First Degree Stalking

While Stalking in the First Degree, New York Penal Law 120.60, is no doubt the worst of all New York’s Stalking crimes, have no misgivings. Any allegation, arrest or conviction for any Stalking offense found in the New York Penal Law is horrific. Period. Even without a finding of guilt against you, a judge will entertain a bail application by the Assistant District Attorney prosecuting your case and issue an order of protection or restraining order in favor of the complainant whether or not her or she is a family member or a celebrity. Magnifying matters, if the crime you face at your arraignment or in the Grand Jury is First Degree Stalking, not only will you face the same collateral issues associated with other Stalking laws, but if convicted your criminal record will be for a statutorily identified “violent crime.” In fact, PL 120.60 is a class “D” violent felony with a presumptive determinate sentence of two years to seven years in a New York State prison. Let this be your warning not to underestimate the magnitude of a Stalking arrest and the importance of retaining the best criminal defense attorney to defend your rights inside the courtroom and your life outside its four walls.

First Degree Stalking: Understanding New York Penal Law 120.60

Because each degree of Stalking has its own nuances and many of these higher-level offenses incorporate elements of lesser ones, it is critical to have a grasp on each Stalking crime. You are guilty of First Degree Stalking if you commit Third Degree Stalking, pursuant to New York Penal Law 120.50(3), or Second Degree Stalking, pursuant to New York Penal Law 120.55, and in the course of your conduct or furtherance of this crime you:

  • Intentionally or recklessly cause a physical injury to the victim or target of your actions; or
  • You commit certain sex offense related crimes set forth in Article 130 of the New York Penal Law

Because most people accused of crimes are not aware of the elements of the same even if they know what they are doing is “wrong,” its important to take a brief moment to have a basic understanding of some of the terms used above. “Physical injury” need not be a perforated spleen or crushed eye socket. Merely “substantial pain,” such an injury could be as insignificant as a bruised shoulder or painful cut that requires no medical attention. In other words, this “physical injury” threshold is easily breached. Additionally, because a class “A” misdemeanor in Article 130 of the New York Penal Law qualifies as a means to “bump” up a potential Second or Third Degree Stalking to a First Degree Stalking, its imperative to recognize that even a Forcible Touching crime that is neither rape nor sex abuse, is one of many offenses that violates this statute. What does that mean? Grab a woman’s breasts, a man’s buttocks or some other intimate part of their respective bodies without any penetration or other more violent act, you will run afoul of the criminal law for Stalking in the First Degree as well as other potentially Sex Offender Registration offenses.

First Degree Stalking: Your Defense

While the subtitle here is a little misleading, your defense is determined by the admissible evidence and the strength of the same. Can your criminal attorney poke holes in the prosecution’s case? Are there any recordings, independent witnesses or other corroborative evidence? How is your credibility should you decide to testify? Similarly, will the complainant’s integrity and word stand up? No, your defense is not on this webpage nor will reading this website provide you with an epiphany. Instead, arming yourself with knowledge and relying on the experience and advocacy of your criminal defense lawyer, you can put forth your strongest defense from mitigation to exoneration.

Don’t be shortsighted. Don’t rely on good fortune or luck. Compounding your precarious legal situation by fearful paralysis will not serve your greater good, but potentially leave you incarcerated for up to seven years. Defend yourself with the knowledge, experience and advocacy of the New York criminal lawyers and former Manhattan prosecutors at Crotty Saland PC.

Call our criminal lawyers and former Manhattan prosecutors at (212) 312-7129 or contact us online today.

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