Respected New Jersey Defense Attorney Fights Cyber Crime Charges
Seasoned Garden State lawyer defends those accused of online harassment
Cyber harassment and cyberbullying entered the national conversation several years ago, as a number of tragic episodes were linked to use of the internet as an instrument of torture. One of the most horrific concerned Rutgers freshman Tyler Clementi, who took his life after his roommate used social media to “out” him as gay. In response, New Jersey enacted serious criminal penalties for online harassment. In addition, the state’s Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights Act sets strict rules for dealing with bullying in public schools or online against students. At the Law Offices of David Jay Glassman, we advise and defend students and adults accused of electronic bullying and harassment. With offices in Marlton, Hackensack, Newark and New Brunswick, we represent clients throughout New Jersey.
Experienced attorney helps clients understand NJ laws against internet crimes
New Jersey has adopted a broad definition of the crime of cyber-harassment. Under N.J. Stat. Ann. §2C:33-4.1, it includes using online communications to do any of the following with intent to harass:
- threatening to inflict injury or physical harm to any person or the property of any person
- threatening to commit any crime against the person or the person’s property
- knowingly sending, posting, commenting, requesting, suggesting or proposing any lewd, indecent or obscene material to or about a person with the intent to emotionally harm or to create fear of physical or emotional harm
Cyber-harassment is a fourth-degree crime, punishable by a fine of up to $10,000 and a prison term of up to 18 months. It becomes a third-degree crime if the perpetrator was 21 years or older and impersonated a minor while committing it. That raises the penalties to a fine of up to $15,000 and imprisonment for three to five years.
New Jersey residents should know the following about cyber-harassment:
- It can take many forms — The crime can be committed by use of any type of electronic device or internet platform, including social networking and photo sharing sites.
- Intent matters — Legally, cyber-harassment only occurs when an individual intends to harass a person or make them fear for their well-being.
- Freedom of speech is not total — Language that incites violence or includes harassment or seemingly credible threats of bodily harm is not protected by the First Amendment.
- Cyberbullies can face additional charges — Cyberbullying is tried under New Jersey’s cyber-harassment law, but depending on the circumstances of a case, a prosecutor might also bring charges of stalking, harassment and making terroristic threats.
It’s also important to know that prosecutors are able to bring other criminal charges when the online activity goes beyond threats or enticement and actually causes harm to people or property.
Dealing with cyberbullying against minors
Under the Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights Act, New Jersey public schools are required to adopt policies prohibiting harassment, intimidation and bullying, as well as policies for taking appropriate remedial action when they occur. When bullying happens off school property or outside the scope of school activities, including through cyber-harassment, the school can discipline the perpetrator if the behavior violates the rights of a student, emotionally or physically harms a student or their property or interferes with a student’s education or the orderly operation of the school.
Tested New Jersey defense attorney asserts rights of the accused
Cyber-harassment can be hurtful and at times deadly, but not all unkind online communications are criminal. Our firm defends accused individuals and asserts their rights. We are skilled at raising such defenses as:
- Freedom of speech — The right to express personal opinion is protected under the First Amendment as long as one’s words — including text messages, social media posts or other forms of electronic communication — do not pose a serious or imminent threat.
- Unintended consequences — Well-intended constructive criticism is not criminal, even if it causes emotional stress.
- False reports — Claims of cyberbullying may be made in retaliation or in an attempt to gain or distract attention. We refute allegations fueled by falsehoods.
With the knowledge that no two cases are alike, our firm devotes focused attention to the details and dynamics surrounding each individual accusation, asserting all protections afforded by New Jersey law.
Contact a knowledgeable New Jersey cyber-harassment defense attorney today
At the Law Offices of David Jay Glassman, we devise and implement strong defenses for individuals accused of violating New Jersey’s cyber-harassment statute and related laws. With locations in Marlton, Hackensack, Newark and New Brunswick, we represent clients in every part of New Jersey. To schedule an initial consultation, call us at 866-221-1270 or contact us online.