New Jersey has enacted strict laws and penalties for anyone convicted of making unwanted contact with another person. If you face criminal charges for following someone, you may need the assistance of a knowledgeable Short Hills stalking lawyer. Without the help of a qualified domestic violence attorney, you might face an increased chance of jail time, expensive fines, and a permanent criminal record.
Stalking is when someone engages in conduct aimed at a particular person which causes that person emotional distress or fear for their own safety. While often thought of as one person following another, this offense could include harassing, intimidating, photographing, or filming someone.
Stalking usually occurs over a period of time and may involve a current or former spouse, roommate, domestic partner, or a person of romantic interest. However, someone could also be accused of following a complete stranger or through another person.
Many different behaviors could constitute this offense under New Jersey’s criminal laws. In some cases, a person may be unaware that their behavior toward another is a crime. Accordingly, any person facing a charge like this is well-advised to consult an experienced Short Hills stalking attorney to discuss their case.
The prosecution must prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt for someone to be found guilty of a stalking offense:
If the state fails to prove any one of these elements, the defendant should not be convicted for this type of crime. A respected stalking defense attorney in Short Hills understands the necessary elements for a conviction and could create an aggressive defense.
Stalking is usually a fourth-degree offense in New Jersey. A person convicted of a fourth-degree offense could be sentenced to up to 18 months in jail, $10,000 in fines, and have a felony on their record.
If an existing court order prohibited the defendant from stalking, they could be charged with a third-degree offense. Someone could also face enhanced penalties if they commit a subsequent crime against the same person. If their actions result in a third-degree conviction, a judge could increase the sentence to up to five years and a $15,000 fine. If the behavior violated a civil restraining order, the accused could be charged with contempt of court as well.
Depending on the circumstances, a person charged with an offense like this could face federal consequences. If so, the maximum jail sentence and fines could increase substantially. A seasoned Short Hills attorney is well-versed in New Jersey’s stalking laws and could further explain them to anyone charged with this crime.
Stalking in New Jersey is a serious crime. A person convicted of this offense risks losing their family, career, reputation, and freedom. If you face a charge for making unwanted contact with someone, a dedicated Short Hills stalking lawyer could help you. Our legal team’s seasoned attorneys are ready to answer your questions and, if your case goes to trial, defend you in court. Call today to discuss your claim.