When faced with a criminal charge, the manner in which you choose to address it will likely depend on the exact allegations made against you. Because each state often views various crimes differently, having as much information as possible on your predicament could make a substantial difference in how you choose to defend against the charges.
For any criminal allegation, you have the right to a fair trial and to have the chance to defend yourself. Though it can seem intimidating and as if everyone is against you, you may want to remember that putting your best efforts forward and gaining the right help could allow you to handle your case in an effective manner. If you face an accusation of stalking and police in New York have taken you into custody, you may want to start by gaining information on this charge.
What is stalking?
The accusations and charges brought against you may have come as a surprise. In fact, you may not even fully understand how a stalking charge could apply to your situation. When it comes to state laws regarding stalking, the act comprises of someone intentionally engaging in certain acts without a legitimate purpose that cause the following outcomes:
- Reasonable fear of material harm to a person or the person's family
- Reasonable fear that a threat exists against the person's business or employment
- Material harm to the emotional or mental health of a person or to someone in the person's immediate family
The degree of the charge can also vary. Under the aforementioned circumstances, a fourth-degree misdemeanor charge may apply. However, a third-degree charge could come about if the case involves three or more victims. or if reasonable fear of physical harm existed.
Additionally, a second-degree charge could apply if a weapon is involved, a second conviction occurs within five years, or if a victim is 14 years old or younger and you, as the accused, are 21 or older. A first-degree felony charge may apply if the elements of a third- or second-degree crime exist as well as intentional or reckless physical harm to a person.
Can you create a defense?
As mentioned, you can defend against any criminal allegation brought against you. In cases of stalking charges, you may want to gain information on the exact nature of the allegations brought against you as well as your available legal options. Consulting with an experienced attorney could help you with this endeavor.