Is harassment a crime in New Jersey?

In New Jersey, harassment is a serious criminal offense that carries harsh penalties. If you or someone you love has been charged with harassment, you need to take the charges seriously, as it can lead to jail time and hefty fines. As such, it is in your best interest to retain the legal services of a skilled Bergen County Criminal Defense Attorney who can help shield you from your charges and protect your future.

What constitutes harassment in New Jersey?

Under New Jersey law, a wide range of behavior can be classified as harassment. However, harassment is often defined as a person targeting someone else, behaving in a manner that is meant to deliberately alarm, annoy, torment, or terrorize another individual, or an action that creates reasonable fear for their safety or the safety of their loved ones or property. Essentially, physical contact or repeated alarming and threatening communications usually meet the definition of harassment.

Communication that constitutes harassment may include anonymous contact at inconvenient hours or in offensively coarse language. This can be done either in person or through the use of a cell phone, email, social media, or any other form of communication to annoy another person. The second type of behavior that constitutes a harassment offense is physical contact, such as sticking, shoving, kicking, or offensive treatment. When there are no actual bodily injuries from the physical contact, it is considered harassment. However, it’s imperative to note that this offense can be enhanced to Simple Assault if there is actual bodily injury. Simple Assault will result in more severe penalties. Finally, the third type of behavior that is considered harassment is repeated acts of alarming conduct. If a person intentionally engages in any alarming conduct with the purpose of seriously annoying another person, it is considered harassment.

What are the potential penalties for harassment?

The criminal penalties for harassment can vary in severity depending on the circumstances of the offense. Harassment charges are classified as petty, disorderly person’s offenses. Therefore, a conviction could result in up to 30 days of jail time, fines of up to $300, community service, and other substantial penalties. Although harassment charges may seem minor, a conviction can have long-lasting consequences. If you are charged with harassment while on parole or probation, it will be classified as an indictable offense of the fourth degree, which will result in more severe penalties.

Ultimately, if you’re facing criminal charges, do not waste any time contacting an experienced Bergen County criminal defense attorney. Our firm is prepared to combat your charges and safeguard your rights.