I frequently represent clients charged with criminal harassment throughout New Jersey including in Dover, Denville, Parsippany, and Mount Olive. Harassment is typically a petty disorderly persons offense in New Jersey which, if convicted, leads to a permanent criminal charge on your record (which may be expunged in certain cases after five (5) years depending on any other criminal history). These charges are handled in the Municipal Court in the municipality in which the alleged conduct occurred. However, if you are on probation or parole for an indictable offense at the time of the alleged harassment charge, this becomes a fourth degree indictable offense which will be handled at the Superior Court in the County in which the alleged crime occurred.
A criminal charge for harassment in New Jersey is governed by N.J.S. 2C:33-4 which provides in pertinent part:
§ 2C:33-4. Harassment
Except as provided in subsection e., a person commits a petty disorderly persons offense if, with purpose to harass another, he:
a. Makes, or causes to be made, a communication or communications anonymously or at extremely inconvenient hours, or in offensively coarse language, or any other manner likely to cause annoyance or alarm;
b. Subjects another to striking, kicking, shoving, or other offensive touching, or threatens to do so; or
c. Engages in any other course of alarming conduct or of repeatedly committed acts with purpose to alarm or seriously annoy such other person.
A communication under subsection a. may be deemed to have been made either at the place where it originated or at the place where it was received.
d. (Deleted by amendment, P.L. 2001, c. 443).
e. A person commits a crime of the fourth degree if, in committing an offense under this section, he was serving a term of imprisonment or was on parole or probation as the result of a conviction of any indictable offense under the laws of this State, any other state or the United States.