NJ Stalking Charges - The Basics

How are NJ Stalking Charges defined under N.J. Stat. § 2C:12-10?

“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.”

NJ Stalking Charges Examples

  • Repeatedly sending explicit or implied threats, (these threats made be made through a 3rd party.
  • Vandalizing someone’s property.
  • Following someone closely while that person is out exercising or shopiing.
  • Repeatedly sending communications via texts, emails, letters, or any other means.

NJ Stalking Charges Penalties

NJ stalking charges are generally filed as fourth-degree felony as discussed above.

However, you could face 3rd-degree charges if you:

  • continue to stalk someone in violation of an “existing court order” prohibiting the behavior.
  • commit a second or subsequent offense of stalking against the same victim (third-degree.)
  • stalk someone 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 Charges & Protective Orders

Under New Jersey statute, N.J.S.A. 2C:12-10.1, the victim in your NJ stalking charges case can apply for a final restraining if you’re convicted.

If you are convicted of NJ stalking charges, the court can issue an order that:

  • Prohibits you from entering the residence, property, school, or place of employment of the victim
  • Requires you to stay away from any specified place named in the order as frequented regularly by the victim
  • Restrains you from making contact with the victim, including an order forbidding you from personally or through an agent initiating any communication likely to cause annoyance or alarm, including personal, written, or telephone contact, or contact via an electronic device with the victim, the victim’s employers, employees, or fellow workers, or others with whom communication would be likely to cause annoyance or alarm to the victim.

Consequences for violating a protective order.

If you violate a protective order, you face 18 months in prison & a $10,000.00 fine.

NJ Stalking Charges & Your Legal Defenses

If you’ve been charged with stalking someone in New Jersey, you will have the following choices:

Plead Guilty

You will have to admit what you did under oath. This option will leave you with a criminal conviction. It will stay on your record for years before it can be expunged. And it will show up a background check.

Plead Guilty to a Downgraded Charge

This is one aspect of plea bargaining. Instead of admitting that you stalked someone, we will work out a deal with the prosecutor where you plea guilty to a lesser offense.

Go To Trial & Get Acquitted

This means that a judge or jury  listened to all of the evidence & decided that you are not guilty of committing stalking.

Go To Trial & Get Convicted

This means that a judge or jury listened to all of the evidence & decided that you did commit stalking.

NJ Stalking Charges & Plea Deals

If you are facing NJ stalking charges, we do have legal strategies available.

For example, the government would need to show that you received notice that your communications were not welcomed. 

What type of notice did you receive and was it adequate?

Also, if you traveled in the same circles as the alleged victim, isn’t it reasonable to expect that you would bump into each from time to time?

Most importantly, did your communications really cause the alleged victim to be consumed with fear of you?

Oftentimes, our legal strategy in these cases consists of getting the charges downgraded to a harassment misdemeanor charge.

In this way, you will be out of “felony danger”.

Can a NJ Stalking Charges get Expunged?

If you plead guilty or are found guilty of NJ stalking charges, you can expunge the arrest and conviction after a number of years.

If you are acquitted at trial, you will not have a conviction. However, you will need to expunge the “arrest” record.

If you use the Pretrial program, you will need to wait six months before you can expunge your arrest record.

It is extremely important to expunge the record of your arrest because this will pop up on any & all background checks.

If I'm convicted of NJ stalking charges, can I appeal?

Yes.

Although appeals can be expensive, it’s definitely worth the money to try.
If you feel that you didn’t get a fair trial or that certain evidence was irrelevant, an appeal is a way to go.
I highly recommend that you hire an aggressive, criminal lawyer to represent you for your appeal.
There are specific steps that must be taken to (intelligently) file an appeal.
Please do not try to do this alone, get help!

Our Experience

You or a loved one have been arrested. Understandably, you are terrified & have a lot of questions. You’ve heard about plea bargains & probation, but the process is overwhelming. You want a local attorney near you to represent you.

Mr. Peyrouton is from Ridgewood & handles all types of criminal matters in New Jersey The New Jersey Law Journal recently published one of his articles on the subject of criminal law.

How We Can Help

Regardless of the criminal charges you are facing, we are here to defend & protect you. Whether you are facing a restraining order, drug charge, theft charge, or aggravated assault charge, we are here to help you. Even a DWI case can really complicate your life.

If we can’t get your charges dismissed, we can either get them downgraded or place you in a diversionary program. The point is, our criminal defense lawyers will fight tirelessly to get you the best result possible. Take advantage of our free consultation to see how we can help.

Our Practice Areas

Below, you will find a few of our practice areas.

Areas We Serve

Our Hackensack criminal lawyers represent clients in Bergen County & nearby counties & cities. 

Get Help With Your Case

How Do Your Free Consultations Work?

There are plenty of excellent Hackensack criminal lawyers in our area. Most, if not all of them, offer free, 20-minute, consultations. However, our free consultations do not have a time limit. You will never feel rushed.

The best way for us to help you is to patiently listen to your side of the story. Your version of events will serve as the basis for your legal defense. It is during these initial meetings that your memory of the event is fresh in your mind. Why we would rush you during such an important aspect of your case.

We understand that your choice of attorney could mean the difference between your freedom and spending years behind bars. 

When you hire an attorney, you are entering a long-term relationship. For this reason, it is important that you feel comfortable with the team of Hackensack criminal lawyers that will represent you.

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A person extorts if he purposely threatens to:

a. Inflict bodily injury on or physically confine or restrain anyone or commit any other criminal offense;
b. Accuse anyone of an offense or cause charges of an offense to be instituted against any person;
c. Expose or publicize any secret or any asserted fact, whether true or false, tending to subject any person to hatred, contempt or ridicule, or to impair his credit or business repute;
d. Take or withhold action as an official, or cause an official to take or withhold action;
e. Bring about or continue a strike, boycott or other collective action, if the property is not demanded or received for the benefit of the group in whose interest the actor purports to act;
f. Testify or provide information or withhold testimony or information with respect to another’s legal claim or defense; or
g. Inflict any other harm which would not substantially benefit the actor but which is calculated to materially harm another person.

***It is an affirmative defense to prosecution based on paragraphs b, c, d or f that the property obtained was honestly claimed as restitution or indemnification for harm done in the circumstances or as lawful compensation for property or services.

Reasonable Articulable Suspicion

Reasonable suspicion is a “search” standard that applies in criminal law.

When a police officer conducts a warrantless search, and does not have probable cause to justify the search, the courts look to see if the police had
a “reasonable & articulable suspicion” for the search.

A mere “hunch” is not enough.

In other words, a police officer has to provide an acceptable explanation for the search.

United States Constitution

Amendment IV

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

NJSA - 2C:43-7.2.
Eligibility for parole;
persons convicted of certain violent crimes

a. A court imposing a sentence of incarceration for a crime of the first or second degree enumerated in subsection d. of this section shall fix a minimum term of 85% of the sentence imposed, during which the defendant shall not be eligible for parole.


b. The minimum term required by subsection a. of this section shall be fixed as a part of every sentence of incarceration imposed upon every conviction of a crime enumerated in subsection d. of this section, whether the sentence of incarceration is determined pursuant to N.J.S.2C:43-6, N.J.S.2C:43-7, N.J.S.2C:11-3 or any other provision of law, and shall be calculated based upon the sentence of incarceration actually imposed. The provisions of subsection a. of this section shall not be construed or applied to reduce the time that must be served before eligibility for parole by an inmate sentenced to a mandatory minimum period of incarceration. Solely for the purpose of calculating the minimum term of parole ineligibility pursuant to subsection a. of this section, a sentence of life imprisonment shall be deemed to be 75 years.


c. Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary and in addition to any other sentence imposed, a court imposing a minimum period of parole ineligibility of 85 percent of the sentence pursuant to this section shall also impose a five-year term of parole supervision if the defendant is being sentenced for a crime of the first degree, or a three-year term of parole supervision if the defendant is being sentenced for a crime of the second degree. The term of parole supervision shall commence upon the completion of the sentence of incarceration imposed by the court pursuant to subsection a. of this section unless the defendant is serving a sentence of incarceration for another crime at the time he completes the sentence of incarceration imposed pursuant to subsection a., in which case the term of parole supervision shall commence immediately upon the defendant’s release from incarceration. During the term of parole supervision the defendant shall remain in release status in the community in the legal custody of the Commissioner of the Department of Corrections and shall be supervised by the State Parole Board as if on parole and shall be subject to the provisions and conditions

Felony Degree

Prison & Fines

Examples

First-Degree

1st-degree felony charges in NJ are reserved for the most serious criminal offenses. Prison terms start at a minimum of 10 years in prison.

Second-Degree

2nd-degree felony charges carry 5-10 yrs in prison.
These charges can often be “downgraded” to 3rd or 4th-degree crimes.

Third-Degree

3rd-degree felony charges carry 3-5 years.
You have a good shot at PTI if you are charged with a 3rd-degree.

Fourth-Degree

4th-degree felony charges carry up to 18 months in jail. These cases can get “remanded” to a lower court. In this way, you will be out of “felony” danger.

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