What is Harassment in New Jersey?

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anonymous troll engaging in cyber harassment

If you work with other people or consume any amount of mass media, you may have noticed how frequently people use the word “harassment.” Although a serious issue, harassment is not always a matter that police have to investigate. For more information on harassment in New Jersey, please read on, then contact an experienced Mercer County criminal defense lawyer soon. Some questions you may have about harassment include:

What constitutes harassment in New Jersey?

NJ Statute 2C:33-4 considers it harassment when a person:

  • Targets someone else
  • Behaves in a manner meant to alarm, annoy, torment or terrorize, and
  • Creates reasonable fear in the victim for their safety or the safety of their family or property

What forms can harassment take in NJ?

While this usually manifests in a person harassing someone they know, such as a former intimate partner or spouse, it could also happen to coworkers, neighbors or even complete strangers. Furthermore, it may take many forms, including:

  • Online harassment
  • Sexual harassment
  • Threats to the victim, their family and/or their property, home or car, or
  • Stalking

What are some examples of harassment in NJ?

Any of the following actions may constitute harassment under the statute mentioned above:

  • Making communications anonymously at extremely inconvenient hours, with offensive language or in any other manner likely to annoy or alarm
  • Striking, kicking, shoving or otherwise touching someone in an offensive way
  • Threatening to strike or touch someone, and
  • Engaging in any other alarming conduct or repeatedly attempting to alarm or annoy someone

What are the penalties for harassment in New Jersey?

The penalties you face for a conviction for harassment in the Garden State will, as always, depend on the number of times, if any, you have previously sustained convictions for this or related offenses as well as the severity of the underlying offense. In the majority of cases, New Jersey classifies harassment as a petty disorderly persons offense. Under NJ Statutes §2C:43-8, a person convicted of harassment could face:

  • Up to thirty days in jail
  • Fines of up to $500, and/or
  • Community service

However, if the defendant commits harassment while in prison or on probation or parole that constitutes harassment in the fourth degree. In these instances, the defendant may face the following:

  • Up to eighteen months in jail, and
  • A fine of up to $10,000

Please bear in mind that even a petty disorderly persons conviction can impair your future employment opportunities, child custody and more. To better protect your future, you should not hesitate to speak with Douglas Herring, Esq. to discuss your options and begin planning your defense strategy.


If you face a criminal matter, contact The Law Office of Douglas Herring to schedule your initial consultation.

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