Cranford Harassment Attorney
Harassment Offense in Cranford New Jersey
Harassment charges typically arise out of disputes between people who know each other but aren’t getting along. It usually starts with a disagreement over some issue, then progresses to the point of conduct that is intimidating and harassing.
Sometimes we let our emotions get the best of us. If you have said or done something that lead to the charges being filed against you, then it’s crucial that you hire an experienced attorney to minimize the consequences. Likewise, if you feel you have been wrongly accused, you need to hire a lawyer who will help to defend your side of the story.
The lawyers at The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall will examine the circumstances of your case and build a defense that sets the record straight and protects your rights and your reputation. To speak with a skilled and experienced Cranford, New Jersey harassment attorney, call our office at 908-272-1700.
Charged With Harassment in Cranford
Every harassment charge filed in Cranford arises under N.J.S.A. 2C:33-4. A violation of this law occurs when, with a purpose to harass, a person does the following:
- Makes or cause to be made, a communication or communications anonymously or at extremely inconvenient hours, or using coarse or offensive language, name calling, or in a derisive tone vex, harass, or annoy another. This can happen face-to-face or by email, text messages, telephone, or social media.
- Push, strike, or shove another individual, or threatening to do so.
- Engages in any alarming course of conduct which is clearly done to vex, harass, or annoy another individual. In other words, any form of communication, that is purposely intended to harass, annoy, alarm, threaten or otherwise lacks a legitimate purpose can result in a harassment charge.
Penalties for Harassment. In New Jersey, harassment is usually classified as a petty disorderly persons offense punishable by a fine of up to $500 and up to 30 days in jail. A plea or finding of guilt also results in a criminal record that is not eligible for expungment or removal for a minimum of 5 years. If an act of harassment occurs while the accused is on parole or probation for a prior felony conviction, the charge is enhanced to a fourth degree crime. Fourth degree harassment results in a fine of up to $10,000 and up to 18 months in prison.
Companion Charges. Individuals are often charged with harassment in Cranford in tandem with companion charges like simple assault and disorderly conduct.
Domestic Violence. If an offense for harassment is allegedly committed against someone in a dating relationship, a spouse or former spouse or someone otherwise afforded protection under the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act, a restraining order may also be issued in Cranford. The proceedings in this case, including the final restraining order hearing, are conducted at the Family Division of the Superior Court in Elizabeth.
Common Issues in Cranford Harassment Cases
In dysfunctional relationships, it is not uncommon for emotions to boil over and angry, offensive, and coarse language to be hurled back and forth between the partners. But this, in and of itself, does not always constitute harassment.
New Jersey courts have repeatedly held that offensive or insensitive comments, by themselves, do not constitute harassment.
If you are charged with harassment based on annoying or alarming behavior, a crucial legal distinction has to be made––the court must decide if your conduct was merely insensitive or if it was indeed harassment. Normally, this distinction is very difficult to make.
The prosecution must also prove that your purpose for engaging in such conduct was actually to harass the other person.
Moreover, given that coarse and offensive language by itself does not constitute a purpose to harass. The prosecution has to prove that the communication sufficiently alarmed or annoyed the victim in order for it be considered harassment.
Lastly, the prosecution has to prove that based on factors such as the victim’s gender, age, and occupation, the communication(s) was severe enough to justify a harassment charge. If anyone of these elements is missing, your attorney may argue for a dismissal of the charge.
Cranford NJ Harassment Defense Lawyer
If you are convicted of harassment in Cranford, you will have a record. Given the number of employers who are conducting background checks on employees and prospective employees, failure to avoid a Cranford harassment conviction can negatively effect your prospects for employment. There are also penalties that can seriously impact your life if you are convicted. These are reasons enough for you retain a defense lawyer who is skilled in defending harassment charges.
Contact the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall to speak with a qualified attorney who can help you keep your record clean or, at the very least, minimize the consequences a harassment conviction. Lawyers at the firm can be reached 24/7 at 908-272-1700.