Claims of stalking or harassment are vigorously pursued by police and prosecutors in California. The state has one of the most comprehensive stalking laws in the U.S., largely due to the fact that many victim also become the victims of more serious crimes such as assault, murder, or rape. At The Justice Firm, our Los Angeles stalking defense attorneys provide solid, effective legal guidance and support for clients who are under investigation or have been arrested for stalking or harassment. We want to help you avoid criminal penalties and having your freedom taken away.
Stalking is defined under California Penal Code Section 646.9 as any individual who repeatedly follows and harasses another individual in a willful or malicious manner, or who instills fear for another person or his or her family's safety by making credible threats. Some examples of stalking or harassing include:
- Following another individual in a car, on foot, or via public transportation
- Calling another individual and harassing him or her over the phone, or via voice mail messages
- Video recording or photographing
- Leaving the target of the stalking unwanted gifts, letters, or other items
- Using the Internet to stalk or harass someone using social media, e-mail, photos, videos, or texting
It is vital you consult with an experienced Los Angeles criminal defense attorney immediately if you or someone you know has been accused of stalking or harassing another person.Orange County Stalking Defense Attorneys Protecting Your Rights
As with every crime, an individual is innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. In order for you to be found guilty of stalking, the prosecutor must prove certain "elements" of a crime. These elements include:
- That you willfully, maliciously, or repeatedly followed or harassed another individual;
- That you made a credible threat to another person either in writing, verbally, or via electronic communication; and
- In doing the above, you intended to make the target or victim fearful for his or her safety or the safety of the person's immediate family.
The key here is that a "knowing and willful" course of conduct must be proven, which essentially means a series of two or more acts demonstrating the individual intends to continue with the purpose of terrorizing, tormenting, or annoying another individual.
Proving all of the elements of a crime is not easy for prosecutors, however it is imperative you take action in your own defense. Our Los Angeles stalking defense lawyers will work with you to determine the most effective course of legal action, always focusing on obtaining positive results. Our goal is to protect you from serious criminal penalties and potential damage to your career and reputation.California Criminal Penalties for Stalking/Harassment
Depending on the circumstances of your case, stalking may be charged as a misdemeanor or felony.
If convicted of misdemeanor stalking, you may be sentenced to up to one year in jail, a $1,000 fine, or both.
If convicted of felony stalking, you may be sentenced to up to five years in state prison, a $1,000 fine, or both.
In addition to the above penalties, you may be required to register as a sex offender, or committed to a state hospital for mental illness. A restraining order may also be issued which will prohibit you from having any contact with the intended target or victim.
Federal stalking occurs when harassment crosses state lines; if convicted of federal stalking, you may be subject to up to five years in federal prison and fines of up to $250,000.Contact The Justice Firm Immediately
Accusations of stalking or harassment should be taken very seriously. If convicted, you could lose your freedom, not to mention your career and family. At The Justice Firm, our Los Angeles criminal defense lawyers are aggressive and dedicated. We will not stand by and hold your hand while you plead to a lesser offense, but will fight hard to protect your legal rights and freedom. Call us today for unsurpassed legal representation at 310-914-2444.