STATE OF NEW JERSEY
PRE-FILED FOR INTRODUCTION IN THE 2016 SESSION
Assemblyman CRAIG J. COUGHLIN
District 19 (Middlesex)
Assemblywoman PAMELA R. LAMPITT
District 6 (Burlington and Camden)
Assemblyman TROY SINGLETON
District 7 (Burlington)
Assemblyman DANIEL R. BENSON
District 14 (Mercer and Middlesex)
Assemblywoman VALERIE VAINIERI HUTTLE
District 37 (Bergen)
Assemblywoman GABRIELA M. MOSQUERA
District 4 (Camden and Gloucester)
Assemblyman Wimberly, Assemblywomen Spencer, Pintor Marin, Jimenez and Assemblyman Gusciora
Adds cyber-harassment to the domestic violence statutes.
CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT
Introduced Pending Technical Review by Legislative Counsel.
An Act concerning domestic violence and amending P.L.1991, c.261.
Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:
1. Section 3 of P.L.1991, c.261 (C.2C:25-19) is amended to read as follows:
3. As used in this act:
a. "Domestic violence" means the occurrence of one or more of the following acts inflicted upon a person protected under this act by an adult or an emancipated minor:
(1) Homicide N.J.S.2C:11-1 et seq.
(2) Assault N.J.S.2C:12-1
(3) Terroristic threats N.J.S.2C:12-3
(4) Kidnapping N.J.S.2C:13-1
(5) Criminal restraint N.J.S.2C:13-2
(6) False imprisonment N.J.S.2C:13-3
(7) Sexual assault N.J.S.2C:14-2
(8) Criminal sexual contact N.J.S.2C:14-3
(9) Lewdness N.J.S.2C:14-4
(10) Criminal mischief N.J.S.2C:17-3
(11) Burglary N.J.S.2C:18-2
(12) Criminal trespass N.J.S.2C:18-3
(13) Harassment N.J.S.2C:33-4
(14) Stalking P.L.1992, c.209 (C.2C:12-10)
(15) Cyber-harassment P.L.2013, c.272 (C.2C:33-4.1)
When one or more of these acts is inflicted by an unemancipated minor upon a person protected under this act, the occurrence shall not constitute "domestic violence," but may be the basis for the filing of a petition or complaint pursuant to the provisions of section 11 of P.L.1982, c.77 (C.2A:4A-30).
b. "Law enforcement agency" means a department, division, bureau, commission, board or other authority of the State or of any political subdivision thereof which employs law enforcement officers.
c. "Law enforcement officer" means a person whose public duties include the power to act as an officer for the detection, apprehension, arrest and conviction of offenders against the laws of this State.
d. "Victim of domestic violence" means a person protected under this act and shall include any person who is 18 years of age or older or who is an emancipated minor and who has been subjected to domestic violence by a spouse, former spouse, or any other person who is a present or former household member. "Victim of domestic violence" also includes any person, regardless of age, who has been subjected to domestic violence by a person with whom the victim has a child in common, or with whom the victim anticipates having a child in common, if one of the parties is pregnant. "Victim of domestic violence" also includes any person who has been subjected to domestic violence by a person with whom the victim has had a dating relationship.
e. "Emancipated minor" means a person who is under 18 years of age but who has been married, has entered military service, has a child or is pregnant or has been previously declared by a court or an administrative agency to be emancipated.
(cf: P.L.1994, c.94, s.1)
2. This act shall take effect immediately.
This bill would allow temporary and permanent restraining orders under the “Prevention of Domestic Violence Act of 1991,” P.L.1991, c.261 (C.2C:25-17 et seq.) on grounds that the person seeking the order is a victim of cyber-harassment.
Currently, the “Prevention of Domestic Violence Act of 1991” provides that any of 14 predicate offenses, if inflicted by an adult or an emancipated minor upon a person protected under the act, constitute domestic violence. This bill would add cyber-harassment as a 15th predicate offense.
The crime of cyber-harassment was enacted by P.L.2013, c.272 (C.2C:33-4.1). A person is guilty 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.
Cyber-harassment is a crime of the fourth degree, punishable by up to 18 months imprisonment, a fine of up to $10,000, or both. If the perpetrator is 21 years of age or older at the time of the offense and impersonates a minor for the purpose of cyber-harassing a minor, it is a crime of the third degree. A crime of the third degree is punishable by three to five years imprisonment, a fine of up to $15,000, or both.