Criminal Defense Attorney for Domestic Violence Cases Involving Allegations of Stalking
Under New Jersey’s Prevention of Domestic Violence Act, the crime of stalking can be considered a form of domestic violence. This means that individuals accused of stalking their spouses, former spouses, domestic partners, boyfriends, girlfriends and parents of shared children can face significant punishment, including enhanced financial penalties, incarceration and imposition of a domestic violence restraining order.
If you are facing stalking charges in New Jersey, you need experienced legal representation. A stalking and domestic violence conviction can impact all areas of your life, from your ability to find work to your ability to live in your own home. At The Gorman Law Firm, we are committed to fighting for individuals charged with domestic violence offenses, including stalking. We understand that these charges are often based on false allegations, and we know that avoiding unjust consequences requires a thorough and strategic approach to your defense.
Stalking Crimes Under Section 2C:12-10 of the New Jersey Code of Criminal Justice
Section 2C:12-10 of the New Jersey Code of Criminal Justice outlines four separate stalking offenses. Most cases fall under Section 2C:12-10.b., which defines stalking as, “purposefully or knowingly engag[ing] 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.” Actions that can be deemed an illegal “course of conduct” under New Jersey’s stalking law include:
- Repeatedly maintaining visual or physical proximity;
- Following, monitoring, observing or surveilling;
- Threatening or communicating with or about someone either directly, indirectly, or to or with a third party;
- Interfering with a person’s property; and
- Repeatedly harassing or threatening by means other than communication.
In a typical case, stalking is a fourth-degree indictable offense. Fourth-degree crimes carry prison sentences of up to 18 months and up to a $10,000 fine.
Stalking can be elevated to a third-degree offense under three specific sets of circumstances. When prosecuted as a third-degree offense, stalking carries potential penalties of three to give years of incarceration and a $15,000 fine. Stalking is a third-degree offense when committed:
- In violation of an existing court order (such as a domestic violence restraining order);
- Against the same victim targeted in a prior case of stalking resulting in conviction under Section 2C:12-10; or,
- While serving a term of imprisonment or while on parole or probation for commission of any other indictable offense under state or federal law.
Along with fines and incarceration, a stalking conviction will also automatically result in a hearing for the issuance of a permanent restraining order. This restraining order may require you to leave your home, and it will likely prohibit you from visiting any location frequented by the victim. Violating a restraining order carries severe penalties, and, to avoid unjust restrictions and the potential for severe punishment, you need to fight your stalking charges in court.
Schedule a Free Initial Consultation
To find out what defenses to stalking you may have available, we encourage you to contact us promptly for a free initial consultation. To speak with New Jersey criminal defense attorney Scott Gorman in confidence, call (201) 489-9199 or request an appointment online now.