New Jersey Stalking Charge or Indictment
Criminal Lawyer & Former Prosecutor
A stalking arrest can be a very serious matter and the criminal defense lawyers at our NJ criminal defense law firm, the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall, know what needs to be done to defend this charge. Our staff of criminal attorneys is knowledgeable in New Jersey Stalking cases and includes a former prosecutor. We will review the facts of your case and formulate a plan for providing the best possible defense to your stalking indictment. If you have been arrested or indicted for stalking in NJ, a lawyer from our law office is available immediately to discuss your case and answer your questions. Please do not hesitate to take advantage of this opportunity as an initial consultation with an attorney is free of charge. The following information is provided to assist you in understanding some of the issues involved in a New Jersey stalking case. Please note that we handle stalking case throughout New Jersey including Ocean County, Monmouth County, Atlantic County, Mercer County, Middlesex County, Burlington County, Union County, Essex County, Somerset County, Morris County, Hudson County and Bergen County.
New Jersey Stalking Law
The New Jersey Stalking Law is contained at N.J.S.A. 2C:12-10 and provides:
a. As used in this act:
(1) "Course of conduct" means repeatedly maintaining a visual or physical proximity to 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.
(2) "Repeatedly" means on two or more occasions.
(3) "Immediate family" means a spouse, parent, child, sibling or any other person who regularly resides in the household or who within the prior six months regularly resided in the household.
b. 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 bodily injury to himself or a member of his immediate family or to fear the death of himself or a member of his immediate family.
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.
f. This act shall not apply to conduct which occurs during organized group picketing.
Explanation of the Law
In order for an individual to be guilty of stalking, his conduct must be such that a reasonable person in the "victims" shoes would be imminently threatened. The prior relationship and actions of the accused is relevant in this regard, such as, for example, whether any prior threats were made and acted upon. An exception is carved out under the law, however, for group picketing. The lawyers at our firm are experienced in handling criminal cases of this nature and know how to best present the facts so that a client is provided maximum protection.
Stalking is generally a Fourth Degree Offense but can be enhanced to a Third Degree Crime if three circumstances exist: (1) there was an existing Court Order prohibiting the conduct; (2) the incident is the second or subsequent offense against the suspect with reference to the "victim"; or (3) stalking occurred while the suspect was in jail or on probation or parole for an indictable offense. A Fourth Degree stalking indictment involves jail exposure of up to eighteen (18) months whereas a Third Degree stalking indictment involves up to five (5) years in jail. Irrespective of the degree associated with a stalking arrest, jail is clearly a real possibility and it is prudent for an defense attorney to be enlisted.
Please do not hesitate to contact our New Jersey law firm if you have been charged or indicted for stalking. A criminal lawyer from the firm will be happy to speak to you and consultations with our attorneys are without charge. We are also willing to defend these charges statewide including Somerset County, Hudson County, Morris County, Bergen County, Middlesex County, Monmouth County, Union County, Ocean County, Atlantic County, Burlington County, Mercer County and Essex County.