Family Lawyer Blog

Passaic County Stalking and Domestic Violence on Social Media

Passaic County Stalking and Domestic Violence on Social Media

Nowadays people like to share many of their activities and life situations with other people. After all, as social beings, we have an innate need to connect with, share, and relate to other people. Even more so, many seem to have this innate interest in what other people are doing, where they are, who they are with, and what they might be missing out on. It is not surprising that social networks like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Snap chat, among many others, are some of the most popular, highly visited and browsed web portals online. Facebook, for example, has approximately 170 million users in the United States alone.

Privacy, however, is something that many are interested in maintaining while using these platforms and in their lives in general. According to a recent study by a digital technology company indicated that 73% of Americans who use the web are concerned about online privacy. The statistics being what they are, it is clear that this common fear does not serve as a deterrent to individuals using the applications and sharing some, often times a lot, of the details of their every day lives with the world. In cases where people choose to be more private, while still enjoying the benefits of social media, they often think they are safe from the potential negative impact it can have on their lives and unfortunately that is not at all the case.

If you or a loved one have been victims of domestic violence, stalking, or other abuses online, don’t hesitate to give us a call for a free and confidential consultation (973) 233-4396. We are here to protect your rights and most importantly protect you and your family.

Stalking, Harassment, and Domestic Violence Attorneys Woodland Park NJ

Domestic Violence, specifically the crime of Stalking, is very common across social platforms, and many don’t know what to do with it until it is too late and has caused a major negative impact on their lives. When it comes to domestic violence, people will tend to think about physical harm, damage to property, or emotional trauma related to fear of being hurt or killed by another individual. Stalking does not only occur when someone feels physical threat or danger; stalking can happen from miles away over the internet via obsessive, recurring, and threatening behavior.

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, stalking is defined as the act or crime of willfully and repeatedly following or harassing another person in circumstances that would cause a reasonable person to fear injury or death especially because of express or implied threats. Stalking is often considered to be aggravated when the conduct involved also violates a restraining order protecting the victim.

Stalking on Social Media across Northern New Jersey

The issue that people run into is often surrounding the illusion of control that they feel they have over the level of privacy and what they are willing to share across social media platforms. Many want to use the networks moderately and can maintain a healthy balanced lifestyle where they limit the use and also limit access granted to the general public. In these circumstances, we still see issues arise as it relates to human behavior and lack of overall control. Even if you control what you release and allow access to on a specific platform, just by being on that platform you are granting other individuals access to you, your information, and potentially to your safety.

If someone else shows obsessive, recurring, abusive behavior on social media it can be no laughing matter. Depending on what is released, other’s actions can impact your reputation, employment, close family relationships, and in the worst cases your safety. If someone begins sharing information, images, video or any content with you in it and without your approval, their actions may fall under an actual crime called stalking.

New Jersey Stalking Statute 2C:12-10

The New Jersey statute defines stalking as “purposefully or knowingly engaging 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.” The National Institute of Justice defines stalking as “a course of conduct directed at a specific person that involves repeated visual or physical proximity, nonconsensual communication, or verbal, written, or implied threats, or a combination thereof, that would cause a reasonable person fear,” with “repeated” meaning on two or more occasions.

There are four terms that are the most critical in determining whether or not a behavior can be determined as stalking under New Jersey Law.

  • “Course of Conduct” – Repeatedly maintaining visual or physical proximity to a person; using any means (including third parties or electronic devices) to follow, monitor, observe, servile, threaten, or communicate to or about, a person, or interfere with a person’s property; or repeated harassment.
  •  “Repeatedly” – means at least twice
  • “Emotional Distress” – means significant mental suffering or distress.
  • “Cause a reasonable person to fear” – means to cause fear which a reasonable victim, similarly situated, would have under the circumstances

Degrees of Stalking as a Crime in Paterson NJ

Stalking is a fourth-degree crime in New Jersey. It is a third-degree crime if there is already a court order prohibiting the behavior. It is also a third-degree crime if the alleged stalker is serving jail time or is on parole or probation. The offense is also a third-degree crime for any subsequent offenses.

Domestic Violence and 3 Main Types of Stalking

Generally, there are three main types of stalking:

  • Erotomania – Often involves a person who has a delusional obsession with a public figure or someone out of the stalker’s reach.
  • Love Obsessional – Involves an individual stalking someone with whom they think they are in love.
  • Simple Obsessional – Stalking committed by someone the victim knows.

Domestic violence stalking fits into this last category and is usually perpetrated by an ex-spouse or lover, employer, or co-worker. In New Jersey, stalking is considered a crime under the Prevention of Domestic Violence Statute. Domestic violence is defined as the occurrence of certain acts inflicted upon a person by someone who is close to that person, such as a spouse, former spouse, boyfriend or girlfriend, or other members of your household. It is important to note that the individuals previously listed are all likely to have “friendships” and access to our social media accounts. As discussed that grants an opportunity to affect our reputation and even our safety. We urge you to take precaution when using social networks online.

Contact a Wayne NJ Child Domestic Violence Lawyer Today

Our experienced criminal, family law, and domestic violence attorneys are here to help you navigate the difficult and complex legal process, whether you have been a victim of stalking or falsely accused of stalking under the domestic violence laws of New Jersey.

If you are facing a case involving stalking and domestic violence, whether on social media or not, you need an experienced attorney to help protect you and your family, or conversely to help protect your rights and your rights if you have been wrongfully accused. At Del Sardo & Montanari we are prepared to guide you through every step of the process. Call us today at (973) 233-4396 or fill out a contact form on our website to schedule a free and confidential consultation.

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