New Jersey Stalking Defense Attorney Helps You Avoid Jail Time for Domestic Violence Offenses
Stalking charges typically involve exes and stem from domestic disputes. Although people usually associate stalking with dangerous and obsessive behavior, many stalking complaints arise from misunderstandings. It’s entirely possible that you did not intend to violate the law. Perhaps you were simply trying to apologize to your significant other. Unfortunately, merely being accused of stalking can change your life forever because a stalking conviction carries a stigma. If you are convicted of stalking, you will end up with a permanent criminal record that could inhibit your ability to earn a living in the future. Worse yet, you may be wrongly perceived by others as an aggressive and violent person.
John Tumelty, founding partner of the Law Offices of John W. Tumelty, is an experienced Atlantic City criminal defense lawyer who will defend you against stalking charges and make sure that your side of the story gets told. His 35 years of criminal law experience includes time as a former state prosecutor and a former Atlantic County prosecutor. Now Mr. Tumelty devotes his practice to protecting the legal rights of clients at every step of the criminal justice process.
What Constitutes Stalking in the State of New Jersey?
Stalking charges in the State of New Jersey are governed by N.J.S.A. 2C:12-10(b). Stalking refers to the purposeful or knowing engagement in repeated conduct that causes a person to suffer emotional distress or that would cause a reasonable person to fear for their safety. Stalking does not simply refer to the physical following of another person. As set forth by NJ law, stalking includes any course of conduct that causes another person emotional distress or fear. This can include phone calls, texts, emails, and messages through social media. Additionally, the statute requires that the offender engage in “repeated” conduct, which means the conduct occurred at least twice.
Stalking is typically classified as a fourth degree felony, which carries a potential sentence of up to 18 months in NJ State Prison. However, the penalties for stalking may be enhanced, depending upon the offender’s status and the offender’s number of prior offenses:
- If you are convicted of stalking that involves the violation of a restraining order, or if you are convicted of separate charges for stalking the same victim, you can be sentenced to between three and five years in state prison.
- Regardless of the number of prior offenses, stalking in violation of an existing court order or restraining order is classified as a third degree felony.
- A person who is convicted of stalking while on probation or parole is also subject to third degree felony charges and a sentence of between three and five years in state prison.
Since the penalties for a stalking conviction are severe, it is imperative that you have qualified legal counsel on your side. Since intent is a necessary element of a stalking offense, it might be possible for your attorney to prove that you had no intention of harming, either physically or emotionally, the other person. Additionally, because your stalking charges may have come about as the result of a misunderstanding, a knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer might be able to get the charges downgraded to a lesser offense such as harassment.
Knowledgeable Domestic Violence Lawyer Provides Legal Help for Stalking Charges in Cape May and Atlantic Counties
A stalking charge demands to be taken seriously. If you’ve been accused of stalking or any other domestic violence offense in New Jersey, contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer immediately.
John Tumelty understands that there are two sides to every story. That’s why he provides personalized attention to clients and takes pride in communicating with them every step of the way. Mr. Tumelty’s dedication to his clients is evidenced by his proven track record of winning criminal cases in Cape May County, Atlantic County, and elsewhere in the South Jersey area. Contact him today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation at one of his offices in Marmora and Somers Point.