New York Stalking
Stalking is a crime in New York, with a maximum penalty of 7 years in prison. Stalking is codified at New York Penal Code 120.45-120.60, and the statutory framework is nuanced and hard to navigate. New York’s stalking laws, generally speaking, prohibit two types of conduct. The first type of prohibited conduct consists of intentionally engaging in a pattern of doing things that will make a person afraid or will negatively impact a person. When there are factors that make the make the acts more frightening or have a greater negative impact the severity of the crime is enhanced. The second type of prohibited conduct consists of engaging in a pattern of doing acts with the intent to bother or cause stress to a person. This second type of conduct makes the basis for the most serious type kind of stalking charges.
If you or someone you love has been accused of stalking call our experienced New York criminal defense lawyers today.
The type of acts that victims may believe that stalking constitutes, may not always actually be acts that fit into a pattern, and may not be acts that reasonable people are afraid of. Here are some examples to help the reader distinguish the difference. Sending hundreds of threatening, violent, sexual, and otherwise unwanted text messages to a former significant other constitutes stalking. On the other hand, seeing an ex at the grocery store every other weekend because you both shop there is not stalking.
The following sets of facts some further examples where a pattern of acts was established that constituted stalking. In one case a defendant called a victim’s phone at their job in March, posted an envelope to the victim’s job in March, then showed up at the victim’s home in December. In another example, a defendant passed by the victim’s house in his car twice, then he waited by the front of the house two other times, and finally, he followed the victim to her car. In another example a defendant appeared at the victim’s office and gave her an envelope with unwanted pornographic materials inside, thereafter repeatedly showed up at the office without permission and unannounced, and finally the defendant followed the victim into a subway car and glared at her. In this final example, a defendant did not threaten the victim at all, he merely tried ridiculously hard to get in touch with her. In this case, the victim did not want to hear from the defendant at all, but, the defendant would not take no for an answer. He sent more than 20 envelopes through the mail to the victim’s old boss and her father. In each of these cases patterns of acts that showed stalking were established.
On the other hand, the following example of conduct was not sufficient to establish a pattern of acts as related to New York stalking charges. Where the accuser told the defendant to stop his attempts to get in touch with her, but the defendant appeared at a swimming pool where the accuser was a lifeguard on more than one occasion this did not constitute stalking.
Stalking is a highly fact specific crime. It is very important that your attorney be experienced at framing the facts in a way that benefits your case. Our lawyers are experienced trial attorneys have a strong track record of winning in front of juries. Call us today for a free consultation if you have been accused of stalking in the state of New York.
Stalking can be charged in the fourth, third and second degree. These charges can not only be brought in criminal court but can also end up causing charges to be brought in family court, depending on the context of the stalking. While the criminal charges are serious on their own, our experienced team of New York attorneys can handle both the criminal charges as well as the other civil charges that may be brought.
The charges of stalking can be brought against a person who has intentionally and for no legitimate purpose engages in conduct directed at a specific person that falls under a few different categories. Stalking in the fourth degree is when a person acts in such conduct that is likely to cause reasonable fear of harm to physical health, safety or property of another person, their immediate family or someone who is acquainted with them. If they actually cause the harm that was likely to be caused by initiating communication, contact or phoning that person when they have clearly previously informed the initial actor to cease the conduct, or if they are likely to cause reasonable fear that a person’s career, business or employment is threatened when conduct has happened like appearing or initiating conduct at a person’s employment, they can also be charged with stalking in the fourth degree. This charge is a class B misdemeanor, and punishable by up to 3 months in prison or one year probation.
If a person has done the actions described above to three or more separate people, in three or more different actions but have not been previously convicted of each of the actions, they can be charged with stalking in the third degree. This can also be charged if a person has been previously charged with stalking in any degree, a violent felony, assault, or a myriad of other offenses in the previous ten years and the victim of both the current charge and the previous charge are the same. A third way to be charged with stalking in the third is if they have intent to harass, alarm or annoy a specific person which is likely to cause reasonable fear of a sex offense, kidnapping or death of a person. This charge is a class A misdemeanor and is punishable by up to one year in jail or three years of probation.
The highest charge of stalking, stalking in the second degree, is charged when a person has committed the acts to be charged with stalking in the third degree and include the use of a dangerous weapon, or have been convicted of stalking in the third in the past five years. It can also be charged when a person over 21 years of age repeatedly continues attempting to place themselves in the area of a person who is under fourteen. This charge is a class E felony and the most serious of the charges, punishable by up to 4 years of probation.
No matter what degree the charges are, our experienced team of New York attorneys are here to help, call us now to discuss what options are available in handling your case.