Tinton Falls Cyber-Harassment Lawyer
With the way that technology, the internet and social networking sites have become a part of everyday life, the legislature had to react in an effort to combat those that were using it unlawfully, including in order to harass others. In doing so they created NJSA 2C:33-4.1, Cyber-Harassment. This statute specifically deals with those who are alleged to have used the internet, whether it be through social network sites or not, to harass another. This offense is treated different than NSJA 2C:33-4, which deals with the traditional methods of harassment. Unlike harassment, cyber-harassment is considered an indictable offense, which is New Jersey’s version of a felony. Furthermore, just like harassment, cyber-harassment could be an underlying predicate offense for the issuance of a restraining order, which is separate and apart from the criminal part. As you can see, this is a very serious offense and should not be taken lightly.
Do I Need a Lawyer for Cyber-Harassment Charge in Monmouth County?
If you or a loved one has been charged with cyber-harassment, harassment, terroristic threats, stalking, aggravated assault or served with a temporary restraining order in Monmouth County, it is crucial that you speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. To speak to one of the Monmouth County criminal lawyers on staff at Proetta & Oliver about your options, please contact our Middletown Office at 732.858.6959. Our attorneys are well aware of what a felony conviction let alone a lengthy jail sentence can do to someone’s life. That is why we are dedicated to aggressively defending these types of charges. If you have any questions whatsoever, please do not hesitate to contact us. We serve all of Monmouth County, including towns like Howell, Middletown, Tinton Falls, Wall Township, Aberdeen, Matawan, Asbury Park, Ocean Township and West Long Branch.
What is Cyber-Harassment?
As touched upon above, in 2013 the legislature decided to create NJSA 2C:33-4.1, Cyber-Harassment in order to adapt with the times. To be convicted of this offense, the prosecution must prove the following elements:
- That the Defendant makes a communication in an online capacity and with the purpose to harass another, they:
- Threaten to inflict injury or physical harm to another or the property of another; or
- 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
- Threaten to commit any crime against the persons or the persons property.
Although NJSA 2C:33-4.1, cyber harassment, does mirror that of NJSA 2C:33-4, the original harassment statute, the purpose behind enacting this crime seems to increase the potential punish for those who commit the crime through electronic means. When it comes to defending these types of charges, it is crucial that you seek to exploit the underlying purpose of the Defendant. To act purposely, the legislature has stated that:
A person acts purposely with respect to the nature of his/her conduct or a result thereof if it is his/her conscious object to engage in conduct of that nature or to cause such a result. A person acts purposely with respect to attendant circumstances if he/she is aware of the existence of such circumstances or he/she believes or hopes that they exist.
As you can see, this is a tough burden for the prosecution to prove and as a result is a great area for a defense attorney to attack.
Is there Bail on a Cyber-Harassment Charge?
If the cyber-harassment charge is considered an act of domestic violence, the underlying complaint may be issued on what is known as a warrant. If that is the case, the Defendant must be taken to the County Jail, so that a risk assessment can be done by pretrial services. This process could take up to 48 hours. The prosecutor’s office then must make a decision at the Defendant’s Central Judicial Processing Hearing (CJP) whether they will be filling for what is known as a Detention Hearing. If that is to occur, the prosecution will be seeking to detain the Defendant in the County Jail, without bail, pending trial. This hearing can and always should be contested. If the prosecution is successful, the Defendant will remain in custody pending the resolution of their case.
Can I be Served a Temporary Restraining Order for Cyber-Harassment?
Yes, if the Cyber-Harassment is considered an Act of Domestic Violence, then the “victim” has the right to seek a temporary restraining order as well based on the same allegations. If that is to occur, a Defendant will be forced to litigate those charges at a separate hearing the Chancery Division, Family Part of the Monmouth County Superior Court. This hearing and the potential ramifications if granted, would be in addition to the criminal charges and penalties. For more information on restraining orders in Monmouth County, please click the link.
Is Cyber-Harassment a Felony Offense?
Yes, cyber harassment is a fourth degree felony offense, unless the Defendant is over the age of twenty-one at the time of the incident and is impersonating a minor for the purposes of harassing the minor, then the charge will be considered a third degree felony offense.
- Fourth Degree Felony:
- Up to 18 Months in Prison & a $10,000 Fine
- Third Degree Felony
- 3 to 5 Years in Prison & a $15,000 Fine
Monmouth County NJ Cyber-Harassment Attorney
If you have been arrested and charged with cyber-harassment, harassment, stalking, false imprisonment, sexual assault or any other offense for that matter in Monmouth County, Proetta & Oliver can help. Our office has been defending those accused of crimes in courts throughout Monmouth County for the better part of the last decade. If you would like to come into our office and discuss your options with one of our criminal defense attorneys today, then please contact us at 732.858.6959 or you can try contacting us online.