Brooklyn Stalking Lawyers
Stalking is a crime the state of New York takes seriously. Victims of stalkers live in constant fear of being harmed by someone with an obsession. Stalkers may launch a campaign of harassment that turns into a violent crime. And then there are those persons who do not intend to harass their victims, but their actions clearly violate the law and lead to charges. Anyone charged with a count of stalking in Brooklyn or any other region in New York state should contact an attorney capable of defending the charges.
Stalking Under New York State Law
Stalking statutes were established in New York in 1999. The law broadly defines stalking as behavior that entails harassing or threatening a victim. Stalking generally involves a pattern of such behavior that shows the victim is being targeted for consistent harassment and threats.
Fear plays a significant role in the crime, but the law leaves the issue of fear to be defined rather broadly. A stalker does not have to intend to lead someone to be fearful of his/her behavior. The victim does not even need to be fearful. Rather, the behavior of the stalker would be deemed fearful by a reasonable based on the situation. The action of the stalker does need to be intentional.
The Penal Code and Stalking
Stalking can be addressed in civil court, but those who assume stalking isn’t a crime would be sorely mistaken. Main points under PL § 120.45 state a person commits Stalking in the Fourth Degree, a Class B misdemeanor, when he/she causes reasonable fear of material harm; or likely to cause such fear; or causes fear that business/employment may be harmed.
The statute of Stalking in the Third Degree entails and is not limited to committing stalking in the fourth degree against three or more persons; or committing a fourth-degree stalking violation within ten years of being convicted of such a crime; or when the victim fears a sex offense, kidnapping, and other violent crimes. A third-degree violation is a Class A misdemeanor.
Stalking in the Second Degree is identical to a third-degree offense with one difference: a weapon was involved. The inclusion of a weapon elevates this crime of the second degree to the felony level. Specifically, the crime lists as a Class E felony.
Stalking in the First Degree remains the most serious of the stalking charges. A person who commits and second or third-degree offense and also commits a Class A misdemeanor or injures someone could be charged with a first-degree offense, a Class D felony.
The Penalties for Stalking in New York
The penalties for stalking in New York depend on the severity of the crime and the personal criminal history of the person being charged. A Class A misdemeanor, for example, may lead to a sentence of one year in jail or three years probation. A $1,000 fine may be levied.
With a Class D felony, the penalties become bar more severe. A violent Class D felony could lead to a sentence of two to seven years in prison. Whether the charge is a misdemeanor or a felony, the situation is serious. Anyone facing charges should hire the necessary counsel to address the matter.
Defenses to Stalking
Defenses to stalking charges may entail disproving intent, proving lack of evidence, or even revealing the allegations are false. Other elements may be weaved into the defense of the charges. For those who may be looking at a guilty verdict, an attorney may be able to work a plea agreement or petition for leniency in sentencing. The key point to understand is the right attorney for the charges must be hired.
May 17, 2018
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