eyeTechnology has changed the way we all live. The way we get our news.  The way we purchase products.  The way we learn.  The way we communicate with our spouse and children.  And the way we stalk.  Yes, the way we stalk.

A recent unpublished Appellate Court decision upheld a Final Restraining Order entered by the trial court which found the Husband guilty of stalking under the Domestic Violence Act because he used his iPad and iPhone to record his estranged Wife’s movements and communications within their home while he was on an out of state trip. The parties were already in the middle of a divorce at the time but continued to live in the same home.  The trial court found that the Husband was recording the Wife’s conversations and movements with an iPad and iPhone in order to achieve an upper hand in the divorce.  The Husband’s actions were egregious enough that he was found guilty of stalking his Wife.

According to N.J.S.A. 2C:12-10 a person is guilty of stalking, a crime of the fourth degree, if he purposefully or knowingly engages in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for his safety or the safety of a third person or suffer other emotional distress.

Technology is increasingly used as a method to stalk, intimidate and harass. Trial courts have found defendants guilty of harassment under the Domestic Violence Act as a result of sending a series of harassing text messages to the victim and sending harassing messages via Facebook.  New Jersey even has a cyber-harassment statute independent of the Domestic Violence Act.  The cyber-harassment statute is not limited to the realm of family law.  Three middle schoolers in Sussex County were charged in 2017 with cyber-harassment.  Both adults and children should be aware of the fact that communications via e-mail, text, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and whatever the next technology trend is can and will be used against them if used inappropriately.

If you have any questions regarding the Domestic Violence Laws in New Jersey we are available to discuss your concerns with you, please call our firm at 908-879-9499.