Will I Go to Jail for Stalking in New Jersey?


Having a stalker can be scary and damaging both mentally and physically. Stalking is considered a serious crime in New Jersey and the consequences can be severe, including hefty fines and even a prison sentence. If you are facing stalking charges, a skilled Bergen County, New Jersey criminal defense lawyer can offer experienced representation and legal advice.

What is Considered Stalking?

Under New Jersey state law, stalking is the crime of continuously maintaining visual or physical proximity to a person or threatening or harassing them. This can entail following the person, monitoring them, observing them, or contacting them when they do not want you to. This conduct has to have occurred more than once to be considered stalking. The stalker is purposefully engaging in behavior that causes a person to have a reasonable fear for their safety or their loved ones’ safety. Some examples of stalking can include the following:

  • Following a person or tracking their location physically or virtually
  • Sending unwanted gifts to a person
  • Sending threats to a person or their friends/family
  • Damaging a person’s personal property
  • Obtaining an excessive amount of personal information about a person
  • Communicating with a person through unwanted phone calls, text messages, emails, letters, etc.

What Are the Penalties?

The penalties for stalking in New Jersey vary depending on the degree to which you are being charged. Keep in mind that sentencing can be lessened or exacerbated depending on certain details of your case, such as the length of time of the stalking, if anyone was physically harmed, and if you have a prior criminal record. The following are standard penalties in New Jersey.

Fourth-degree: Committing the crime of stalking in general, as described above, is a fourth-degree crime punishable by $10,000 worth of fines and up to 18 months in prison.

Third-degree: Committing stalking in violation of a restraining order is a third-degree crime and is punishable by $15,000 worth of fines and 3 to 5 years in prison.

Third-degree: The second type of third-degree stalking is committing the crime while serving a term of imprisonment or while on probation or parole and this crime is punishable by $15,000 worth of fines and 3 to 5 years in prison.

Should I Hire a Lawyer for My Stalking Case?

Hiring a lawyer should always be your number one priority when you are arrested for a crime as serious as stalking. You should find a lawyer you trust to help you face your charges and defend your case.

Not only will your attorney be beneficial to you in understanding your situation, communicating with judges and other authorities, and collecting evidence, but they will also be able to defend you in court.

An experienced attorney will be able to examine the details of your case and formulate the strongest defensive strategy possible to implement during your trial. Depending on your situation your lawyer may be able to reduce your charges and therefore sentencing or even have the case dismissed. Hiring a lawyer is the best way to ensure your rights are protected.

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