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Cyber-Harassment Attorneys in Mount Holly NJ

Juvenile Cyberbullying Attorneys in NJ
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 guilty to 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 harassment or 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 juvenile facing 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:

  1. threatens to inflict injury or physical harm to any person or the property of any person;
  2. 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
  3. 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?

Adult Penalties for Cyber-Harassment

Cyberstalking or cyber harassment are commonly fourth degree crimes, meaning a convicted defendant could be sentenced to a maximum of 18 months in prison, including a fine of $10,000.00. The penalty for cyberbullying increases to a third degree crime when someone 21 years or older pretending to be a minor harasses a minor through electronic means. So, a 21-year-old who pretends to be a 14-year-old boy romantically interested in a 13-year-old girl to break her heart and mock her may face 3 to 5 years in prison for a cyber-harassment conviction and up to a $15,000 fine.

Juvenile Penalties for Cyber-Harassment

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. 

Seeking a Restraining Order for Cyber Harassment in New Jersey

Another typical victim of cyber harassment is the spouse, ex-spouse, dating partner, or former dating partner. Those qualifying as victims under New Jersey’s Prevention of Domestic Violence Act are often harassed by divorcing spouses fighting custody battles, by rejected lovers seeking revenge, or by partners with substance abuse and violence issues, among others, such as family and household members.

For example, a spouse may send persistent text messages to the other party to a divorce action threatening to harm them or kidnap their kids, which would be cyber-harassment or cyberstalking if it frequently occurs. Such predicate acts of domestic violence can warrant court-ordered protection. On that basis, the victim could get a temporary restraining order from the family court, restricting all communications with the victim. The accused may object to the order at a final restraining order hearing ten days after the temporary order is issued.

Juvenile Harassment Attorneys in Burlington County NJ

If you or a family member are facing cyber-harassment or cyberbullying charges based on a facebook post, instagram response, snapchat story or any other social media forum, contact an experienced Burlington County Juvenile Attorney. Our firm has represented countless juveniles throughout New Jersey, including those charged with harassment, unlawful possession of a weapon, terroristic threats, simple assault, aggravated assault and criminal mischief, just to name a few. For a consultation with Firm Partner and Former Deputy Attorney General, William Fay, contact our office today at (609) 850-8284.

Helpful Additional Links

United States Cyberbullying Information

Contact Us

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 Jersey City, Edison, Middletown, Cranford, Burlington, and Hamilton. All major credit cards are accepted.

Burlington Office

525 Highway 73,
Suite 104, Marlton,
New Jersey 08053
Phone: 609-850-8284
By Appointment Only

Hamilton Office

100 Horizon Center
Boulevard, Hamilton,
New Jersey, 08691
By Appointment Only

Point Pleasant Office

3828 River Road,
Suite A, Point Pleasant,
New Jersey 08742
By Appointment Only

Middletown Office

180 Kings Highway,
Middletown Township,
New Jersey 07748
By Appointment Only