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Long Island law views stalking as a serious charge, and anyone accused of stalking another person and found guilty of this crime is punished to the full extent of the law. New York law mandates stalking is a crime, and the law further breaks down stalking into four separate categories, which will be discussed further momentarily. Before discussing this, however, it’s important you understand what stalking is and why it’s a crime.
Stalking is a crime in which one person makes another feel threatened or in danger. It can occur when one person is constantly following another, when someone shows up to all the same places as a victim, or when they send message after message, email, text, call, or repeatedly show up at their home uninvited and without an issue. When your presence makes someone feel nervous or as if they’re in danger, it’s classified as stalking and it’s illegal.
New York law breaks down stalking into four categories.
– Stalking in the 4th degree: This occurs when someone makes another person feel threatened or makes their families feel threatened. It’s the least severe form of stalking, and it’s also the one that has the biggest array of factors.
– Stalking in the 3rd degree: This form of stalking is similar to stalking in the fourth, but it also includes a reasonable belief that the victim could suffer physical harm from the perpetrator. For example, if an abusive ex-boyfriend who has been arrested for hitting his girlfriend in the past is following her around, she has a legitimate reason to fear he might hurt her as he has in the past.
– Stalking in the 2nd degree: This is the same as the third degree, but it must involve the use of any sort of weapon.
– Stalking in the 1st degree: It’s the same as the second and third, but this time it involves a reckless or intentional form of physical harm to the victim. For example, the abusive ex-boyfriend might cause his ex to become injured in a car accident when she is distracted and scared driving home one night because he is behind her. That’s reckless. Intentional would be if he purposely drove her off the road to harm her.
The penalties for stalking someone in Long Island are steep. Fourth-degree stalking is considered a Class B misdemeanor, and third-degree stalking is a Class A misdemeanor. These are punished in most instances with prison time and a large fine. First and second-degree stalking are both considered felony charges in Long Island. This means the convicted felon faces prison for at least five years as well as a hefty fine.
If the guilty party has been convicted of the same crime in the past, the sentence issued at conviction is worse. If the convicted party has been arrested and charged with the same crime more than twice, the penalty continues to get worse.
If stalking crimes are against a child younger than 18, younger than 16, or younger than 11, the punishment becomes far worse. The younger the child being stalked, the more serious the punishment will be. It also changes the course of the charge, too, but turning a misdemeanor into a felony depending on the age of the child being stalked.
Defenses for Stalking
When you are arrested for stalking in any degree, the first thing you should do is call a criminal attorney to represent you when your case is heard in court. Our exceptional knowledge of the law allows us to help you find reduced charges, prove your innocence, or figure out a way to keep you from facing the most serious penalties.
Our job is to defend you by proving the victim lied about your stalking, that the victim has identified the wrong person as the stalker, or that there is not enough evidence in hand for the prosecution to send you to jail for a crime such as stalking. We take the evidence, we follow it, and we work to prove every point of your case so you have a fair shot at a fair trial. If the evidence simply isn’t there or you have a valid alibi, we make it known so that a judge and jury cannot convict you of this crime.
An experienced attorney knows what’s required in a case such as stalking in Long Island, and we can help you get what you need to work on your case successfully. There are many aspects of the law the everyday person is unaware of but that attorneys know is true. Let an attorney help you defend yourself when someone accuses you of stalking. It might make the difference between spending a few years in jail and being free the rest of your life.