New Jersey Stalking Defense Lawyer

     In New Jersey, Stalking, is defined as either a 3rd or 4th degree crime, depending on the circumstances.  This means that if convicted you may face a presumptive up to 5 years in prison, a fine up to $15,000, and a criminal record.

Do I need a Lawyer?

To be convicted of stalking, the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a person has committed the offense.  With  it is important to be represented by an experienced Criminal Defense Attorney, like those of Avery & Avery, with ovewr 40 years experience as Judge, Prosecutor and Criminal Defense Lawyer, who know the laws and will vigorously fight to keep you out of trouble.  For a free consultation, please call 201-943-2445, or contact us through our contact page.

What is Stalking?

In NJ, Stalking, as defined in N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1a, generally refers to conducting alarming or very distressful activities toward another, or repeated actions that would constitute harassment.  The following is a copy of the statute.  If you have been charged with Stalking, you may be subject to years in prison, and it is imperative you have a qualified, experienced defense attorney at your side fighting for you.  If you have any questions, we invite you to contact our offices for a free consultation.

a. As used in this act:

(1) “Course of conduct” means repeatedly maintaining a visual or physical proximity to a person; directly, indirectly, or through third parties, by any action, method, device, or means, following, monitoring, observing, surveilling, threatening, or communicating to or about, a person, or interfering with a person's property; repeatedly committing harassment against 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) “Emotional distress” means significant mental suffering or distress.

(4) “Cause a reasonable person to fear” means to cause fear which a reasonable victim, similarly situated, would have under the circumstances.

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 for his safety or the safety of a third person or suffer other emotional distress.

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.

Frequently Asked Questions

I was in a relationship with the ‘victim’, does this change anything?

It changes things in that, in addition to being charged with stalking, you can also face a domestic violence charge.  In NJ, Domestic violence charges can result in permanent restraining orders, and you will be subject to having your name entered on a permanent public database of domestic violence offenders.  This list often causes employment trouble for defendents, making it even more necessary to hire a NJ Stalking Defense Lawyer.

What is the difference between a 3rd and 4th degree stalking charge in NJ?

Third degree stalking charges are reserved for second offenses, and special circumstances, such as if there is a restraining order in place already.  Most stalking offenses are 4th degree crimes, meaning they carry a maxiumum of 18 months jail time and a $10,000 fine.  

I was merely going about my business when the 'victim' was randomly there, what happens?

These cases happen more often than one would think.  Most stalking charges arise out of a relationship gone sour.  Because of this the defendant and victim often have similar schedules and go to the same places, which makes accidental contact inevitable.  This sometimes makes people feel like they are being stalked, but it is not stalking and should be defended on this basis by an experienced NJ Stalking Defense Attorney.

The police are about to arrest me, what do I do?

In nearly all circumstances we tell our clients it is best to remain silent until they have consulted with us.  The police will try to have you implicate yourself, it is imperative you do not give them any more ammunition in order to convict you with.  If you are about to be arrested or have been, do not talk to anyone until you contact our criminal defense team.

The 'victim' wishes to drop all charges, does this mean I am safe?

Often times prosecutor's will drop charges if the victim contacts them and asks to drop the charges.  This is not a given however, and it is still in the prosecutors discretion to move forward with the case.  They will often pursue cases in which there are aggravating circumstances such as an existing restraining order.

I am under 18 years old, how does the NJ Stalking laws affect me?

Stalking, like most crimes in NJ treat juveniles similarly to adults.  Because minors are often treated the same, under some circumstances they may face the same consequences, and in cases greater, as listed above.  Because of this it is important to consult with a criminal defense attorney immediately.  

If they have caught me and there are no defenses, what can I do?

In some situations the police have caught the defendant dead to rights and there are no defenses.  In situations like these we have often been successful in downgrading the offense to a far lesser penalty and no jail time.  Another approach is to enter our client into a diversionary program such as Pre Trial Intervention (PTI)  or Conditional Discharge (CD).  These programs provide the benefit of no jail time and no criminal record.  We have been successful with combinations of the two as well when dealing with high level offenders.

I have been convicted for stalking before, but in another state, how does this affect the case?

New Jersey's stalking law specifically includes a step up provision for repeat offenders.  A first offender is charged as a 4th degree crime, carrying a maximum of $10,000 fine and 18-months in prison.  A second or subsequent offender faces a maximum of $15,000 in fines and 3 to 5 years in prison.  If you have been charged for a 2nd or subsequent stalking offense, it is imperative to be represented by a qualified NJ Stalking Defense Lawyer.

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