Police in Andover, NJ, charged three middle school students with cyber-harassment and harassment, per the news. About 13 to 14 years old, the youths allegedly posted an offending photo and comments on Instagram.The news, however, did not report the offensive statement. Instead, the news obliquely reported the trio posted the photo “along with alarming comments toward students,” per the police.
Cyber-Harassment, N.J.S.A. 2c:33-4.1
Under New Jersey law, a person commits the crime of cyber-harassment if, while making a communication in an online capacity via any electronic device or through a social networking site and with the purpose to harass another, the person:
- threatens to inflict injury or physical harm to any person or the property of any person;
- knowingly sends, posts, comments, requests, suggests, or proposes any lewd, indecent, or obscene material to or about a person with the intent to emotionally harm a reasonable person or place a reasonable person in fear of physical or emotional harm to his person; or
- threatens to commit any crime against the person or the person’s property.
The conduct of a juvenile that would constitute this crime if committed by an adult is a fourth degree offense. The cyber-harassment statute also defines a third degree crime. But a juvenile cannot commit the third degree crime because it applies to a person 21 years of age or older.
In addition to the other penalties in Juvenile Court, if a minor under the age of 16 is adjudicated delinquent for cyber-harassment, the court may order as a condition of the sentence that the minor, accompanied by a parent or guardian, complete, in a satisfactory manner, a class or training program intended to:
- reduce the tendency toward cyber-harassment behavior; and / or
- a class or training program intended to bring awareness to the dangers associated with cyber-harassment.
A parent or guardian who fails to comply with this condition is a disorderly person.
Fourth Degree Offense Penalties
A court can order the juvenile’s placement in a juvenile facility for up to one year. Alternatively, the court has the authority to sentence the juvenile to probation for up to three years. Another option for the court is an adjourned Disposition up to 12 months. Likewise, the court has the authority to release the juvenile to the parent’s or guardian’s supervision. Alternatively, the court has the authority to transfer custody of the juvenile to any relative or other person qualified to care for the juvenile.
The court has the authority to impose fines. Nevertheless, he court should adapt the fines to rehabilitate the juvenile or to deter the crime or offense. Furthermore, the court can order the payment of restitution by the juvenile or the parent/guardian.
The court has the authority to sentence the juvenile to community service, work programs, or personal improvement programs. Additionally, the court has the authority to sentence the juvenile to academic or vocational education or counseling.
The court has the authority to sentence the juvenile to a residential or nonresidential program for alcohol or narcotic abuse treatment.
The court could sentence the juvenile’s parent or guardian to participate in programs and services. Of course, the court has the power to postpone, suspend, or revoke the juvenile’s driver’s license or registration for up to two years. Furthermore, the Court has the power to place the youth in a juvenile offender program. Alternatively, the court could place the youth in nonresidential education, counseling, vocational training, employment counseling, work, or other services. Additionally, the court has the power to place the juvenile with any private group home or private residential facility. The court could also commit or place the juvenile with the Department of Children and Families for residential or non-residential services. Finally, the law authorizes the court to impose any other conditions reasonably related to the rehabilitation of the juvenile.
New Jersey Juvenile Justice Lawyer Michael Smolensky, Esquire, knows how to protect his clients. Mr. Smolensky can provide consultations on all cases regarding Cyber-Harassment. Call Now—(856) 812-0321.