New York Penal Law § 120.45 – Stalking in the Fourth Degree
In New York, Stalking in the Fourth Degree is a crime prohibiting a person from engaging in a course of conduct that negatively impacts another’s mental health or puts another person in fear of physical injury, property damage, or loss of employment. Stalking in the 4th degree is a class B misdemeanor and a less serious version of the other New York stalking offenses.The Elements of Stalking in the Fourth Degree
Before a judge or jury can convict anyone of Stalking in the Fourth Degree, the government must prove each element of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt. The elements of Stalking in the Fourth Degree are:
- The defendant took repetitive actions directed at another person;
- The defendant’s actions were intentional and lacked a legitimate purpose; and
- One or more of the following:
- The defendant’s actions were likely to put another person or that person’s acquaintances or family members in reasonable fear of harm to their person, property or safety.
- The defendant negatively impacted another person’s emotional well-being by initiating communication with that person or that person’s acquaintances or family members when the defendant was previously asked to stop.
- The defendant’s actions were likely to cause another person to reasonably fear that their employment was in jeopardy.
Section 120.45 also provides that the installation of a tracking device can constitute stalking.Examples of Stalking in the Fourth Degree
Examples of Stalking in the Fourth Degree include:
- A woman places a tracking device on his ex-boyfriend’s car without his consent;
- Despite being asked to stop, a man repeatedly shows up at his ex-wife’s place of employment, demanding to speak with her;
- A person repeatedly parks outside another’s home at night, watching them through the window.
Often, prosecutors bring Stalking in the Fourth Degree charges along with one or more of the following:
- Stalking in the Third Degree – NY Penal Law § 120.50
- Stalking in the Second Degree – NY Penal Law § 120.55
- Stalking in the First Degree – NY Penal Law § 120.60
- Menacing in the Second Degree – NY Penal Law § 120.14
- Menacing in the Third Degree – NY Penal Law § 120.15
- Promoting a Suicide Attempt – NY Penal Law § 120.30
- Harassment in the First Degree – NY Penal Law § 240.25
- Harassment in the Second Degree – NY Penal Law § 240.26
- Aggravated Harassment in the First Degree – NY Penal Law § 240.31
- Aggravated Harassment in the Second Degree – NY Penal Law § 240.30
There are many defenses to Stalking in the Fourth Degree; however, not all defenses apply in each case. Some of the most common stalking defenses include:
- The alleged victim’s fear of injury, property damage, or loss of employment was not reasonable;
- The defendant honestly believed that their actions would not cause the alleged victim to be fearful;
- The defendant had a legitimate reason for their conduct; and
- The alleged victim fabricated the entire incident.
Stalking in the Fourth Degree is a class B misdemeanor. In New York, class B misdemeanors are punishable by a maximum term of three months in jail and a fine of up to $500.Reach Out to an Experienced New York Criminal Defense lawyer to Discuss Your Stalking Charges Today
If you’ve recently been charged with stalking, the criminal defense attorneys at Tilem & Associates, P.C. can help. With more than 40 years of combined experience defending the rights of clients charged with all types of stalking and harassment offenses, we know what it takes to get you the result you’re looking for. We are immediately available to meet with you to get started working on a compelling defense to the charges you face. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation today, call 877-377-8666. You can also reach us through our online contact form.