Hollywood has done much to present a fearful and terrifying image of stalkers. For those who feel they are being stalked, these images are very accurate. What happens, however, if the shoe is on the other foot? If you feel you have been unjustly accused of stalking, what should you do to avoid serious trouble?
In New Jersey, stalking (N.J.S.C. 2C:12-10) is more than just following a person around or being a little too present in their lives. In order to be charged and convicted of stalking, the accuser must feel that his/her safety is jeopardy. That means your presence is causing emotional distress, even if that is not your intention.
You may be tempted to reconcile or explain yourself to your accuser. Don’t! If this is a misunderstanding it has already gone too far. As such, the first thing you must do is cut off all contact with the accuser. This includes online communication and social media (cyberstalking is a separate charge that could be added to the complaint). In addition, avoid places you know he/she frequents.
If you are the one who has been accused of stalking, any matters that need to be settled between you must be done so in court. This includes something as serious as child visitation rights or as minor as getting your Xbox games back.
Speaking of courts, you would be well served to hire a lawyer. In order to be convicted of stalking, the accuser will need to provide times and places that you made unwanted contact. You may need to compile your own list of interactions in order to explain why they occurred and what your intentions were. Where applicable, you may need an alibi or witness to back up your claims.
If law enforcement is already investigating the case, make sure you don’t say anything without a lawyer present. Remember: anything you say can and will be used against you, even if you believe it could prove your innocence.
Under New Jersey statute 2C:12-10, stalking is a fourth-degree crime. A conviction carries a sentence of up to 18 months in prison and up to $10,000 in fines. A second conviction of stalking the same person is a third-degree crime, and can result in three to five years in prison and up to $15,000 in fines. The conviction is also grounds for an application for a restraining order.
If you or a loved one has been accused of stalking or any other criminal offense in New Jersey, contact an attorney immediately. The lawyers of the Rosenblum Law Firm are skilled criminal defense attorneys with experience helping people in situations like yours. Email the Rosenblum Law Firm or call 888-979-7551 today for a free consultation about your case.