Rockland County Stalking Lawyer
New York’s laws concerning stalking can range from low-level misdemeanors all the way to serious felonies. The severity of the charge depends on a person’s previous convictions for stalking, whether they used any dangerous weapon, or whether any physical harm was caused to the alleged victim. As such, stalking cases can be serious and complex legal matters. A Rockland County stalking lawyer is experienced in examining the State’s evidence in the case and forming an aggressive strategy.
What Behavior Counts as Stalking?
There are four versions of stalking in New York Penal Law. Under New York Penal Law §120.45, all stalking charges involve similar activity. A person is stalking someone if they act in a way that would reasonably be expected to cause fear:
- For the health or well-being of another person or their family
- For the mental state of another person or their family through following, telephoning, or otherwise communicating with the alleged victim
- In a person that threatens their business or career
Generally, to prove that someone is stalking another, the prosecution must be able to prove intent. Part of proving intent may include proving that the person was previously warned to stop the activity in question or otherwise reasonably knew that it caused fear.
Different Degrees of Stalking Charges
The most basic stalking charge is stalking in the fourth degree. This is a class B misdemeanor, meaning that a conviction can result in a jail term of up to three months. More serious stalking charges can result in enhanced penalties.
Stalking in the third-degree is defined in New York Penal Law §120.50 as intentionally engaging in any conduct that is intended to cause fear of any physical harm, sex offense, unlawful imprisonment, or death in the mind of another. Alternatively, a person may be charged with stalking in the third-degree if they have a prior conviction for stalking in the fourth-degree in the past 10 years or have three or more prior allegations of stalking in the fourth-degree. This is a class A misdemeanor that can increase the potential penalty to a year in jail.
Stalking in the First and Second Degree
As explained in New York Penal Law §120.55 and §120.60 the most serious versions of stalking are stalking in the first degree and stalking in the second degree. Both are felonies. Someone can be charged with stalking in the first or second-degree when a stalking incident results in a physical injury, involves the use of a deadly weapon or is committed against a child. In addition, a person who repeatedly stalks another may face felony-level stalking charges. Conviction of a felony offense can result in more than one year in prison.
No matter the level of stalking charges that a person faces, the potential penalties for conviction are serious. Therefore, anyone facing these allegations should take steps to protect themselves and consult with a Rockland County stalking lawyer.
Speaking with a Rockland County Stalking Attorney
Allegations of stalking can ruin a person’s life. Not only must that person deal with the potential criminal penalties for a conviction, but when these allegations involve stalking a household member, the court may mark the case as an incident of domestic violence. This can affect a person’s family life, job, and even force them to move out of their home.
A Rockland County stalking lawyer can work tirelessly to defeat the criminal charges and fight back against any potential protective orders requested by the prosecution. Contact a lawyer today to discuss your case.