Bronx Stalking Lawyer
Many people view stalking as a relatively minor offense. While it is certainly true that lesser incidents of stalking are only misdemeanors, New York’s expansive definitions of the term and the associated criminal statutes make many stalking allegations serious felonies.
Stalking is any action that a person takes that can reasonably be expected to cause alarm in the mind of another person. This can include anything from repeated unwelcome contact online, to following a person, to watching their every move. Because of the multiple forms that a stalking charge can take, anyone facing these allegations should take extra caution.
A Bronx stalking lawyer can work with you to help you understand the charges you are facing and how to fight them. No matter the severity of a person’s stalking charge, an experienced defense attorney may be able to help.
The Legal Definition of Stalking
There are four levels of stalking in New York’s Penal Law. Each of these levels carries their own definitions and attendant penalties. Each of these levels share a core definition.
According to New York Penal Law §120.45, a person is guilty of stalking if they act in a way that would reasonably be expected to cause a fear to the health or wellbeing of another. This can include making repeated unwelcome telephone or online contact as well as threatening the business prospects of another person.
This basic version of stalking is known as stalking in the fourth degree. This is a class B misdemeanor and can result in no more than three months in jail, but typically ends with some form of probation or diversion program. For a more in-depth review of a stalking charge, get in touch with a Bronx stalking lawyer today.
When do Allegations Become More Serious?
All stalking includes the core behavior discussed above. However, there are aggravating circumstances that can make a stalking allegation more serious. For example, if a person is alleged to have undertaken any activity that is intended to cause a fear for the physical or sexual wellbeing of another, or that results in a fear of death, the court can upgrade the charge. These activities are charged as stalking in the third degree. According to New York Penal Law §120.50, this is a class A misdemeanor that can result in up to one year in jail.
Even more serious are stalking in the second-degree allegations. Under New York Penal Law §120.55, this involves subsequent convictions for stalking in the third degree as well as stalking someone under the age of 14 or displaying a weapon while stalking any other person. This is a class E felony.
Finally, the most severe version of stalking, known as stalking in the first degree, applies whenever a person has a past conviction for stalking in the second degree or intentionally or recklessly causes an injury to their alleged victim. This is a class D felony under New York Penal Law §120.60. Contact a Bronx stalking lawyer for assistance with building a defense.
Speak with a Bronx Stalking Attorney Today
Allegations of stalking are always serious matters. Even if you are only charged with a misdemeanor level offense, a conviction can result in a criminal record and a protective order that can require you to cease all contact and possibly even to move out of your home.
A Bronx stalking lawyer could help you deal with these charges and to stand up for your rights in court. To prove a stalking case, a prosecutor must demonstrate that you not only committed the alleged actions, but that this conduct could be perceived as threatening. An attorney can work to dispute both of these essential elements. Contact a lawyer today to discuss your case.