A person may be charged with stalking if that person:
Purposely and repeatedly follows the victims or a member of the victim’s family and engages in conduct which alarms or annoys the victim or members of the victim’s family, such as:
- sending anonymous letters or other mailings, including email;
- making persistent phone calls with or without messages;
- sending unwanted gifts;
- threatening the safety of the victim or members of her/his family so as to annoy or place the victim (or members of her/his family) in reasonable fear.
The stalker may be someone you know (a friend, co-worker, acquaintance), someone you once had a relationship with or a complete stranger. Stalking does not have to be sexual in nature. Stalkers direct their attention to a specific person, or to that person’s family or friends.
New Jersey Statutes 2C:12-10: Stalking
A person is guilty of stalking if he purposefully or knowingly engages 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.
Stalking is a crime of the fourth degree. A second or subsequent stalking offense against the same victim is a crime of the third degree.
Stalking is a crime of the third degree if committed:
- as a second or subsequent offense of stalking against the same victim
- in violation of an existing court order prohibiting stalking;
- while serving a term of imprisonment; or
- while on parole or probation as the result of a conviction for any indictable offense under any state or federal law.
The law refers to “course of conduct” as follows:
Course of conduct: repeatedly maintaining a visual or physical proximity to a person; directly, indirectly, or through third parties, by any action, method, device, or means, following, monitoring, observing, surveilling, threatening, or communicating to or about, a person, or interfering with a person’s property; repeatedly committing harassment against a person; or repeatedly conveying, or causing to be conveyed, verbal or written threats or threats conveyed by any other means of communication or threats implied by conduct or a combination thereof directed at or toward a person.
If found guilty of stalking:
- A first-time offender can be sentenced to a term of up to 18 months in prison and/or a fine up to $7,500.
- A person committing any violation of an existing court order prohibiting stalking can be sentenced to a term of between 3 and 5 years in prison and/or up to a $7,500 fine.
- A second-time offender (or subsequent offender) can be sentenced to a term of between 3 and 5 years in prison and/or up to a $7,500 fine.