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Roselle Harassment Lawyers

If you are charged with Harassment in violation of N.J.S.A 2C:33-4 should you hire a lawyer?

Harassment is considered a petty disorderly offense unless the actions are committed while incarcerated, then you will be charged with a fourth degree crime. If charged with a disorderly persons offense you could face a fine up to $500, possible jail time, community service and other penalties and fines. If charged with the fourth degree crime of harassment then you will face a fine of up to $10,000, up to 18 months in jail, possibly probation and other fines and penalties.

Harassment, while not a crime unless committed in jail, is still a petty disorderly offense that will appear on your record if an employer or anyone else does a criminal history check. Harassment cannot be expunged for 5 years after you have satisfied the fines and penalties set by the court upon your plea of guilty or finding of guilt if you have a trial.

What will the New Jersey State or Municipal Prosecutor have to prove for the court to find you guilty if you are charged with the petty disorderly offense of harassment? There are three different forms of harassment. The State must prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

I. Harassment by Communication

(1)Defendant made one or more communications anonymously, or at extremely inconvenient hours, or in offensively coarse language, or in any other manner likely to cause annoyance or alarm; and (2) Defendant’s purpose was to harass the victim, specifically to annoy or alarm the victim.

If the Court finds that the communication(s) were likely to cause annoyance or alarm, but they were not made anonymously, or at extremely inconvenient hours or in offensively coarse language, then the manner of communication used must be one that intruded into the victim’s legitimate expectations of privacy from such communications.

In this type of charge a lawyer will look closely at the scenario and relationship of the parties to see whether the communication could be seen in another light.

II. Harassment by Physical or Threatened Physical Actions

(1)Defendant threatened to (or did) strike, kick, shove, or otherwise offensively touch the victim; and (2) Defendant’s purpose was to harass the victim or put another way to annoy or alarm the victim.

These cases can be the most difficult cases when there is physical violence or threat of harm and must be treated with great delicacy.

III. Harassment by Alarming Conduct

(1) Defendant engaged in a course of alarming conduct or of repeatedly committed acts; and (2) Defendant’s purpose was to harass the victim, more specifically to alarm or seriously annoy the victim.

With regard to a course of alarming conduct or repeatedly committed acts, the evidence must show conduct or acts that are more than merely irritating, nettlesome, or vexing.

Repeated, potentially and potentially alarming actions are also difficult cases that take a lot of thought and preparation to diffuse and get the best result. It is important to understand that all three scenarios require both an in-depth knowledge of the parties relationship – the person charged and the alleged victim; and equally important a through understanding of the law and evidence required to prove the offense charged.

You should hire a lawyer because an experienced criminal lawyer, like myself, will be able to navigate the nuances of language and communication that depending on how viewed could be annoying or alarming. A dedicated criminal lawyer will look closely at the evidence and work to establish that you did not purposefully intend to physically alarm or seriously annoy someone by your conduct. You could save your reputation and your job or future jobs by hiring a lawyer.

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