First Degree Stalking: NY Penal Law 120.60

Mandating a potential “all hands on deck” approach and the implementation of the best defense by your lawyer, Stalking in the First Degree, Penal Law 120.60, is no doubt the most frightening and damaging of New York Stalking laws. Even without a finding of guilt, 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 fact, judges will routinely take both of these actions irrespective of whether the arrest involves Domestic Violence or the complainant is a celebrity or a relative stranger. Magnifying matters, if the crime you face at your arraignment or in the Grand Jury is this First Degree offense, not only will you face the same collateral issues associated with the lesser crimes, but a conviction is a statutorily identified “violent felony.”

Simply, do not to underestimate the magnitude of an arrest for this this offense and recognize the importance of retaining the best criminal defense attorney to defend your rights inside the courtroom and your life outside its four walls.

Definitions and Elements

NY Penal Law 120.60 is a class “D” violent felony punishable by quite an extensive term of incarceration as addressed further below. Setting aside the penalties and punishment, you are guilty of this offense if you commit Third Degree Stalking, pursuant to Penal Law 120.50(3), or Second Degree Stalking, pursuant to 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 you commit certain sex offenses set forth in Article 130 of the Penal Law.

“Physical injury” need not be a damaged organ or broken bone. Merely having “substantial pain,” is generally sufficient, as is relatively minor bruising or redness.

Penalties and Punishment

The penalties for First Degree charges can be severe. The presumptive sentence is a determinate two years up to seven years in prison. Other possible consequences include five years of supervision by the Department of Probation, a “split” sentence involving jail and probation, mental health treatment, community service, restitution, and other conditions.

Example and Hypothetical Scenario

Perhaps the easiest to understand, if you, the alleged stalker, injure the alleged target of your acts – even if the injury was accidental and merely reckless – then you will be facing this most serious charge. A classic example of this is where the complainant realizes he or she is being followed or stalked and while trying to confront you or get away, a physical struggle ensues resulting in lacerations, abrasions, bruising or some other injury.

Related Offenses and Collateral Issues

Stalking can be the sole charge on a felony complaint or indictment, but it is not atypical to see it alongside other allegations including Assault, Menacing, Aggravated Harassment and other offenses defined as “violent felonies” or merely violent in their general perception.

Your Case, Your Defense, Your Future

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 counsel, 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. Whatever the circumstance may be, whether you are accused of these acts or you are a victim of Stalking and Harassment, no matter how early or late in the legal process you are or whether law enforcement is engaged at all, contact the criminal lawyers and former Manhattan prosecutors at Crotty Saland PC. From New York City and the Hudson Valley to elsewhere in the State of New York, there is no substitute for advocacy, knowledge and experience.

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

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