If someone has accused you of stalking, it can feel like more than a legal charge—it can feel like a black mark against your moral character. Stalking is a charge that carries a lot of weight in our society, especially in this current cultural moment. But these accusations are often not clear-cut, and false accusations of stalking happen more than you might think. Read on to learn more about what is involved in the legal charge of stalking, what to do if you're accused of stalking, and how Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm Criminal Defense Team can help.
What Is Stalking?
“Stalking” is a word that people tend to use casually without really understanding its meaning. In New Jersey, it is defined as maintaining a “course of conduct” that would cause a “reasonable person” to fear for their safety or would cause significant emotional distress. This can include repeated attempts to keep someone close or in sight, following, monitoring, observing, threatening, communicating with someone, or repeatedly harassing them. Stalking usually takes place over multiple occasions. As you can see, stalking can involve a number of different actions, but the outcome is always that someone fears for their safety or experiences emotional distress.
If You Are Accused of Stalking
If you're wrongly accused of stalking in New Jersey, here are three steps you can take to protect yourself:
- Do not contact your accuser. Being accused of stalking can make you want to defend yourself to the person who accused you. You may want to try to clear your name. Instead, the best thing to do is to try to avoid that person entirely. Don't contact them. Try to avoid places you know they frequent. Don't contact their family members or close friends. This will help you avoid doing something that could be interpreted as further evidence of stalking.
- If you do need to have contact with your accuser, do it in a public place, with a neutral witness—or better yet, in a court or at a police station. This may feel overly formal, but it is the best way to protect yourself during this tense time and avoid doing anything that could be construed as further evidence of stalking. If you absolutely need to have contact with your accuser (for example, to get your property of yours returned or for child custody purposes), make sure you have a witness for your own protection.
- Get an attorney. You need to take accusations of stalking seriously and take action to defend yourself. One of the best ways to do this is to get a lawyer. A lawyer will help you protect your rights when you talk to the police, develop a plan to present your side of the story and represent you in court.
Turn to the Lento Law Firm Team for Help
Being accused of stalking can have a major impact on your life. If you're facing these accusations, you need to take action to protect yourself. Turn to Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm's Criminal Defense Team for the representation and support you need to tell your side of the story to the police and in court. Our experienced criminal defense team has years of experience in the New Jersey criminal law system and can help you fight accusations of stalking. Get in touch with our office by calling (888) 535-3686 or schedule a consultation online.