A Trenton, New Jersey cop, was recently arrested after threatening a school administrator in Hamilton. Upon release on bail, he was also put on leave with pay. The Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office confirmed with reporters that Officer Lopez is being charged with two counts of harassment.
The arrest and paid leave came after Lopez allegedly verbally threatened two school officials on June 15, 2022. The report claims that Lopez visited the school to discuss bullying. The specific details of the situation are still unknown. Lopez joined the Trenton Police Department just last year in February of 2021.
New Jersey Harassment Laws
New Jersey categorizes harassment as a disorderly persons offense. Harassment is any behavior that includes:
- Anonymous communications with offensive language
- Physically kicking or touching someone
- Threatening to physically touch someone
- Interacting in a way that is alarming in an attempt to annoy or scare someone
The requirements of harassment can be subjective, which often makes these charges difficult to evaluate. One person may feel that repeated communication from someone is harassment, whereas another person doesn’t agree. Some situations, like threats or physical harm, may be easier to define as harassment.
Someone may even argue that harassment includes an intent to harass. This may be even harder to prove, but it’s a possibility.
Potential Consequences of Harassment in New Jersey
Harassment is covered under New Jersey Statute 2C:43-8. A person convicted of harassment in New Jersey may be ordered to spend up to 30 days in jail. They may also be subject to expensive fines or community service.
Criminal charges of harassment may also affect the offender’s life in other ways. It may threaten employment, such as in this case with a New Jersey police officer. If the offender has a prior criminal record and they’re currently on probation or parole, the harassment charges may be increased to a fourth-degree felony crime.
Other details may worsen the harassment charges. If you’re charged with felony harassment, you may be required to pay even more and spend more time in jail.
Defending a Harassment Case
People who are at risk of harassment charges may need to build a defense. The right defense can help you avoid criminal charges and even jail time. One of the most common defenses against harassment is defining what harassment is. Some behaviors may not clearly be considered harassment.
Sometimes repeat communication, which may be regarded as harassment, is necessary, especially if two people share a child or children together. There are some situations that may make behaviors like repeat communication acceptable. It may be a good idea to go over your defense options with a criminal defense lawyer first. Once you talk with the courts and provide a statement, they may be able to use your statement against you.
Criminal charges should never be taken lightly. They may lead to a loss of employment and even require jail time. The best way to stay out of jail is to discuss your options with a criminal defense lawyer. If you’re being wrongly charged with harassment, you may have legal defense options available.
Contact an Experienced Trenton Criminal Defense Lawyer About Your Criminal Harassment Charges in New Jersey
Were you arrested or charged with criminal harassment in New Jersey? The consequences of a conviction could be severe, leaving you with a permanent criminal record and possibly even sending you to jail. That is why you need to speak with a qualified criminal defense attorney as soon as possible about your case. The attorneys at The Davis Law Firm, LLC have successfully represented clients charged with criminal harassment in Princeton, East Windsor, West Windsor, Trenton, and throughout New Jersey. Call (609) 498-7722 or fill out the online contact form to schedule a consultation with a member of our legal team. We have an office conveniently located at 2653 Nottingham Way, Hamilton Township, NJ 08619.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.
Disorderly conduct consists of any improper behavior such as fighting, threats of violence, or creating a dangerous atmosphere.