In many, if not most harassment cases, the complaining witness is a private citizen as opposed to a police officer. This is because harassment, under NJSA 2C:33-4, usually involves some sort of alleged communication. This communication is not always memorialized in writing or recording. Therefore, the only basis for the complaint may be the statements of the alleged victim,
Even in instances where there are writings, such as text messages, emails, etc., or recordings, such as phone messages, the police will frequently elect to forego signing the complaint as the complaining witness and elect to have the accuser do so.
Whenever I represent someone who is charged with harassment offense in New Jersey, I always explore the possibility of requesting a probable cause hearing. A probable cause hearing is not a trial. It is a pre-trial hearing where the judge listens to a limited amount of testimony and determines, within the totality of the circumstances, viewing the facts in a light most favorable to the alleged victim, whether the case should proceed to the trial stage or be dismissed.