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Understanding Stalking Laws for Personal Safety

November 27, 2017 |

stalkingIs your ex simply having a difficult time letting go of the relationship or do you have a case of stalking on your hands? The word stalking gets thrown around a lot, especially when significant others have a difficult time letting a person go, but the reality of stalking is much more serious than a few text messages after a relationship has ended. However, in many cases, the repeated harassing behavior can be seen as less serious than it actually is. Whether it is an estranged spouse or a perfect strange, stalking laws are in place to ensure threatening behavior is addressed with appropriate severity.

Stalking Laws in New Jersey

The laws that govern stalking change from state to state, with stalking defined as a pattern of malicious behavior, and not just a one-time event, that is meant as a scare tactic or a cause of uneasiness in another individual. Examples of stalking include, but are not limited to, frequent phone calls, showing up to a person’s place of work, showing up at their home, and other unwanted acts that make someone feel unsafe or threatened. In New Jersey, automatic permanent restraining orders are granted upon conviction of stalking.

The laws in the state define stalking as “purposeful conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear bodily injury or death to himself or family member and knowingly, recklessly, or negligently places a person in reasonable fear of bodily injury or death to himself or family member.” More simply put, stalking is a purposeful action that would cause fear of injury to themselves or a family member for a reasonable person. However, it is not defined as someone acting in an annoying manner, such as making social media posts about how upset they are over a breakup. In New Jersey, stalking is a fourth-degree crime but can be considered a third-degree crime if there is a court order that prohibits the behavior that is ignored.

Protective Orders

For those afraid for their safety and waiting for their case to be heard, there are temporary protection orders that can be issued in New Jersey. These are a smart choice for those waiting for a conviction, as it gives extra protection against the stalking person. If they violate the terms of the temporary protective order, a permanent order may be ordered by a judge.

If you are concerned for your safety due to the behavior of another person, contact us today. We will work to ensure your safety and work with the specifications of your case to create a plan to keep you and your family safe while seeking justice.