Bergen County NJ Stalking Lawyers
Stalking is a very serious offense in New Jersey. As you will see below, it is normally considered a crime of the fourth degree (felony) but can be elevated to a crime of the third degree if certain additional elements are met (see below). In addition to the potential for a felony criminal record if convicted, a Defendant may also face either a Temporary or Final Restraining Order. Stalking is considered to be one of the main offenses which can be used to help solidify both a temporary and/or final restraining order, the other primary underline offenses are harassment, assault and terroristic threats. Also, the underline conduct for a stalking charge has changed over the years. Traditionally, a stalking case usually amounted to a he said she said type of matter. However, with the sudden rise in social media websites and text messaging, stalking cases have changed drastically and not for the better.
Law enforcement has taken a more aggressive approach when it comes to investigating these types of offense. If you have been arrested and charged with stalking in Bergen County, we can help. The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall has eight criminal defense attorneys on staff waiting to assist. Our office has been representing clients charged with stalking, simple assault, terroristic threats, harassment, aggravated assault or assault by auto in towns like Lodi, Paramus, Teaneck, Ramsey, Englewood, Fort Lee, Montvale, Saddle Brook, Palisades Interstate Park, River Edge for over a decade. If you would like to come into our Hackensack Office and meet with Mr. Oliver who heads up that office for the firm, please contact us at 201-429-9783. We can be reached at that number at any time of the day. Below is some important information with regards to a stalking charge.
Stalking Attorneys in Montvale NJ: N.J.S.A. 2C:12-10
The governing statute in New Jersey for stalking is N.J.S.A. 2C:12-10. If you have been charged with a fourth degree stalking offense, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt three material elements:
- That the defendant engaged in speech and/or conduct that was directed at or towards a person;
- That the said speech or conduct occurred on at least two separate occasions; &
- That it was the defendant purpose to engage, either directly or indirectly or through a third party in a course of conduct that would cause a reasonable person to fear for their safety or the safety of a third person or suffer other emotional distress.
If you have been charged stalking in the third degree, in addition to the above elements, the state must prove that the:
- Stalking was in violation of a court order or
- It was a second or subsequent offense by the defendant against the same victim; or
- It was committed while the defendant was serving a term of imprisonment or while on parole or probation as the result of a conviction for any indictable offense (felony).
The conduct or speech that is the center of the alleged stalking charge must cause the ordinary person to believe the immediacy of the threat and the likelihood that it will be carried out. It is a reasonable person standard which leaves an experienced criminal defense attorneys a lot of room to defend these types of charges
Due to the nature of this offense, the necessary evidence is normally not readily available and often requires a very thorough police investigation to gather the required proof. Therefore, if you or a loved one is charged with stalking it is imperative that you speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney prior to making any statements to the police as any statements that you make will be used against you.
Applicable Penalties for Stalking Convictions in NJ
If you have been convicted of stalking in the fourth degree, there is a presumption of non-incarceration, however, that presumption may be overcome and the defendant may be sentenced up to eighteen (18) months in a New Jersey State Prison. If you have been convicted of stalking in the third degree, there is also a presumption of non-incarceration, however, just like stalking in the fourth degree that presumption can be overcome and a defendant may be sentenced up to five (5) years in a New Jersey State Prison. In addition to the potential prison term, the defendant may also be subject to a potential temporary and/or final restraining order, which can have even more severe consequences.
Lyndhurst NJ Stalking Lawyers
Stalking has become a very serious offense, one which law enforcement take very seriously when investigating. As touched upon above, most Defendant’s charged with stalking also find themselves facing other criminal charges like harassment, terroristic threats, aggravated assault and a final restraining order. These are all extremely serious charges and ones that should not be taken lightly. Our office serves all of Bergen County including towns like Bogota, River Edge, Rutherford, Paramus, Fort Lee and Ramsey. If you have any further questions with regards to the offense of stalking please feel free to contactHackensack Office at 201-429-9783 for a free initial consultation.