How to Disprove a Harassment Charge in NJ

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Have you been charged with harassment? Are you concerned about what could happen or how you can defend your case? The experienced attorneys at our Ocean County defense firm can help.

If you have been charged with harassment, it is likely that someone you know told the police or the court that you made unwanted communications or subjected them to striking, kicking shoving, offensive touching, or threatened to do some harm. Often, harassment is used as a catchall complaint that is filed when no other crime fits. Unfortunately, it used regularly as the basis of a complaint for domestic violence resulting in a restraining order and possible loss of custody and parenting time. It may even cause involvement with child protective services. There are some things you should know about harassment if you have been accused of this serious criminal offense.

Best Defenses for Harassment Charges in Toms River

First, you should know that if you have been charged with harassment, the State has to prove you guilty. You do not have to prove your innocence. You, through your attorney, have the right to cross-examine witnesses produced against you. Your attorney will question the witness and assist the court in better understanding your side of the story. For example, maybe you texted the person several times and they say you caused annoyance or alarm. Maybe you were simply texting about the children or in response to a communication made by him or her. It could be that the other person is twisting the facts to get what they need, to retaliate for an argument, or for some other reason.

Whatever the reason may be for the charge, the State still has to prove that it was your purpose to harass by communicating anonymously, or at extremely inconvenient hours, or in offensively coarse language, or any other manner likely to cause annoyance or alarm. The question is whether a reasonable person would be annoyed or alarmed based on your behavior. A defense may be that a reasonable person would not be alarmed at all. Perhaps you did not know that the complaint did not want to be contacted or that your communication was not welcome.

Falsely Accused of Harassment in Brick Twp

Did you strike, kick, shove, or other offensively touch or threaten to do any of these other with the purpose to harass the other person? If not, it is unlikely that you committed the offense under subsection b. Is it possible that there was a physical altercation in which the other person attacked you and you physically pushed the other person away from you? Your purpose would have been to get the person away from you but NOT to harass him or her.

Under section c of the harassment statute, did you engage in any other course of alarming conduct or of repeatedly committed acts with purpose to alarm or seriously annoy such other person? There are a number of ways someone might accuse you of an offense under this section. However, they must prove that you did these things to purposely or alarm another person. Did you have a legitimate purpose? Tell your attorney the story and they can use it in your defense.

Need a Lawyer for Harassment Offense in Stafford

Harassment can be used a tool to charge you with an offense because there is simply nothing else to say. It is a relatively minor offense but it can have serious implications in your personal life. In the case of a petty disorderly persons offense you could face up to 30 days in jail and a $500 fine and court costs. It may have other consequences like a restraining order being issued or loss of parenting time due the restraining order. It can be elevated to a fourth degree crime which carries a possible state prison term of up to 18 months and a $10,000 fine.

If you have been charged with harassment, you should contact an experienced attorney who can help defend your case and protect your rights. Please call us today to discuss your harassment case and see how we can help. With local offices in Point Pleasant, we defend clients accused of harassment throughout Ocean County, including in Berkeley Twp, Ocean Twp, Toms River, Manchester, Brick, Jackson, Point Pleasant, and Stafford. Call (848) 238-2100 for immediate assistance.

William Proetta

With more than a decade of experience defending clients against criminal charges, founding partner William A. Proetta has successfully handled and tried thousands of cases, from DWI to murder. As a New Jersey native, he has focused his career on helping people in the area where he grew up, serving Middlesex, Ocean, Hudson, and Union counties.