Princeton NJ Stalking Lawyers
With Offices in Trenton and Pennington, New Jersey
Stalking is one of the most serious threat crimes in New Jersey. The line between stalking and harassment is a thin one. However, the consequences of a stalking charge can be severe; while harassment is classified as a petty disorderly persons offense, stalking is an indictable felony punishable by state prison time. Unfortunately, New Jersey stalking laws are written in such a way that just about any annoying behavior or conduct could potentially result in a person being arrested and charged with stalking. In fact, many NJ law enforcement officers do not have a good understanding of what “stalking” actually means; as a result, you could find yourself under arrest simply because another person misunderstood you. Moreover, NJ prosecutors often overcharge “harassment” as “stalking” because the stalking laws are so vague.
Kamensky Cohen & Riechelson is a law firm with a track record of success in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Our criminal defense lawyers have successfully defended clients against stalking and other threat crimes in Mercer County, NJ, including Hamilton, West Windsor, and Lawrence. Our experience in local courtrooms gives us an edge in your case because we have specialized institutional knowledge and unique insight into prosecutorial strategies. Call KCR today to discuss your charges and begin your defense.
Stalking Charges in Mercer County NJ: N.J.S.A. 2C:12-10
Stalking offenses in the State of New Jersey are governed by N.J.S.A. 2C:12-10. A person is guilty of stalking if they purposely or knowingly engage in a course of conduct that is directed at a specific person and that would cause a reasonable person to fear for their safety, fear for the safety of a member of their immediate family, or suffer emotional distress.
An important element of a stalking offense is that the offender engaged in a “course of conduct.” This means that a single act, no matter how dangerous, can result in a stalking charge. Instead, the defendant must have engaged in the conduct on two or more occasions. In order to establish a course of conduct, the prosecution must show that the defendant repeatedly maintained visual or physical proximity to the alleged victim, or that the defendant repeatedly conveyed verbal or written threats at the alleged victim.
Additionally, it is not necessary for the prosecution to show that the defendant actually threatened the alleged victim. That’s because the statute allows for the communication of threats to be implied by the defendant’s conduct. New Jersey courts use what is known as a “reasonable person standard” when determining whether the defendant’s actions caused the alleged victim to suffer emotional distress. In other words, the court will consider how a reasonable person would have reacted to the defendant’s course of conduct.
Penalties for Stalking in Trenton NJ
In most instances, stalking is classified as a fourth degree felony. A conviction for stalking may result in a sentence of up to 18 months in NJ State Prison.
If the offender was on parole or probation, or serving a term of imprisonment, at the time of the stalking offense, the crime is classified as a third degree felony. Additionally, a person can be charged with third degree stalking if they have a prior conviction for stalking. Beyond that, a person can be charged with third degree stalking if they are accused of violating a court order that prohibited them from communicating with the alleged victim. A conviction for third degree stalking may result in a sentence of 3–5 years in NJ State Prison.
Related Charges: Harassment and Terroristic Threats in Lawrence NJ
Domestic violence offenses are often accompanied by charges of stalking, harassment, or terroristic threats.
If the stalking charge stems from a single incident, it might be possible to get the charge downgraded to a disorderly persons offense of harassment.
In some instances, a stalking charge may be elevated to a charge of terroristic threats. This offense is always classified as a third degree felony, which can result in a sentence of 3–5 years in NJ State Prison.
Free Consultation with a Pennington NJ Stalking Attorney
The attorneys at Kamensky Cohen & Riechelson will do whatever it takes to get your stalking charges downgraded or dismissed. Call us now to speak with a member of our litigation team, or fill out the online contact form to schedule a free consultation at our Trenton or Pennington offices.