If you have been charged with harassment you are facing serious penalties such as a criminal record, probation, and exposure to jail time. You need a criminal defense firm with a proven record of success. At the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall our team of criminal attorneys possess over 100 years of combined experience and pride ourselves on working closely with our clients throughout the entire court process. From our office in Princeton, New Jersey we represent defendants throughout Mercer County such as Hamilton, Ewing, Robbinsville, Princeton and surroundings areas. If you are interested in learning more about your rights and options please contact our office at (609) 683-8102 to speak with a knowledgeable lawyer today.
Harassment is considered a petty disorderly persons offense in New Jersey. A petty disorderly persons offense is equivalent to petty misdemeanor in other states and is punishable by up to 30 days of incarceration and a criminal record. Harassment is directed at private annoyances, in contrast to the offense of Disorderly Conduct , which is limited to general disturbances and public annoyance. Harassment is common in domestic violence matters and will usually be charged along with Simple Assault, Terroristic Threats. Harassment can also be a basis for a Final Restraining Order or a Violation of a Restraining Order. In order to prove the offense of harassment, the state must prove that the defendant had the purpose to harass the victim. It has been held that profanity and the use of foul language, by itself is not enough to show intent to harass another. Harassment can sometimes be escalated to a fourth degree felony if the offense is committed while the defendant is already on probation or parole for a prior indictable offense.Harassment 2C:33-4
There are generally three different ways someone can get charged with harassment. The first kind of harassment is a communication made to the victim at extremely inconvenient hours or in offensively coarse language which is likely to cause annoyance or alarm. The gender, age or occupation of the person to whom it was uttered will also be factors to be considered.The most common form of this type of harassment is continuing phone calls usually in the middle of night. In these types of cases you can be prosecuted for the harassing telephone in either the municipality where the call was made or where the victim received it. You can also be charged with harassment for striking, kicking, shoving or other offensive touching or threatening to do so, which is actually a lesser included offense of Simple Assault. For a harassment conviction there need be no proof of bodily injury. The distinction between the two offenses is the level of apprehension by the victim. If the act creates a fear for safety it is Simple Assault and if the act merely creates an alarm or annoyance it is Harassment. Another form of harassment is when you engage in a repeated course of alarming conduct or repeated acts with the purpose to alarm and or seriously annoy another person. Furthermore, the state needs to prove that the conduct served no legitimate purpose.
If you have been charged with harassment your case will be heard in the municipal court for the town in which it allegedly took place. A harassment charge is a criminal offense and it can not be dropped by the alleged victim, it will instead be prosecuted by the municipal court prosecutor. By contrast, if there is a restraining order that has been filed against you in connection with the harassment offense the restraining order hearing will be held in the county of where it happened before a family division superior court judge. Moreover, a restraining order can actually be voluntarily dropped by the complainant/victim. If you have been charged with a harassment or a crime of domestic violence then contact our Princeton Office at (609) 683-8102 to speak with a defense attorney about your options.