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If you have been charged with stalking, you’re likely worried about what could happen to you in court. Are you going to have to go to jail? Will you be ordered to pay fines? This could really set you back, and you aren’t sure what to do from here. Thankfully, with representation on your side, you can defend yourself against stalking charges.
Whether you’re facing misdemeanor or felony stalking charges, you’ll need an Oakland criminal defense attorney like Elliot Silver in your corner to fight for you. By working with Silver Law Firm, you have the best chance of getting your charges reduced, or maybe even dropped altogether.
Contact attorney Silver today at (510) 995-0000 to learn more during our free and confidential consultation.
What Does Stalking Mean?
In California, stalking means that a person harassed, followed, or threatened another person and they feared for their safety. There does not have to be any physical harm to the victim in order for you to be convicted of this crime.
For stalking charges to hold up, the prosecutor needs to show that:
- You harassed or followed someone with malicious or willful intent
- You made a threat against them
- You intended to make the person fearful for their safety and/or the safety of their family
All three of these elements must be applicable for the charges to hold up.
Examples of Stalking
A person may be found guilty of stalking and convicted of the charges if they harassed and threatened someone. For instance, perhaps a man has a crush on his neighbor, and he followed her to the store and told her that if she doesn’t go out with him, there will be consequences. Or, a person might call up their ex-spouse every night and threaten them if they don’t push for joint custody of their children in court. Stalking someone online is called cyberstalking, and it is also illegal. This could include sending malicious messages to a person on Instagram or Facebook, or through email.
Penalties for Stalking
Stalking is a wobbler, which means that depending on the circumstances of the crime, you could be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony.
If you are convicted of misdemeanor stalking, then you may:
- Have to go to county jail for up to one year
- Pay a fine of up to $1,000
- Go on summary probation
If you are convicted of felony stalking, then you may:
- Have to spend up to five years in state prison
- Pay a fine of up to $1,000
- Go on formal probation
If you have a previous stalking conviction or you were violating a protective order, then the charges could be more severe. In addition, if you used a weapon or physically harmed the victim, then you could face more serious charges.
When determining the charges, a prosecutor will weigh factors like where the stalking took place and if you were involved in a domestic violence case as well.
One thing you should note is if you are charged with stalking, it’s never a good idea to contact your alleged victim, even if you are completely innocent. This could lead to worse penalties. Instead, only discuss your case with your Oakland criminal defense attorney.
Defenses to Stalking
Rest assured: you can absolutely defend yourself against stalking charges with the help of an Oakland criminal defense attorney. You’ll work together to decide which defense you’re going to utilize in your case.
For example, the prosecutor may not have enough evidence to convict you, especially if it’s your word against your alleged victim’s. Also, the alleged victim might be lying in order to get back at you for something.
Perhaps the alleged victim misinterpreted your actions. They may have been paranoid and thought you were threatening them, when in reality you were simply contacting them or maybe even making a joke. You didn’t have any intention of causing them to become fearful.
If there is a protective order against you, you may have happened to be in the same place at the same time as your alleged victim multiple times because you live in the same neighborhood. You did not intend to stalk them or cause harm to them.
There may be a case of mistaken identity, too. An alleged victim could have mixed you up with somebody else.
Maybe what you were doing was a constitutionally protected activity, such as freedom of speech or assembly. You couldn’t be convicted of stalking if you can prove that you had the right to be somewhere or do something under the law.
Contact Oakland Criminal Defense Attorney Elliot Silver
Have you been charged with stalking? To defend yourself against these charges, it’s crucial to find an attorney who will fight for you in your time of need.
If you’re seeking representation for child endangerment charges now, reach out to Oakland criminal defense attorney Elliot Silver today at (510) 995-0000 or by emailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule your free consultation. We look forward to hearing from you.