Being accused of stalking can be very serious. The stigma associated with stalking and stalkers has been hyped up by Hollywood and the news for many years. Unfortunately, these extraordinary examples that are portrayed in the media typically don’t represent the average stalker. The term itself is used to represent a variety of actions that can take place under the umbrella of domestic violence. In New York, a stalking conviction can range from a low-level misdemeanor all the way up to a very serious felony charge. Having an attorney is an absolute must in any stalking case. Our Brooklyn stalking charge lawyers can provide you with a no-risk consultation to determine exactly how they can help you.
A stalking case is typically initiated when a victim files for a restraining order to keep the offender away. A temporary restraining order is granted on an ex parte (one sided) hearing basis. This means that a judge will review the petition filed and determine if the victim was subjected to stalking. If so, they will grant a restraining order with conditions that the alleged perpetrator must adhere to. This typically means possessing no firearms, staying away from the victim’s home, workplace, school, or anywhere else they may happen to frequent. They typically will require no contact be made between the parties involved unless there’s a specific reason such as having children in common.
Before the temporary restraining order expires, the judge will schedule a date and time to determine if a permanent restraining order is to be granted. The victim may drop the case by this point, or they may proceed. At this point, the victim has the burden of proving that the accused stalked the victim. While evidence is typically the way to establish this, the judge may feel testimony is enough evidence. The burden of proof in stalking cases is typically much lower than in many other criminal matters. If found guilty of stalking by the court, the accused can owe hefty fines and even be sentenced to jail time. This charge will remain on the permanent record of the perpetrator.
Stalking is a broad term to describe many different actions and behaviors. At the most basic and least offensive level, stalking can be viewed as harassment. This can range from unwanted contact such as telephone calls and messages. As it escalates, it can progress into following someone or showing up at places that the perpetrator has no legitimate need to visit. The contact must be unwanted and unwarranted. If a person has a legitimate need to contact another or if they’re unaware it’s viewed as harassment, they’d have no basis for such a claim.
At the more serious level, stalking can include kidnapping or false imprisonment. It can also include making credible threats to one’s life or livelihood. Violence can also play a part in the equation. Depending on the severity situation, this can even be viewed as aggravated harassment or stalking by the court. New York places stalking statute definitions and penalties into four different degrees or classifications. Stalking in the first degree being the most serious and the fourth degree being the least. Click here for more information on New York stalking laws.
There are several different defense tactics that have been used to successfully challenge stalking charges in recent years. Perhaps one of the most common is grossly exaggerated or unsubstantiated claims. To support this claim, attorney representation is required. A skilled attorney can attack a witness’s story by attempting to find holes or inconsistencies in their testimony. If the witness is unable to accurately recall or remember the story, the attorney can challenge the witness’s credibility and typically win the case.
Another method is when someone has inaccurately identified the stalker or has no actual proof of being stalked. While the burden of proof is rather low in these matters, hearsay simply doesn’t cut in in court. Also, if the person alleging stalking knows very little about or is unable to clearly establish a relationship between the two, the case is unlikely to carry much weight.
Our Brooklyn stalking lawyers are experts in handling these types of matters. As this is a very serious charge, it’s advisable that you get in touch at once to have your case reviewed. They’ll put together a viable defense to help either reduce the penalty or have the case dismissed altogether. Get in touch online or by phone, today.