Criminal and Restraining Order Defense Attorneys in Ocean County, New Jersey
Stalking charges are very often the result of failed romantic relationships, disputes between neighbors, and other relationships in which one party feels violated and responds aggressively or suspiciously. Regardless, the bottom line is that if you have been arrested for stalking in New Jersey, then you now face serious criminal charges and possibly, a restraining order. If you or your loved one is facing criminal charges for stalking and/or a restraining order in Ocean County, then it is in your best interest to understand the magnitude of the consequences that may accompany a guilty verdict. Such a verdict may result in a felony conviction, possible jail time, a criminal record, community service, and steep monetary penalties. Our firm has successfully represented a broad array of clients facing criminal charges and restraining orders involving stalking, harassment, terroristic threats and other offenses. The attorneys at the Proetta & Oliver represent clients for stalking throughout New Jersey including Brick Township, Pine Beach, Point Pleasant, Tuckerton,Barnegat, Toms River, South Toms River, Lacey, Lakehurst, Seaside, and Jackson Township. To speak with an Ocean County criminal defense attorney with experience in stalking defense, please contact our office at (848) 238-2100 for a free initial consultation. We have representatives available 24/7 to answer your call.
N.J.S.A. 2C:12-10 Stalking Charges in New Jersey
Most people have a fairly basic understanding of what “stalking” means. However, the law on what is a criminal offense for stalking is a bit more intricate than most realize. Specifically, N.J.S.A. 2C:12-10 is the controlling law for New Jersey Stalking crimes and it states the following:
“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.
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.
A person who commits a second or subsequent offense of stalking against the same victim is guilty of a crime of the third degree.
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.”
NJ Stalking Offense Key Definitions
Certain terms in the Stalking statute require a specific explanation of the definition. The following terms used in the stalking statute, N.J.S.A. 2C:12-10 are treated as follows:
“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.
“Repeatedly” means on two or more occasions.
“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.
What are the Penalties for Stalking Charges in NJ?
As illustrated in the above statute, stalking is normally a fourth degree indictable offense that is punishable by up to eighteen (18) months in jail. Stalking may be upgraded to a third degree indictable offense if committed in violation of an existing court order, as a repeat offense, or while on probation. A third degree indictable offense is punishable by up to five (5) years in NJ State Prison. Furthermore, a conviction for stalking could result in a lifelong restraining order against the defendant. Due to the classification of stalking as an indictable offense, the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office tries it in Ocean County Superior Court.
Were You Served a Temporary Restraining Order for Stalking?
In New Jersey, certain criminal violations can give rise to the issuance of a Temporary Restraining Order (“TRO”). Included in these “prerequisite offenses” is the Stalking statute, N.J.S.A. 2C:12-10. That means that someone can file a restraining order with the local police department or the Ocean County Superior Court based on an allegation (to even a conviction or admission of guilty) of stalking. If a TRO is issued, then the defendant will be served with a copy of the order, be required to turn over any and all weapons/guns, receive a notice of a court date and be advised that they cannot contact the alleged victim. These restraining orders are very delicate affairs because they can result in lifelong restrictions on gun possession and living abilities for the rest of your life, if a Final Restraining Order is granted.
Stalking Lawyers in Toms River NJ
Due to the various possible defenses that can be employed, the relationship and history of the persons involved, and the grave nature of the offense, defending a stalking case can become a very complicated process. It certainly pays off to have an experienced criminal lawyer who knows how to properly challenge the State’s case against you and put them to their burden. Our team of criminal lawyers represent clients charged with stalking throughout Ocean County. For additional information regarding stalking or other domestic violence charges in Ocean County, New Jersey, contact our office in Toms River anytime for a free initial consultation at (848) 238-2100.
Our phones are answered 24 hours a day. We are available weekdays during business hours. We also meet with clients on evenings and weekends by request. All major credit cards are accepted.