With the ease at which teenagers and adults can access social media and the internet, it should come as no surprise that cyberbullying and cyber-harassment have become a hot topic. New Jersey was the focus of a national media storm when a Rutgers Student Dharun Ravi was arrested for secretly taping his roommate in a sexual encounter. Mr. Ravi’s roommate subsequently committed suicide. While Mr. Ravi’s case predated our current cyberbullying laws, this incident was a driving force behind the new laws. Mr. Ravi eventually pleaded guiltyto criminal charges and was given a sentence of time served. This story should serve as a caution to any teenagers who are involved in any harassmentor cyberbullying in New Jersey. Under New Jersey’s current law N.J.S.A. 2C:33-4.1, you may be charged with a third degree or fourth degree indictable offense for cyberbullying or cyber-harassment.
Have you or your child been charged with cyberbullying, harassment or cyber-harassment in New Jersey? If you are juvenilefacing harassment charges involving cyberbullying, it is crucial that you understand exactly the severity of you situation. You could be facing up to two (2) years in the Juvenile Detention Center, fines, probation and other ancillary restrictions. Proetta& Oliver is a criminal defense firm that represents juveniles charged with cyberbullying and cyber-harassment in New Jersey. For an immediate and complimentary consultation with an attorney, please contact our office at (609) 850-8284 today.
New Jersey Cyberbullying Law N.J.S.A. 2C:33-4.1
Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:33-4.1, “a person commits the crime of cyber-harassment if, while making a communication in an online capacity via any electronic device or through a social networking site and with the purpose to harass another, the person:
threatens to inflict injury or physical harm to any person or the property of any person;
knowingly sends, posts, comments, requests, suggests, or proposes any lewd, indecent, or obscene material to or about a person with the intent to emotionally harm a reasonable person or place a reasonable person in fear of physical or emotional harm to his person; or
threatens to commit any crime against the person or the person’s property.
Due to recent rulings in cases like State v. Hoffman, if you are being charged with “a course of alarming conduct or repeatedly committed acts”, the conduct or acts must be such that they are intended to cause alarm or serious annoyance. It is not sufficient if the course of conduct or repeated acts are merely irritating, nettlesome, or vexing.
Typically, Cyber-harassment or Cyberbullying will be treated as a fourth degree indictable offense. However, if the defendant is over 21 years of age at the time of the incident and impersonates a minor for the purpose of committing the harassment, then the charges will be a third degree offense. This scenario is geared adults who try to harass their child’s peers.
What are the Penalties for Cyber-Harassment in NJ?
Juveniles are penalized on a different scale then adults. Specifically, the underlying goals for juvenile matters focus on maintaining the family home and rehabilitation of the juvenile. However, the court is still empowered to sentence juveniles to terms of detention for acts of delinquency. In the case of a third degree cyber-harassment offense, the court can impose a two (2) year term of detention. Conversely, a fourth degree cyber-harassment charge carries one (1) year in the Burlington County Juvenile Detention Center. The court may also impose other penalties including, but not limited to: probation, community service, substance abuse treatment, fines, restitution and no contact orders.
If a minor under the age of 16 is adjudicated delinquent for cyber-harassment, the court may order as a condition of the sentence that the minor, accompanied by a parent or guardian, complete, in a satisfactory manner, one or both of the following: (1) a class or training program intended to reduce the tendency toward cyber-harassment behavior; or (2) a class or training program intended to bring awareness to the dangers associated with cyber-harassment.
Can I Be Kicked Out of School for Cyber-Harrassment?
It is possible that a school may take administrative action to remove a student who has violated a school’s code of conduct for cyberbullying. These actions by the school may occur during your pending juvenile case or after you have been adjudicated delinquent by the Superior Court Judge.
Juvenile Harassment Attorneys in Burlington County NJ
Our phones are answered 24 hours a day. We are available weekdays during business hours. We also meet with clients on evenings and weekends by request. We have four office locations conveniently located in Mount Laurel, Point Pleasant, Princeton and Middletown. All major credit cards are accepted.