Stalking Criminal Defense Attorney Monmouth and Ocean County NJ
Helping Clients across the Jersey Shore in Point Pleasant, Toms River, Jackson, Wall, Sea Girt and Brick.
The crime of Stalking under N.J.S.A. 2C:12-10 can have serious consequences. If you have been charged with stalking, obtaining a lawyer and knowing your rights is paramount to successfully navigate the charges.
What is stalking?
A person may be found guilty of stalking if he “purposefully or knowingly engages in a course of conduct” directed at a specific person that causes that person to fear for their own safety or the safety of their immediate family members. Specifically, the crime of stalking requires the State to prove that the defendant committed actions that caused the other person to fear harm or death to his or herself or a person in his or her family.
If you or someone you love is facing a stalking charge, it is certainly no laughing matter. We highly recommend that you seek counsel from an experienced Criminal and Municipal Court Attorney to ensure that your rights are protected. Call today at (732) 812-3102 for a consultation and let us help you.
“Course of Conduct” Defined in a Monmouth County Stalking Charge
A “course of conduct” is defined as maintaining “visual or physical proximity to a person” on more than one occasion or causing “verbal or written threats” to another person or that person’s family. The threats involved do not need to be proven to be direct or explicit and can be merely implied by the conduct to satisfy this element of a stalking offense. The term “implied” can be dangerous to a person charged stalking because it puts the jury in the position of the victim.
Stalking Defense by an Experienced Ocean County Criminal Lawyer
In most areas of the law, the crime focuses on what the defendant intended, not how the other person felt. This statute somewhat reverses the common understanding of the law, as it focuses less on what the Defendant intended and more on how that alleged victim felt. In order to challenge stalking charges, an attorney representing you can attempt to demonstrate to the court that the alleged victim of the stalking did not perceive the conduct as a “reasonable person” would. Depending on the specific case, a skilled attorney can prove that the alleged victim is irrational or has some motivation to fabricate fear, such as revenge.
Example of Defense Against Stalking
Here is an example to better understand the defense against stalking. “Taylor” and “Pat” meet in college and become friends. They begin dating and things seem to be going well. Taylor expresses romantic feelings for Pat and Pat is ecstatic. Soon enough, however, Taylor contacts Pat less and less, Pat’s texts go unanswered, so now Pat begins sending messages through Facebook. Taylor still does not respond and simply ignores Pat. In the meantime, Pat finds out that Taylor has been seeing a former friend. Pat becomes upset and feels betrayed. In anger, Pat sends Taylor nasty messages with aggressive words and drops all of Taylor’s belonging on the front lawn, destroyed. Now, Taylor calls the police, talks about being in fear of bodily injury or harm, and the police slap Pat with a charge for stalking. Based on this example, it is easy to see how things quickly escalate, perception is fluid, and a stalking charge begins with a picture painted solely by the accuser. It requires experienced attorneys to paint the entire picture to show that “Taylor’s” fear is irrational and is only one side of the story,
Degrees and Penalties of Stalking in New Jersey
If you are convicted of stalking of either the third or fourth degree, you will have a criminal record. Your fingerprints and DNA will be taken by the police and stored in the State Police data bank for identification in the criminal system. Unfortunately, this may have an impact on your employment, finances, and future.
In addition to the above, the court could send you to state prison, county jail, or a combination of jail and probation. If you are convicted of fourth-degree stalking in New Jersey, the court can punish you by sentencing you to up to eighteen months in state prison. In more serious cases, you may be sentenced to five years in prison for a third-degree crime. If placed in jail or on probation, your movement and freedom are restricted for the ordered period of time.
Additionally, a permanent restraining order will be issued, barring you from having contact with the accuser or being anywhere near them. This can impact where you live and conduct your daily life.
Consult Stalking Attorneys with Offices in Brick and Sea Girt NJ
If you have been accused of stalking, do not do anything without legal advice. Do not talk to the police without speaking with an attorney. Contact our experienced attorneys, who can explain the entire story and help you defend your case.
The stalking attorneys at Bronzino Law Firm are experienced criminal defense lawyers who will provide you with the legal tools you need if you’re facing stalking charges. Depending on your situation, we will fight the charges at trial or skillfully negotiate on your behalf for reduced or dismissed stalking charges. Call our office today at (732) 812-3102 or contact us to arrange a free case consultation and evaluation with a seasoned criminal trial attorney.