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Many people harbor misperceptions about the crime of stalking. These individuals surmise that stalking involves annoying another individual through repeated contact. In reality, stalking is a serious crime that results in a target of this activity ending up in reasonable fear for his or her safety. Stalking in the first degree is far more serious than merely annoying another person.
The state of New York takes allegations of stalking seriously. A person thought to have committed the crime of stalking will be prosecuted to the full extent permitted by the laws of the state.
Elements of Stalking in the First Degree
A person can be charged with stalking in the first degree when he or she engages in either second or third degree stalking and intentionally or recklessly causes the target of that stalking to suffer physical injury. In addition, if a person engaged in second or third degree stalking also commits certain class D felonies or a class A misdemeanors in the process can also be charged with stalking in the first degree.
Examples of Stalking in the First Degree
A man named Tony has been stalking a woman named Helen for some time. The situation reached a climax when Tony was in close proximity to Helen.
While close to Helen, Tony reached out and pushed the woman. She fell backwards, and broke her leg.
Another example involves a woman names Claire who stalked William for some time. At one point, Claire and William are on foot. William did his best to maneuver away from Claire, who was persistent.
William picked up speed, but remained closely followed by Claire. In attempting to elude her, William ends up slipping, falling, and breaking his arm.
Sentence for Stalking in the First Degree
A serious crime, stalking in the first degree is classified as a class D felony. As a result, if a person is convicted of stalking in the first degree, he or she faces a potential term of incarceration of up to seven years.
Stalking in the first degree is classified as a violent offense in the New York penal code. As a result, there is a mandatory prison term of two years.
In sentencing a person for stalking in the first degree, the court can also hand down a fine. The fine can be up to $5,000.
As part of the sentencing order, the court is likely to issue an order of protection in favor of the complaining witness or victim. Therefore, if a person convicted of stalking in the first degree, he or she can face additional criminal charges if the order of protection is violated.
Defenses for Stalking in the First Degree
There are some potential defenses to stalking in the first degree. An experienced NYC criminal lawyer understands how to pursue defenses for a client facing a stalking in the first degree charge.
One defense is that the alleged victim did not sustain a physical injury as defined by New York Law. The New York Penal Code includes some specific information about what constitutes a physical injury for the purposes of a stalking in the first degree charge and conviction.
A defendant might also raise a statute of limitations defense. By that it is meant that a possible defense may be that too much time has elapsed from the date of the alleged stalking and a person being charged with the crime. The law sets specific deadlines from when most criminal charges must be filed against an alleged offender.
A New York criminal defense attorney will provide a case evaluation during an initial consultation. Generally speaking, there is no charge for an initial consultation between a criminal defense attorney and a prospective client.
Over the course of the past 30 years, the state of the New York has taken stalking very seriously. Protecting people against stalking has become a priority for law enforcement officials across the Empire State.
One of the reasons law enforcement takes stalking complaints seriously is the reality that this type of crime can lead to other more serious offenses. These include assault, kidnapping, and sexual assault.
Elements of Stalking in the Second Degree
There are five general scenarios in which a person can be charged with stalking in the second degree, according to the New York penal code. First, a person can be charged with stalking in the second degree if he or she commits the crime of stalking in the third degree and displays, threatens to use, or possesses a deadly or dangerous weapon in the process.
Second, a person can be charged with stalking in the second degree if he or she commits the crime of stalking in the third degree and has been convicted of stalking in the previous five years. Third, a person can face a charge of stalking in the second degree if a person commits the crime of stalking in the fourth degree and has a prior conviction for stalking in the third degree.
Fourth, a stalking in the second degree case can be brought if a person who is 21 years of age or older continually places a child under the age of 14 in fear of physical harm or death. Finally, stalking in the second degree can be charged if a person previously was alleged to have stalked 10 or more other individuals, or was alleged to have stalked one person on 10 or more separate occasions, but was never charged based on those allegations.
Examples of Stalking in the Second Degree
An example of stalking in the second degree is a situation in which a former girlfriend telephones her ex-boyfriend about 10 times daily. She ultimately shows up at the man’s apartment on multiple occasions, demanding that the ex-boyfriend accompany her away from the home. She displays a gun in the process.
Another example of stalking in the second degree involves a man who follows a woman to and from work daily. He makes threatening remarks to her in the process, and even displays a knife on one such occasion.
Sentence for Stalking in the Second Degree
Stalking in the second degree is classified as a class E felony. As a result, a person convicted of stalking in the second degree faces up to a four year prison term. A court may also impose a fine of up to $5,000.
Defenses for Stalking in the Second Degree
Oftentimes, the heart of a defense to a charge of stalking in the second degree is contesting the veracity of the allegations made by the complaining witness or alleged victim. The statute of limitations may also be a defense. By that it is meant that too much time has lapsed and it is too late to pursue criminal charges in a stalking in the second degree case.
Skilled, experienced nyc criminal attorneys understand that strategies to employ to effectively defend against a charge of stalking in the second degree. The first step in retaining legal representation from a New York criminal defense lawyer is scheduling an initial consultation with legal counsel.
During an initial consultation, an attorney provides an evaluation of a case as well as a presentation of possible defense strategies. As a general practice, there is no fee charged for an initial consultation with a New York criminal defense lawyer in a stalking in the second degree case.
Stalking is always more than irritating another person. It refers to the seeming obsessive and repeated communicating with or following another person to the extent that that person mentally, emotionally, or physically threatened. Stalking behaviors include telephoning, emailing, following, tracking using GPS, and texting. It also involves showing up at the person’s place of work, or sending numerous messages using a different person. This is a crime relating to domestic violence. Third-degree stalking is one of the stalking charges under misdemeanors. Under the New York penal code 120:50, you will be charged with third-degree stalking if you do one of the following:
• Repeatedly follow, track, or communicate with another person in a manner that suggests you might harm them physically or cause emotional and mental harm.
• Show up at another person’s place of work, or communicate with the person in a manner that puts their business or job at risk.
• You stalk more than three people on at least three separate occasions. Or,
• Within the past one decade, you were convicted of one of the predicate crimes associated with stalking. Moreover, the predicate crime victim or the stalking victim was a member of the same family. Or,
• Intending to harass, annoy, or alarm the victim, or engage in an action that suggests kidnap, physical harm, or commit sex, or commit unlawful imprisonment against the immediate victim’s family member
• Within the past one decade, you have been convicted of fourth-degree stalking under the New York Penal Code 120:45
Example of Crime
A man calls his wife or ex-girlfriend 10 – 20 times a day for one week. He leaves messages that if she does not show up, he will come to her house. That man can never be convicted of third-degree stalking if he has never been convicted of a fourth-degree stalking. He will also be sentenced if he has been convicted of related criminal offenses against the girlfriend or any of the victim’s family members. Otherwise, he will be prosecuted with fourth-degree stalking.
1. Second-degree kidnapping: New York Penal Code 135:20
2. First-degree harassment: New York Penal Code 240:25
3. Second-degree aggravated harassment: New York Penal Code 240:30
The prosecutor must prove that you committed the crime to be convicted of third-degree stalking, or you have a history of sexual assault or stalking. You can also be sentenced if you have done the same to more than one person. If the prosecutor proves that you have stalked more than one person, he will have enough evidence to support the third-degree stalking charges.
Because the third-degree stalking is a Class A misdemeanor, your sentence will include a maximum of one-year jail term and a fine of up to $1,000. You can also be prosecuted to a three-year jail term if possible.
New York Penal Code 120.50: Stalking in the third degree
A person is guilty of third-degree stalking if he or she:
• Commits the fourth-degree stalking crime in violation of this crime against three or more persons, in three or more separate occasions, for which the actor has never been convicted of the same crime: or,
• Commits the fourth-degree stalking crime against a person, and has been convicted previously within the past one decade.
Best NYC Criminal Attorneys
If you are charged or arrested for third-degree stalking, even though it is not a felony you should immediately contact the nyc criminal attorneys with enough legal experience. While a felony conviction affects your life in many ways, so does a misdemeanor conviction. Please contact us for free to schedule an appointment.
The New York Penal Code takes a firm position against stalking. The potential penalties for stalking are serious. They are designed to address a person found guilty of stalking, but also to send a message to potential stalkers that the consequences for this type of behavior is serious.
The New York penal code defines stalking generally as the repeated, possibly obsessive, and unwanted behavior directed toward another individual. The conduct leaves the alleged victim of stalking feeling emotionally, physically, or mentally threatened.
Elements of Stalking in the Fourth Degree
Stalking in the fourth degree is the least serious form of stalking in New York. It is one of two different classifications of stalking that rank as misdemeanors.
A charge of stalking in the fourth degree can arise in a situation in which a person repeatedly follows, tracks, or communicates with someone else with such frequency that the target of the conduct feels the perpetrator may cause physical harm. In addition, stalking in the fourth degree can be charged in a situation that involves following, tracking, or communicating with such frequency that the target of the conduct suffers mental or emotional harm of some nature.
Finally, stalking in the fourth degree can be charged if the perpetrator shows up at the target’s place of employment, or communicates with the target at his or her place of employment, in a manner that puts that target’s job at risk.
Examples of Stalking in the Fourth Degree
An example of stalking in the fourth degree is a situation in which a man repeatedly shows up at his ex-girlfriend’s place of employment with an invitation to do so. Despite being asked to leave, and to never return, the individual continues to appear at his ex-girlfriend’s place of employment.
Another example of stalking in the fourth degree involves a woman who calls a man at home, on his mobile, and even at work, multiple times every day. The man has asked the woman to cease contacting him in any way. She refuses to stop.
Sentence for Stalking in the Fourth Degree
Stalking in the fourth degree is classified as a class B misdemeanor. The maximum possible sentence for stalking in the fourth degree is a three month jail sentence. In the alternative, the court could impose a term of probation for one year. The court also has the ability to fine a person convicted of stalking in the fourth degree of up to $500.
A person with no significant criminal history is likely to be sentenced to probation in a stalking in the fourth degree case. This is highly likely if an individual facinf a fourth degree stalking charge has never been formally accused of stalking in the past.
Defenses to Stalking in the Fourth Degree
nyc criminal attorneys can develop a defense to a charge of stalking in the fourth degree. One defense centers on the argument that there exists a valid reason for the contact. For example, if the alleged victim owes the purported stalker money, a defense may be that the person charged with stalking in the fourth degree is only trying to collect a debt. The contact by the alleged stalker may be annoying, however it may not be illegal.
A skilled, experienced New York criminal defense lawyer will provide a case evaluation during an initial consultation with a prospective client. Legal counsel will also respond to any questions a person may have regarding stalking in the fourth degree. As a matter of general practice, New York criminal defense attorneys typically charge no fee for an initial consultation in a case involving stalking in the fourth degree.
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