Cyber Harassment Considered Act of Domestic Violence NJ
On December 5, 2016, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed a new law that adds cyber-harassment as a 19th predicate act of domestic violence under the NJ Prevention of Domestic Violence Act (“PDVA”). The PDVA outlines the situations in which the New Jersey Superior Court, Family Part can enter restraining orders. See N.J.S.A. 2C:25-17 et seq.
The new law takes effect immediately and, therefore, courts can now consider cyber-harassment when deciding whether to enter a temporary restraining order or a final restraining order against an accused perpetrator of domestic violence.
To read the full text of the law, click here.
Previously, there were 18 enumerated predicate acts of domestic violence outlined in the PDVA. Those 18 predicate acts of domestic violence were: homicide, assault, terroristic threats, kidnapping, criminal restraint, false imprisonment, sexual assault, criminal sexual contact, lewdness, criminal mischief, burglary, criminal trespass, harassment, stalking, criminal coercion, robbery, contempt of a domestic violence order, and any other crime involving risk of death or serious bodily injury.
The 19th predicate act of domestic violence, cyber-harassment, is defined in the New Jersey Criminal Code (2C:33-4.1). According to the NJ Criminal Code, a person is guilty of cyber-harassment if “while making a communication in an online capacity via any electronic device or through a social networking site and with the purpose to harass another, the person: (1) threatens to inflict injury or physical harm to any person or the property of any person; (2) knowingly sends, posts, comments, requests, suggests, or proposes any lewd, indecent, or obscene material to or about a person with the intent to emotionally harm a reasonable person or place a reasonable person in fear of physical or emotional harm to his person; or (3) threatens to commit any crime against the person or the person’s property.
Perpetrating any of the above actions now constitutes grounds to justify a temporary restraining order, and potentially a final restraining order, against the offender.
Accused of Cyber Harassment in New Jersey?
If you have been accused of cyber harassment and are facing criminal charges and/or a restraining order, contact our experienced NJ attorneys defending those involved in domestic violence cases. We have extensive knowledge and practical skill in the realm of domestic violence law and will aggressively defend your innocence. Call (908)-336-5008 or request a free consultation about your case 24/7.