Pennsauken NJ Harassment Defense Lawyer
Criminal and Restraining Order Defense Attorney Handling Harassment Charges in Camden County, New Jersey
Harassment is a commonly used term in our society and culture today. However, these allegations are extremely serious and may spell life-altering consequences for those accused of harassment. In New Jersey, harassment is a criminal offense that may result in a sentence to serve up to 30 days in the county jail and a fine of up to $500. Further, it will appear on a criminal background check and may serve as an impediment when pursuing future employment and educational opportunities. It may also present a problem if you want to volunteer in a community organization or even adopt a child. Harassment charges are often issued in the context of domestic violence, between former spouses, dating partners, or others whose relationships have soured. When this occurs, the person accused of harassment may face criminal charges in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:33-4 as well as a restraining order, which are dealt with in two separate legal proceedings, both of which can spell devastating results. In either scenario, a conviction for harassment threatens to damage your reputation, your relationships, and essentially, your life. To protect yourself, it is highly advisable to have an experienced Camden harassment defense lawyer in your corner.
William Fay is a highly respected criminal defense attorney who regularly represents clients facing criminal charges for harassment, stalking, disorderly conduct, simple assault, and restraining orders in Camden County and South Jersey. For years, Mr. Fay has used his extensive knowledge and skill to develop and execute the best defense strategies for his clients in courts in Cherry Hill, Camden, Bellmawr, Berlin, Gloucester Township, and Voorhees. In fact, he uses his former position as a Deputy Attorney General working on behalf of the state to craft and execute the best possible defenses for his clients. If you are facing harassment charges and/or a restraining order in Camden County, NJ, don’t delay in finding the answers you need. To discuss your case with Mr. Fay today, contact his offices at 609-832-3202. Consultations are always provided free of charge.
Do I Need a Harassment Defense Lawyer for Winslow Municipal Court?
Whether or not you decide the use an attorney to defend criminal charges filed against you, it is important to understand New Jersey’s Harassment law. Under New Jersey law, charges for harassment are described in section N.J.S.A. 2C:33-4 of the New Jersey Criminal Code. With regard to harassment, the statute provides the following:
A person commits a petty disorderly persons offense if, with purpose to harass another, he or she:
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 person commits a crime of the fourth degree if, in committing an offense under this section, he was serving a term of imprisonment or was on parole or probation as the result of a conviction of any indictable offense under the laws of this State, any other state or the United States.
Again, it is a purely individual decision when seeking out legal assistance. However, it is valuable to at least speak with an attorney about Harassment charges and the possible reprecussions you may face if found guilty in municipal court.
What is Considered Harassment in New Jersey?
There are several primary forms of harassment, some involving physical contact and others not. For instance, you may be charged with harassment for communicating with another person in an offensive manner, at very odd and inconvenient hours, or in some other way that can reasonably be perceived as annoying or alarming. You may also be charged with harassing someone by physical touching, kicking, shoving, or threatening to do same. Then there are harassment charges based on a repetitious course of conduct that is carried out for the very purpose of harassing the alleged victim. The fulcrum point of this accusation is the intent of the defendant. In essence, you must engage in the harassing conduct deliberately and it must be with the intention of harassing, causing annoyance or alarm. The different acts that can give rise to a charge of harassment include the following:
- Alarming or Annoying Communications: It is considered harassment when the accused individual makes a communication anonymously or at extremely inconvenient hours, or in offensively coarse language, or in any other manner that is likely to cause the victim to be annoyed or alarmed.
- Unwanted Contact: It is also considered harassment when the accused person physically touches the victim in a particularly offensive way. This type of conduct is defined in the statute to include striking, kicking, shoving, or otherwise offensively touching the victim. The statute also proscribes threats to commit any of these acts.
- Repeated Acts That Are Alarming: When the accused person engages in a course of conduct or repeatedly commits acts with the purpose to alarm or seriously annoy the victim, the conduct may be considered harassment.
What are the Penalties for Harassment in New Jersey?
Harassment is typically classified as a petty disorderly persons offense in New Jersey, which is similar to a criminal misdemeanor. Petty disorderly persons offenses are adjudicated in the local municipal court associated with the municipality where the charges were filed. In other words, if you were charged with harassment in Voorhees, you will face prosecution in Voorhees Municipal Court. Notably, if you are facing a restraining order in connection with harassment allegations, you will also be required to appear in Camden County Superior Court for a Final Restraining Order hearing. If you are ultimately found guilty of harassment criminal charges, you may be sentenced to serve up to 30 days in the county jail, to pay a fine of up to $500, and you will have a charge on your criminal record that can only be removed through the expungement process.
Fortunately, there are numerous ways to resolve a harassment case often without a criminal record or the associated penalties. In some cases, a simple no contact order between you and the alleged victim will suffice. In others, you can disprove the state’s contention that you acted with purpose to harass. In still other scenarios, a harassment charge can be dismissed by gaining admission and successfully completing the conditional dismissal program. This program diverts your case from the trial track and allows you to fulfill court-ordered conditions during a period of probation. Once you remain arrest-free and otherwise comply with the terms of conditional dismissal, your charges are dismissed. You can then expunge your criminal record six months later and basically remove any trace of the case from your background. This can be extremely useful when applying for jobs and other opportunities as your life moves forward.
Contact a Haddonfield NJ Harassment Attorney for a Free Consultation
If you or someone you love has been charged with harassment in Gloucester, Pennsauken, Voorhees, Stratford, or elsewhere in Camden County or South Jersey, it is crucial to have a compelling and comprehensive defense that positions you for the most favorable result. Contact our firm at 609-832-3202 for additional information and a cost-free consultation a skilled defense lawyer today.