Romantic or Criminal? What Not the Learn from the Movies

February 8, 2017 · by rosenblumlawfirm · in

Love and relationships rarely play out the way they do in romantic comedies. There are very few last-minute dashes through the airport (Love, Actually), or late night appearances under the window to declare undying love via boom box (Say Anything) or multiple, hand-written signs (Love, Actually again). And there’s a darn good reason for that.

Much of the movie behavior that has women (and men — admit it) reaching teary-eyed for Kleenex would, in real life, have them reaching out to the police. For example, the Stalking is Love trope is one of the most commonly used plot devices. Whether it’s standing outside a woman’s window every night to watch her sleep (Twilight) or hiring a private investigator to track down a high school crush (There’s Something About Mary), Hollywood would have many of us believing that “no” just means “try harder,” and that persistence is equivalent to passion. Even cartoons do this (Pepe Le Pew, anyone?).

Contrary to what Hollywood would have you believe, movie-style courtship probably won’t help you get the girl – but it may result in a charge of stalking. New Jersey defines stalking as any intentional behavior that would cause a reasonable person to fear harm or death. Persistently approaching, communicating with, or following a person without their permission all qualify under this statute.

Stalking is a fourth-degree crime and is punishable by 18 months in prison and up to $10,000 in fines. A second conviction of stalking the same person is a third-degree crime, which can lead to three to five years in prison and up to $15,000 in fines.

A conviction for stalking is also grounds for an application for a restraining order. If you already have a restraining order against you and are convicted of stalking – even if it is not the same person who filed the order – it is also a third-degree crime. If it is the same person who filed the order, then you will likely be charged with violating a restraining order on top of third-degree stalking.

If you or a loved one has been charged with stalking, violating a restraining order, or any other crime in New Jersey, contact an attorney for help negotiating with prosecutors and navigating the legal system. It is essential that you have legal assistance to help you avoid the serious consequences of the charges. The lawyers of the Rosenblum Law Firm are prominent criminal defense attorneys with experience helping people in similar situations. Email the Rosenblum Law Firm or call 888-815-3649 for a free consultation about your case today.