Have you been accused of stalking? Perhaps a fight between you and your significant other escalated to a break-up, and you constantly sent apology letters, called or stopped by in order to atone. You may not have even realized that you were breaking the law. There are many reasons why a person may be charged with stalking, and conduct can result in stalking without the actor even realizing he has committing a crime. Maybe you were completely unaware that the person you sought out felt threatened by you, but regardless of any good intentions, a conviction of stalking results in severe penalties. I am Anthony N. Palumbo, former prosecutor and partner of the firm The Law Offices of Anthony N. Palumbo, and if you’ve been charged with stalking, you need my experience on your side.
Not only can a conviction of stalking result in jail time, but it can also destroy your reputation. Future employers may not hire you out of fear that you are unstable, or will harass their current employees. I understand the distress that comes with an accusation of stalking, and with over 35 years of criminal trial experience, I will protect your rights. Contact me for a free initial consultation and let’s talk about your case. Our firm defends New Jersey stalking charges and indictments throughout the state including the communities of Berkeley Heights, Eatontown, Fanwood, Garwood, Kearny, Elizabeth, Woodbridge, Linden, Rahway, Clark, Westfield, and Cranford. While this webpage can’t answer all of your questions, it should help answer some of them by explaining the particulars of Stalking and the Resulting Penalties.
I also defend charges of:
- Aggravated Assault
- Union County Aggravated Assault
- Terroristic Threat
- Simple Assault
- Union County Simple Assault
Stalking Defense Lawyer In New Jersey
What types of conduct can lead to a charge of stalking? The laws of New Jersey under N.J.S.A. 2C:12-10 state that in order to be convicted of stalking, a person must:
- Purposefully or knowingly engage in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear bodily injury to herself or a member of her immediate family or to fear the death of herself or a member of her immediate family.
Well, what exactly does that mean? Let’s discuss some of the language.
- Purposely or Knowingly means that you must be aware that you are committing this conduct (i.e. following the person around), or the conduct must be intentional. For example, imagine that you, by chance, drive by an ex-girlfriend’s new apartment several times while helping a friend look for his lost dog. Let’s say you have absolutely no idea that she has moved to this new apartment. If she sees you, and accuses you of Stalking, you could not be convicted because you were not acting knowingly or purposely when you drove by the house. Proving a lack of purpose or knowledge is one of the many things a lawyer can do for you.
- Course of Conduct means that on at least 2 separate occasions you engaged in visual or physical proximity to the victim or on at least 2 separate occasions, you conveyed a threat by any means. “Any means” means that it does not matter whether you called, wrote, spoke directly to the victim, or threatened her indirectly through a third person.
- Reasonable Person means that the victim’s fear has to be reasonable. If she is afraid for her safety because she is a schizophrenic and not because of any action taken on your part then that is not reasonable. A lawyer will be familiar with the reasonable person standard, and may choose to argue that the victim’s fears are unreasonable as part of your defense.
- 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.
It is important to note an exception to the above rules. If you violate these rules based on conduct you committed while working as part of an organized picketing group, you will not be guilty of stalking. Picketing is allowed as a part of your constitutional rights.
Penalties Resulting From A Conviction
Generally, stalking is a 4 th degree crime which means that if convicted, you could serve up to 18 months in prison, but there are certain things you can do when stalking someone that will increase the penalties. The following scenarios enhance the charge of stalking to a 3 rd degree offense.
- If you stalk someone when there is already a court order in place prohibiting you from stalking:
- If you stalk someone that you have already been convicted of stalking:
- If you are in jail or on parole for an unrelated offense, and you stalk someone:
A 3 rd degree charge carries a penalty of up to 5 years in prison and heavy fines.
Permanent Restraining Order
If you are convicted of stalking, it will result in an applications for a Permanent Restraining Order. This means that once the Judge says you are guilty, or you plead guilty, the Judge will make a decision on a Permanent Restraining Order. The Permanent Restraining Order will most likely prevent you from going to certain areas where the victim goes like her school, home, or other places she frequently visits, or contacting the victim or certain people who are around the victim like people at her job. Once in place, only the victim can remove the Permanent Restraining Order.
- To view the New Jersey Statute on stalking go to N.J.S.A. 2C:12-10, 2C:12-10.1, N.J.S.A. 2C:12-10.2
If you have been charged with stalking, I can help. I understand what the prosecutor needs to prove in order to convict someone of stalking and I can defend you against these charges. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Contact me today, and let me give you the answers you need. We can discuss the circumstances of your case, and any possible defenses you may have.
As part of my services I offer every client a free initial consultation so there is no reason not to call. I am Anthony N. Palumbo, and I am looking forward to hearing from you.