What is Cyberstalking?
Stalking is directing a course of conduct with a specific purpose of causing fear for safety or emotional distress. Stalking is covered by NJ Statute 2C:12-10.
Cyberstalking is the crime of using electronic communications — such as the Internet, email, or text messaging — to stalk, harass, or threaten another person.
Cyberstalking Laws in New Jersey
Cyberstalking or cyber-harassment is covered by NJ 2C:33-4.1. The crime of cyber-harassment is purposefully harassing another person through communication online via any electronic device or through a social media site, including:
- Threatening physical harm to a person or person’s property
- Sending, posting, commenting, suggesting, or proposing indecent or obscene material about a person with the intent of emotionally harming or generating fear of emotional or physical harm
- Threatening to commit a crime against a person or their property
What are the Penalties for Cyberstalking in NJ?
Cyber-harassment is a crime of the fourth degree, carrying the potential for a $10,000 fine and up to 18 months in jail. If the alleged victim claims the cyberstalking or cyber-harassment was an act of domestic violence, they can seek a restraining order. There are separate criminal penalties for violating a domestic violence restraining order.
If you are charged with cyber-harassment, you may also face additional charges such as stalking or terroristic threats, which carry additional penalties.
If the person charged is 21 years old or older at the time of the offense and impersonates a minor to cyber-harass a minor, it is a crime of the third degree. A conviction of a third degree could result in a $15,000 fine and up to 5 years imprisonment.
If a minor (under the age of 16) is judged delinquent for cyber-harassment, the court may order education including one or both:
- Training to reduce cyber-harassment behavior
- Training regarding the dangers associated with cyber-harassment
The minor must be accompanied to class by a parent or guardian. If the parent/guardian does not accompany the minor, they would be considered guilty of a disorderly persons offense and fined up to $25 for the first offense and up to $100 for each following offense.
Cyberbullying is bullying that occurs in an electronic format, typically by and against teens. Depending on the circumstances, cyberbullying may be handled in school, criminal court, or both, according to the New Jersey Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights Act (NJ 10A:37-13.2).
In criminal court, cyberbullying is commonly charged with cyber-harassment (NJ 2C:33-4.1) or stalking (NJ Stat 2C:12-10).
To recover money damages for the emotional, social, or financial harm caused by a cyber bully, victims may also bring civil charges.
Cyberstalking Attorney in New Jersey
If you or a family member have been accused of cyberstalking, cyber-harassment, or cyberbullying or if you or a family member are a victim and need to seek protection, you need a strong legal team. Contact Rosenberg | Perry & Associates to discuss your situation in a free and confidential consultation.