Morristown NJ Juvenile Harassment Defense Lawyer
Juvenile Criminal Defense Attorneys in Morris County, New Jersey
Harassment is a term used frequently to refer to a wide variety of behavior. In the context of juveniles and underage people, harassment is often used to refer to bullying, whether it occurs at school, online, through text messages or phone calls, through social media, or in another context. Unfortunately, allegations of harassment can become very serious, leading to criminal charges that may spell severe consequences for a juvenile accused of harassment in New Jersey. If you are a juvenile or the parent of a child charged with harassment or called to your local police station for questioning in New Jersey, you need an experienced juvenile defense attorney who can protect your innocence and work to minimize the potential repercussions of these accusations. Alissa Hascup is a highly knowledgeable New Jersey juvenile defense lawyer who regularly assists minors and their parents with resolving harassment cases, both inside and outside of the courtroom. She is a seasoned advocate who is committed to protecting your child’s future. If you are dealing with a juvenile matter involving harassment in Hackensack, Morristown, Montclair, Wayne, Bridgewater, Warren, Basking Ridge, or elsewhere in New Jersey, contact The Law Offices of Alissa Hascup today at 862-257-1200 for a free consultation. Alissa will be happy to answer all of your questions and to outline all of your options. You can also contact us online to begin your conversation.
Harassment in New Jersey: N.J.S.A. 2C:33-4
The New Jersey Criminal Code explains charges for harassment, which can result in criminal complaints against juveniles and adults, in section N.J.S.A. 2C:33-4, which states:
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.
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.
As you can see, harassment is typically considered a petty disorderly persons offense, unless it is committed while the person was on parole or probation, in which case harassment is elevated to a fourth degree crime. As used in this statute, a “communication” may be deemed to have been made either at the place where it originated or at the place where it was received.
Juvenile Harassment Charges in NJ
If you are under the age of eighteen and charged with harassment in New Jersey, you are a legal juvenile and your case will most often be handled in the juvenile justice system. As such, your case will be heard and decided in the Family Division of the Superior Court in the county where you live. In other words, if you are charged with harassment in Passaic County, but you live in Morris County, your case will be sent to Morris County Superior Court, Family Division.
Sometimes, police will decide not to issue a formal criminal complaint in a harassment case and instead hold a stationhouse adjustment. This is a meeting where the juvenile, his or her parent or guardian, and the victim (and his or her parent or guardian if a juvenile) sit down and discuss the offense, and the accused minor may be required to do something to apologize for the harassing behavior. In cases where a criminal complaint for harassment is issued, the case is sent to the Family Division and the Juvenile Unit for review. The juvenile case will then be put on the formal court calendar or the informal calendar. The formal calendar is for cases that must be heard through hearing before a Juvenile Judge. The informal calendar is where lower-level offenses are sent for informal disposition, which may be a Juvenile Referee or Juvenile Conference Committee.
If you are found guilty of harassment as a juvenile, you are adjudicated delinquent, which is similar to a criminal conviction for an adult. However, your sentence may differ significantly from an adult convicted of harassment in adult criminal court. For juvenile defendants in New Jersey, the court must impose a sentence that serves the best interests of the child. Thus, juvenile sentencing incorporates consideration of a variety of factors, such as: the nature and circumstances of the offense; your age, previous record, and social services received; your unique needs; and the likelihood that you will respond well to rehabilitative measures. Potential sentences in juvenile cases include: probation, community service, mental health counseling, detention (incarceration), substance abuse treatment, driver’s license suspension, restitution payment to the victim, fines, an essay or book report, or a work or educational program. Regardless of the way that your juvenile case proceeds, it is imperative to have an experienced juvenile defense lawyer protecting your interests and your rights.
Contact a Parsippany NJ Underage Harassment Lawyer to Discuss Your Case
If your child was arrested for harassment, or another parent or child filed a harassment complaint against your child, do not delay in consulting knowledgeable legal counsel. At The Law Offices of Alissa Hascup, we assist juveniles facing criminal charges and accusations of misconduct throughout New Jersey, including in Somerset County, Passaic County, Bergen County, Union County, and Essex County. Call 862-257-1200 anytime for a free consultation with an NJ juvenile defense lawyer about your juvenile harassment case.