result in criminal charges for contempt.
Contact Monmouth County NJ Stalking Attorneys to Discuss Your Case
The potential for a criminal record, shattered reputation, and permanent restraining order against you can seem daunting. However, you are entitled to the most comprehensive legal representation available. Our attorneys can help you navigate through the complex and often intimidating legal process in pursuit of a positive resolution. Contact our West Long Branch office at 732-440-3950 for immediate assistance.