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Digital Missteps Add Up to Real-World Problems

Posted by Joseph D. Lento | Aug 31, 2022 | 0 Comments

Separations from a partner often bring stress and pain even when it's mutual and friendly. When breakups turn hostile, they have the potential to elevate your troubles — especially when social media is involved.

Social media has brought us closer together in many ways, but it carries multiple pitfalls when the lines blur between physical and digital worlds. One of the arenas where that's playing out is in the legal field and the New Jersey laws governing domestic violence.

New Jersey takes a harsh view of cyber offenses and domestic offenses like stalking and domestic violence.

Cyber-harassment in New Jersey

A 2016 “Prevention of Domestic Violence Act” outlined “predicate acts” of domestic violence. These included false imprisonment; sexual assault; criminal mischief; and burglary. Cyber harassment also made the list.

Cyber-harassment includes threats of violence and attempts to emotionally harm or place someone in fear of physical harm through social networking sites and electronic devices. Some of the digital avenues are:

  • Posts
  • Comments
  • Requests

The definition of harassment encompasses more indirect methods, too. Late-night calls or repeated messages can be used to establish a pattern of abuse against you.

Your Actions Can Create a Pattern

Often you don't realize just how closely linked you are with your partner in the digital world until a split occurs. It's important to take evaluate how your actions may be perceived, no matter your intentions.

Consider, for instance, finances like shared bills and joint bank accounts. Changing passwords or moving assets can be viewed as a threat. “Liking” pictures of your children or commenting on how much you miss them can be misconstrued.

What you post matters. Spreading rumors or misinformation about a partner can also be misconstrued as a threat. When emotions run high and you just want to vent online, don't be surprised when pages of texts and posts are presented in court without the proper context.

Restrain Yourself Online

Social media increasingly plays a role in restraining orders. The old rules of restraining orders laid out restrictions like how close you could approach a person. Now those boundaries are extending to the digital realm. In a 2014 New Jersey Case, the Appellate Division of the Superior Court supported a ruling barring a mother from posting about her ex-husband and children. She broke that condition of her bail and was subsequently arrested.

Put another way, the “no contact” language of a restraining order extends to social media. Blocking and deleting someone avoids accidental contact and erases the temptation to contact.

And Now for Some Good News

Social media and digital communications can serve as ammunition against you. But there are two sides to the coin. Texts, messages, emails, and voicemails can also serve as a defense and demonstrate a lack of annoyance or alarm. Bringing your side of the story to the courtroom offers valuable context and clarity.

That's where a skilled New Jersey criminal defense attorney can protect your rights. Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the experienced lawyers at the Lento Law Firm have been guiding defendants through domestic violence charges for years, and they can help you too. Contact the Lento Law Firm online or give them a call at (888) 535-3686 to set up a consultation.

About the Author

Joseph D. Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Attorney Joseph D. Lento passionately fights for the futures of his clients in criminal courtrooms in New Jersey as well as Pennsylvania and nationwide. He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead prioritizes his clients' needs and well-being. With unparalleled experience occupying several roles in the criminal justice system outside of being an attorney, Joseph D. Lento can give you valuable behind-the-scenes insight as to what is happening during all phases of the legal process. Joseph D. Lento is licensed in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and New York, and is admitted pro hac vice as needed nationwide. In the courtroom and in life, attorney Joseph D. Lento stands up when the bell rings!

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When it comes to criminal defense cases, you need the right person in your corner. To learn more about how Mr. Lento can help you, call the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686. or contact him online.

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