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In New Jersey, a harassment charge may include many kinds of conduct. It is often charged as a disorderly persons offense, and it may be brought as a fourth-degree indictable offense with severe penalties. A harassment charge, like any other criminal charge, should be taken seriously, as it can result in negative consequences for the rest of your life.
If you are facing harassment charges in Jersey City, you need the help of an experienced and compassionate Jersey City criminal defense attorney who can fight for your rights. Bhatt Law Group’s defense lawyers have many years of combined experience fighting against harassment charges in Jersey City.
To speak with one of our attorneys, call us at (201) 798-8000 for a free consultation.
Under New Jersey law, a person commits the offense of harassment by:
- Communicating with others anonymously, at very inconvenient hours, in offensive language, or in a way that is likely to annoy or cause harm
- Striking, kicking, shoving, punching, or threatening someone else with that conduct
- Engaging, with the intent of seriously annoying another person, in cursing or repeatedly alarming actions
If convicted, this offense is considered a disorderly persons offense that is punishable by a 30-day term of imprisonment and a fine not exceeding $500. However, if the offender was on probation or parole at the time of the offense, it may be considered a fourth-degree felony that is punishable by up to 18 months of jail time.
Defending Against Harassment Charges
The likelihood of conviction depends on the circumstances of each case. Courts will look at the relationship between the accused offender and the victim, gender, age, occupation, and other factors. Whatever the circumstances, the prosecution has to be able to prove that the defendant intended for the conduct to harass the victim. Insensitive conduct, without the intent to specifically harass, is not enough for a conviction. Additionally, the degree of annoyance is also important. The conduct must also significantly or seriously annoy the other person. Because it is unclear as to what constitutes sufficient annoyance, the facts of each case should be analyzed exhaustively.
Many times, people file complaints against others simply because they are slightly annoyed or offended. Such petty conduct doesn’t rise to the level of criminal harassment. However, even in such cases, people may still be charged with a crime by law enforcement, and these charges should not be ignored or may result in an unfair conviction.
Jersey City Harassment Defense Lawyers
Many harassment charges are brought by law enforcement that don’t have any merit under the law, but they do so because a victim complained. These charges can often be downgraded or dismissed by the court because the facts don’t support pursuing them further. If you have been charged with harassment, a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney can analyze the facts of your case and may be able to argue for the court to downgrade the offense or dismiss it altogether.
Bhatt Law Group has experienced criminal defense attorneys who are intimately familiar with the criminal justice system and courts in Jersey City and can help you minimize the repercussions of a harassment charge.
If you or a loved one is facing harassment charges, contact Bhatt Law Group at (201) 798-8000 today.