Harassment and Stalking
Often thought of as cases of fans versus celebrities, real harassment and stalking charges are typically the result of a personal relationship gone wrong. Both harassment and stalking are serious criminal offenses, no matter what state you are in. Knowing your rights and having an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side can help you get the best possible results on your day in court.
The criminal offense of stalking is fairly new. These laws were actually the result of a fan’s obsession with a celebrity. Now, however, it is most often applied to people who have a personal domestic relationship with the alleged victim.
Because of this relationship, criminal cases like these are often highly charged and wrought with emotion and attachments. This can make them particularly difficult for all parties involved. Having a level headed defense lawyer on your side can be critical provide balance and an objective view on the matter. And in a case like this, you need an advocate who is only concerned with your best interests in the case.
Like any other criminal charge, the exact legal definition, classification, and penalties vary by state.
In most states, harassment refers to unwanted contact. This could be via email, over the phone, or in person. If you repeatedly bother someone when that contact is unwanted and unnecessary, you could face harassment charges.
Prank phone calls and cyber bullying are even considered forms of harassment and can even carry the potential for jail time.
In most states, harassment is considered a misdemeanor charge. Some states have classifications like “aggravated harassment” or “1st degree harassment” that can be considered a felony.
The criminal offense of stalking is like a more serious version of harassment. Stalking is characterized by a pattern of behavior. This means the actions that constitute stalking are often repeated or done over a period of time.
Stalking also usually has an element of conveyed or perceived threat. In other words, the actions that constitute stalking may put the alleged victim in fear of their safety. You don’t have to threaten someone to put them in fear—following them repeatedly will usually suffice.
The penalties for stalking vary by state. In most it is considered a felony. In all states, however, stalking in violation of a protection order is a more serious offense than stalking when one is not in place.
Whether a protection order was in place at the time of the alleged offense or not, you are facing serious charges. Criminal charges require a criminal defense attorney to protect your legal rights in this difficult situation. Contact us and we can put you in touch with a lawyer in your state.