Bridgewater NJ Cyber Harassment Lawyer
Harassment is by far one of the most common “domestic violence” charges issued in New Jersey. Combine that with the surge in social media, especially websites like Facebook and Instagram, the legislature was forced to react in 2013, so they created Cyber-Harassment. This offense in essence mirrors that of the original harassment offense but it increase the penalties if it is alleged that the individual used an electronic device and/or social media network to commit the harassment. Cyber-harassment is considered an indictable offense, which is New Jersey’s version of a felony. Furthermore, most cyber-harassment charges lead to an individual being served with a temporary restraining order (TRO) as well. A TRO is separate and apart from the underlying cyber-harassment criminal charges and it carries rather significant consequences as well.
If you have unfortunately found yourself facing a cyber-harassment charge in Somerset or Hunterdon County, we strongly urge that you contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Our lawyers are well aware of what a felony conviction let alone a potential lengthy state prison sentence can do to someone’s life. If you would like to set up a consultation with one of our Somerset County criminal defense attorneys, then please contact our Bridgewater office at 908.533.1064. One of our lawyers would be glad to go over the specifics of your case and formulate a game plan to defend the charges. We serve all of Somerset and Hunterdon County, including towns like Bound Brook, Bridgewater, Bedminster, Flemington, Readington, Raritan, Green Brook, Manville, Somerville, Clinton and Hillsborough.
What to Expect when Charged with Cyber-Harassment in NJ?
Cyber-harassment was created by the legislature to basically increase the penalties for those alleged to have used an electronic device or social media network to harass another. Cyber-Harassment, which is governed by NJSA 2C:33-4.1, states in pertinent part:
A person commits the crime of cyber-harassment if, while making a communication in an online capacity via any electronic device or through a social networking site and with the purpose to harass another, the person:
- threatens to inflict injury or physical harm to any person or the property of any person
- knowingly sends, posts, comments, requests, suggests, or proposes any lewd, indecent, or obscene material to or about a person with the intent to emotionally harm a reasonable person or place a reasonable person in fear of physical or emotional harm to his person; or
- threatens to commit any crime against the person or the person’s property.
How to Defend a Cyber Harassment Charge
Similar to the original harassment statute, cyber harassment requires the prosecution to prove that the Defendant had a purpose to harass. In other words, the prosecution must prove that it was the Defendant’s conscious objective to harass another. This burden can prove to become problematic for the prosecution. For example, one of the most common scenarios for cyber harassment charges revolve around a breakup between couples. If the defense can show that the Defendant’s intent behind the sending of the messages was rekindle a relationship, the prosecution may not be able to satisfy their burden.
Can I Go to Jail for Cyber Harassment in NJ?
Unlike harassment, cyber harassment is considered an indictable offense. If the Defendant is over the age of twenty-0ne (21) and the victim in the case is considered a minor, they will be charged with a third degree felony. Otherwise, cyber harassment is considered a fourth degree felony. Here is a quick breakdown of the potential penalties.
3rd Degree Cyber-Harassment Charge
- 3 to 5 Years in Prison
- $15,000 Fine
- Felony Criminal Record
4th Degree Cyber-Harassment Charge
- 18 Months in Prison
- $1a,000 Fine
- Felony Criminal Record
It is important to note here, that if the cyber harassment allegations result in a Defendant being served with a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO), that would be in addition to the above mentioned penalties. A TRO is civil in nature and would be handled in the Chancery Division, Family Part of the Superior Court, in the County where the incident happened. For more information on Restraining Orders in Somerset and Hunterdon County, please click the link.
Readington NJ Cyber Harassment Attorney
The criminal defense attorneys at Keith Oliver Criminal Law have dedicated their entire careers to representing those accused of serious indictable crimes like cyber-harassment, terroristic threat, burglary, false imprisonment and stalking in courts throughout New Jersey, including courts throughout Somerset and Hunterdon County. This is a very serious charge and should not be taken lightly. As you can see from above, the penalties for cyber harassment can be devastating. To speak to one of our lawyers today, please contact us at 908.533.1064 or you can try contacting us online.