Harassment is a criminal offense that, upon conviction, includes serious penalties with lasting consequences. A conviction will likely include court ordered counseling, mandatory probation, a permanent criminal record, and even time in county jail. The experience, skill, and peace of mind that an Ocean County criminal defense lawyer with a proven track record of success can provide is invaluable and will often make the difference between guilty and not guilty. Our attorneys at the Proetta & Oliver are dedicated to defending clients against criminal charges and restraining orders that result from alleged harassment in Ocean County and surrounding communities. We pride ourselves on working closely with our clients throughout each step of the case, keeping them informed and up to date of the various steps involved and knowledgeable about their defense. We represent clients who have been charged with harassment throughout Ocean County and the surrounding area including Little Egg Harbor, Stafford Township, Jackson, Beachwood, Lacey Township, Bayville, Ship Bottom, and South Toms River. Call us today at (848) 238-2100 for a free consultation with an Ocean County harassment lawyer who will answer your regarding your case and potential representation.
Facing a Harassment Charge in Toms River NJ
New Jersey Harassment Law N.J.S.A. 2C:33-4
A passage of the New Jersey statute for harassment N.J.S.A. 2C:33-4 has been provided for your convenience below.The New Jersey statute that addresses harassment, in pertinent part provides:
A person commits a petty disorderly persons offense if, with purpose to harass another, he:
a. Makes, or causes to be made, a communication or communications anonymously or at extremely inconvenient hours, or in offensively coarse language, or any other manner likely to cause annoyance or alarm;
b. Subjects another to striking, kicking, shoving, or other offensive touching, or threatens to do so; or
c. Engages in any other course of alarming conduct or of repeatedly committed acts with purpose to alarm or seriously annoy such other person.
A communication under subsection a. may be deemed to have been made either at the place where it originated or at the place where it was received.
Is there Any Jail Time for an Harassment Charge in NJ?
In New Jersey, harassment charges are classified as petty disorderly persons offenses. Such offenses are handled in municipal court with appropriate jurisdiction. If you are found guilty of petty disorderly persons offense, you can face up to 30 days in county jail. However, under limited circumstances harassment can be a 4th degree indictable offense, such as when a jail phone is used to make threats, or when the defendant is on probation or parole in New jersey or any other state. Furthermore, harassment is often an element in domestic violence cases and accompanied by companion charges such as Simple Assault or Terroristic Threats. In the case of domestic violence, harassment can even be the basis for a Final Restraining Order.
Issued a Restraining Order for Harassing Text Messages?
If the harassment incident is considered an act of domestic violence pursuant to NJSA 2C:25-19, then the Defendant could be entitled to a temporary restraining order (TRO). If that is the case then the Defendant will be forced to litigate the incident in two separate courts. The criminal charges will be litigated in the local municipal court in the municipality where the incident occurred. Conversely, the temporary restraining order will be litigated in the Chancery Division, Family Part of the county where the incident occurred. TRO’s are exactly what the sound like, temporary in nature. In order for a TRO to become permanent, a final restraining order (FRO) must be conducted. During an FRO hearing the plaintiff must establish by a preponderance of the evidence that they are a victim of domestic violence and that in order to prevent future acts of domestic violence a final restraining order is necessary. The ramification if imposed can be devastating. For more information on restraining orders in Ocean County, please click the link.
Speak with a Toms River New Jersey Harassment Defense Attorney Now
As you can see from the above statute, harassment involves private annoyances. This is in contrast to the offense of Disorderly Conduct, which is limited to general disturbances and public annoyance. One of the key factors that the state’s prosecutors must establish in order to prove that harassment has occurred is that the defendant did it with the purpose, or intent, to harass the victim. New Jersey case law has held that profane language, in and of itself, is not enough to prove the requisite intent that must be shown to prove harassment. Harassment cases are often complicated. When such serious consequences exist, it is always strongly recommended that you seek out and retain professional representation from an experienced harassment attorney. Contact our conveniently located Toms River Office to speak with an Ocean County harassment defense lawyer to design a customized case strategy to meet your needs at (848) 238-2100.
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