NYC Stalking Defense Attorney
Stalking Charges In New York City
Stalking is a pattern of harmful or purposeful conduct that makes the target feel threatened or afraid for their safety. Every year, around eight percent of women and two percent of men will be stalked at some point in their lives. The majority of stalking situations include a person who persistently focuses on another individual, the target. The stalker might lurk behind or beside the victim, observe him/her, break into his/her house or workplace, and attempt to communicate with him/her via phone, text message, email, and paper mail. However, it’s common for someone to be falsely accused of stalking for a variety of reasons. For example, when your invites for a date are taken the wrong way or your route home overlaps with that of a coworker, you might be shocked when he or she considers your attention stalking. However, it’s vital to remember that stalking is an intentional act and that people’s social actions are frequently misinterpreted.
If you’re facing stalking charges in New York City, the first thing most people would think to do in this situation is to reach out to the accuser and try to clear things up. Attempting to go at this alone is highly inadvisable and can make things worse. Your best bet is to reach out to a qualified New York City stalking defense attorney as soon as possible. Sosinsky Law has successfully defended many people in similar situations and we’re more than happy to help you too. Give us a call today for your free consultation so that we can start working on your case right away.
Types Of Stalking Offenses In New York
Under New York State Penal Law, there are four criminal stalking statutes: fourth-degree stalking, third-degree stalking, second-degree stalking, and first-degree stalking. Stalking in the fourth degree and third degree are misdemeanors while stalking in the second and first degrees are felonies. Regardless of the degree of stalking you’re charged with, it’s highly recommended to seek counsel from an experienced New York City stalking defense attorney as soon as possible.
As can be seen, you may not necessarily have meant to cause physical injury to another person to be charged with assault. But physical injury must result from the accused’s actions. Physical injury means impairment of physical condition or substantial pain.
Stalking In The Fourth Degree
If you engage in a course of conduct directed towards a specific person that is intended to cause him or her emotional distress and serves no legitimate purpose, you will be charged with stalking in the fourth degree in New York.
- It is very probable that such conduct would cause the individual concern for their own safety, that of their family, or for the property.
- Following is considered stalking if it causes substantial emotional or mental harm to the target. It entails following, phoning, or initiating contact with a person or an acquaintance of that individual after they informed you to stop. Following someone using GPS is included in this definition.
- When you stalk someone and show up to their job or try contacting them at work, it makes the person feel like they might lose their job because of your actions.
Stalking in the fourth degree is a Class B misdemeanor (N.Y. Pen. Law §§ 120.45-120.60).
Stalking In The Third Degree
The offense of stalking in the third degree in New York is the same as stalking in the fourth degree except that:
- You stalk 3 or more different people on at least 3 separate occasions; or
- You were convicted of any of the following sexual crimes in the last 10 years: misconduct, rape in the third degree, rape in the second degree, a criminal sexual act in the third degree, a criminal sexual act in the second degree, sexual abuse in the third degree or aggravated Sexual abuse. The stalker and the predicate crime victim must be the same, or the predicate crime victim must be a member of the stalking victim’s family.
- You engage in a series of acts that are intended to irritate, annoy, or alarm the victim, and it is probable that your conduct will cause him or her to be afraid that you will physically harm, abduct, commit a sex offense, or commit the crime of unlawful imprisonment against that person or his/her immediate family.
- Within the last 10 years, you have been convicted of stalking in the fourth degree.
Stalking in the third degree is a Class A misdemeanor (N.Y. Pen. Law § 120.50).
Stalking In The Second Degree
When you stalk someone in the second degree, it means that you are engaging in conduct that makes the victim believe that you will physically hurt them or commit a sex crime against them. This is similar to stalking in the third degree, except that when stalking in the second degree, you also display a weapon. If you follow someone and have been convicted of a predicate sex crime within the previous five years, or if you engage in stalking against 10 different people ten times, you are charged with second-degree stalking. This Class E misdemeanor applies to everyone in New York State.
Stalking In The First Degree
If you stalk someone and then cause the person physical harm, you will be charged with stalking in the first-degree offense in New York. Alternatively, you may be charged with sexual misconduct, forcible touching, sexual abuse in the second degree, rape in the third degree, a criminal sexual act in the third degree, female genital mutilation, rape in the second degree, or criminal sexual conduct in the second degree while stalking someone. Stalking in the first degree is a Class D felony (N.Y. Pen. Law § 120.60).
Penalties For Stalking Charges In New York City
The penalties for stalking charges in New York are determined by the severity of your plea or conviction at trial. Charges range from class B misdemeanors to class D felonies, with the most serious charge being a felony. The following are the potential penalties, as well as statutes that further define them, according to the link below:
- Fourth Degree Stalking, NY PL 120.45, is a class “B” misdemeanor punishable by up to 90 days in a local jail such as Rikers Island.
- Third Degree Stalking, NY PL 120.50, is a class “A” misdemeanor with a possible sentence of up to one year in a local jail.
- Second Degree Stalking, NY PL 120.55, is a class “E” felony with a potential of four years in state prison.
- First Degree Stalking, NY PL 120.60, the most significant of these crimes, is a class “D” felony punishable by as long as seven years of incarceration.
If your stalking defense attorney in NYC is able to persuade the prosecution to make an offer or a judge to accept such a sentence, you may be eligible for alternative sentences including probation, a conditional discharge, fines, and community service. Keep in mind that every portion of any settlement will almost certainly include an Order of Protection or Restraining Order.
Defending Against Stalking Charges In New York
Until the state’s aggravated harassment laws were declared unconstitutional, stalking was seldom prosecuted in New York. Even though the behavior is the same, police and prosecutors will now charge suspects with stalking rather than harassment. After a New York stalking arrest, your NYC stalking defense attorney can assist you in determining whether your charges are legitimate or if they are really a trumped-up form of harassment.
A credible and experienced attorney will aid you in analyzing the specific charges against you to get them lessened or dropped entirely. It can be hard, for example, to establish whether the victim was truly fearful of physical injury if there is no evidence other than what both parties say happened. Oftentimes, success lies in getting the prosecutor to dismiss any charges that would enhance the crime into a felony or more serious misdemeanor.
Contact A New York City Stalking Defense Attorney Today
If you’re facing stalking charges in New York City, have just learned that a restraining order has been issued against you for stalking, or are being investigated after an allegation of stalking, you need legal assistance immediately. At Sosinsky Law, our New York City stalking defense lawyer has years of expertise dealing with situations like this. You may count our firm’s knowledge and abilities if you choose to work with us. For more information about how we can assist you, please contact us now for a no-obligation consultation.