No doubt you’ve heard the saying – the best of friends can make the worst enemies. The words might apply to your current life situation if you’re facing harassment charges. What in the world happened?
You think back to all the good times you two had together. After all, your friendship dates back to kindergarten, and you’ve remained close throughout adulthood. You considered yourselves tight, almost like sisters.
One night you decided to hang out at the local bar. In the past, you and your friend would have a couple of drinks together to break up the week. It’s a neighborhood place, and the same men and women go there on a regular basis.
It’s a rare evening when you and your best friend aren’t out together. However, it comes to your surprise when the bartender says he’s glad to see you alone. He has something to tell you.
Long story short, you learn that your childhood buddy is trashing you. She’s telling everyone your most private secrets, including the one night stand you had with one of the other patrons. In fact, she’s making it sound like you’ve done the rounds with all the guys.
You are beyond furious. Of course, you’re ready to dash over to your soon to be ex-friend’s house and confront her. However, she’s supposedly sick with a stomach thing, and you have no interest in catching it. When you resort to text and get no answer, you are beyond crazed.
You start calling and calling. You leave message after message. As far as you’re concerned, you intend to make your former friend’s life miserable. After all, she’s ruined your reputation.
When It Becomes Harassment
It’s how the story continues that could result in harassment charges. For example, if you keep calling and texting at all hours of the night and day, you might find yourself in trouble.
Likewise, you may want to watch the tone of your conversations. According to NJSA 2C:33-4, it’s also considered harassment if you use offensive language, especially if it’s designed to annoy someone else or cause them alarm.
Actually, it’s not just what you say that matters under the harassment statute. You can also face charges if you do something that can be construed as an intent to alarm or seriously annoy a person. This includes select physical acts as well – or the threat of them.
If you are accused of harassment, your case is heard in municipal court. However, it will be up to the local prosecutor to prove that your actions constituted intent to harass the other person.
In the meantime, you could find yourself in bigger trouble if what you do reaches the level of stalking charges. You’ll wind up in superior court and looking at an indictable crime.
If you’ve been accused of harassment, you need the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney. Contact us at the Law Offices of Beninato & Matrafajlo to see how we can help you avoid the possibility of penalties that will impact your life.