New Jersey Criminal Lawyer: Cyber Harassment Law to Curtail Bullying Is Pending Approval in NJ
In New Jersey, a new category of crime called “cyber harassment” may be added to NJ law. The bill was unanimously approved by the state Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee, but still awaits approval from the state Senate. Under the bill, people would be banned from making an online communication via an electronic device or social networking site with the purpose to harass another person. The act of harassment, under this bill, would include threats to inflict injury to a person or property, threats to commit a crime against a person or property, or sending obscene material to or about a person. The bill is designed to protect children because current state law cannot criminally prosecute an individual who harasses a minor online.
Offenders of this cyber harassment bill would face punishment of up to 18 months in prison and a fine up to $10,000. If the offender is over 21 years old and impersonating a minor, the penalties escalate to a maximum of five years in prison and a $15,000 fine respectively. In the case of a minor under 16 committing cyber harassment, the punishment could include a training program intended to prevent future cyber harassment. If the minor’s parent does not accompany the minor, they could face a disorderly persons offense.
The bill is facing opposition mainly from First Amendment advocates who say the bill’s language is too vague. These opponents of the bill state that vocabulary such as “indecent” and “harass” are too broad of terms that can be interpreted differently in multiple contexts. They argue that this infringes upon the protected speech that is secured by the First Amendment. Under the bill, the term “harass” would include public comments that are indecent to another person.
New Jersey Criminal Law Attorney Michele Finizio Aggressively Protects Her Clients’ Rights in NJ
If you have been charged with any type of cyber harassment offense or any other related crime, contact the criminal attorneys at the Law Offices of Michele Finizio in New Jersey. Due to the potentially high stakes of a harassment charge, it is important to secure an aggressive and experienced criminal lawyer. For a free consultation to discuss the details of your case, call 856-242-7300 or contact us online