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.
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