Stalking And The NJ Domestic Violence Statute

In New Jersey stalking is considered a crime under the Prevention of Domestic Violence Statute. Domestic violence is defined as the occurrence of certain acts inflicted upon a person by someone who is close to that person, such as a spouse, former spouse, boyfriend or girlfriend, or other members of your household. The acts that constitute domestic violence include, but are not limited to: homicide, assault, criminal restraint, sexual assault, harassment, and stalking.

Stalking Defined

The statute defines stalking as “purposefully or knowingly engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for his safety or the safety of a third person or suffer other emotional distress.”


To break down the definition, the phrase ‘course of conduct’ as used in the stalking definition means: repeatedly maintaining a visual or physical proximity to a person; using any means (including third parties or electronic devices) to follow, monitor, observe, servile, threaten, or communicate to or about, a person, or interfere with a person's property; or repeated harassment. The term ‘repeatedly’ as used in the definition means two or more times, and ‘cause a reasonable person to fear’ means that another reasonable person in the same situation would be fearful.

Following someone around, watching them from a nearby location, and intentionally showing up at locations that the stalker knows the person will be in order to watch that person are common examples of stalking.

Degrees of the Crime of Stalking

Under the New Jersey Domestic Violence Statute, stalking is a crime of either the third or fourth degree. The definition above is a crime of the fourth degree. A person may be convicted of stalking in the third degree if he stalks someone either a) in violation of an existing court order prohibiting him from the behavior, or b) if the crime is committed while in prison or on parole or probation.

Punishment for Stalking

A person who has been stalked under the definition of the New Jersey domestic violence statute may receive a permanent restraining order against the stalker. Stalking in the fourth degree is punishable by up to 18 months in prison, whereas stalking in the third degree is punishable by up to 5 years in prison.

Electronic Stalking

Stalking is most readily understood as when a person follows or watches another person, but modern technology creates new ways for stalking to take place. For example, using a GPS tracking device to find out the whereabouts of a former spouse has been found to be “stalking” under the statute. L.A.V.H v. R.J.V.H.

Domestic violence cases are very serious and complex. If you need help with a domestic violence case, call the Law Offices of Peter Van Aulen at (201) 845-7400 for a free consultation.

Sources

New Jersey Prevention of Domestic Violence Act of 1991
N.J.S.A. 2C:12-10, 10.1, 10.2
L.A.V.H. v. R.J.V.H., No. A-6292-09T4 (N.J. Super. 2011).

Reviews
★★★★★
Peter has integrity, and values his relationships with his clients beyond his financial relationship with them. For me to say this about any lawyer is really saying something. He is compassionate, straightforward and knowledgeable. I would easily recommend him to anybody.
★★★★★
Peter Van Aulen handled my case with great diligence and integrity. He is also a compassionate individual who realizes what a difficult time divorce can be emotionally. Peter works hard and doesn't take any shortcuts in preparing for a case… I highly recommend Mr. Van Aulen and his staff. Chuck Solomon
★★★★★
Peter is an exceptionally great attorney. He handled my child custody case and was able to ease any of my concerns with honest answers. He always took the time to explain the pros/cons and was always available to answer any questions that I had… I would highly recommend this attorney to anyone who is looking for one. Jessica Cruz
★★★★★
Peter Van Aulen is a very compassionate, honest and straightforward person. He was there for me at my lowest point with a genuine concern not only for my situation, but for me and my child's well being above all… He is fair and he is strong and when push comes to shove he is there for you. Cathy Dodge
★★★★★
Our cousin used Peter's law office to help with a sticky custody situation. He was extremely responsive, very nice and most importantly did an awesome job with the court! He is awesome. Lawrence Polsky

*Results may vary depending on your particular facts and legal circumstances