4th Degree Cyber Harassment Results in Dismissal

Harassment Charges

Kearny Nj Cyber Harassment Lawyer

We have been systemically seeing an increase in defendants charged with cyber harassment rather than just regular harassment if the alleged actions involve social media posts or emails. In a recent case our office defended a client against cyber harassment charges related to a business deal gone wrong. Our client was a business professional with a long history in the insurance industry. The case arose when our client signed up for a course to obtain additional certifications in the his field of insurance practice. However, after reading up on the company providing the insurance course he decided to withdraw after reading several negative reviews. The only problem was he had already paid a down payment fee for the course and, as no surprise, the company did not want to refund the money. This started a war of words and several email exchanges of our client calling them crooks for what they had done and threatening to put them on blast on social media and other public forum sites for business reviews. In response to these emails, the representative from the company went to the police and filed a charge for cyber harassment under 2C:33-4.1 which is a crime of the fourth degree. Ironically, the company ended up refunding the money to our client before we even went to court, which arguably was because they were never entitled to keep it in the first place.

Cyber-harassment Charges in Hudson County, NJ

The biggest problem for defendants facing cyber harassment is that it turns a simple internet argument into a fourth degree indictable crime (felony) punishable by up to 18 months in state prison. Moreover since its an indictable crime you will be required to appear in the Hudson County Superior Court – and that’s exactly what happened in this case. After our client was charged and served with the complaint we appeared in superior court for an initial appearance referred to as CJP (Criminal Judicial Processing). Appearing in CJP can be an integral part of handling any indictable case because it is the process where the prosecutor’s office screens the cases by reviewing the facts and determining whether they will keep the case at the superior court or consider remanding it back down to municipal court as a lesser charge. At the time we appeared in CJP, we were able speak with the prosecutor about the disputed facts of the case and how the alleged victim had actually taken advantage of our client. After an extensive conversation, the prosecutor agreed to downgrade our client’s charges and sent the case back down to Kearny municipal court to be further litigated in the coming weeks. A few weeks later, and prior to appearing in Kearny, we followed up with the municipal court to ensure that the alleged victim had been subpoenaed so any issues and disputed facts could be addressed by both parties when we appeared. However, once we arrived in court it became obvious that the victim had not shown up even though he was noticed to be there. Based on his disregard of the court’s subpoena, we made a motion before the judge to dismiss the case for lack of prosecution which was granted. Then after the dismissal, while still in court, we immediately applied our client for an expedited expungement to erase the arrest from his record.

State v. K.M. decided May 24, 2018