New York Stalking Crimes

New York Stalking crimes are as frightening to a victim or complainant as they are life altering to an accused. Whether the crime you are arrested for involves Fourth Degree, Third Degree, Second Degree of First Degree Stalking, a conviction for any New York Stalking offense involves a very real risk of incarceration. Even assuming a judge does not put you in jail or sentence you to prison, you should expect that even with your criminal lawyers best efforts, prosecutors will seek and judges will grant orders of protection. In the event that that Stalking arrest or conviction is considered a Domestic Violence Crime, then many other collateral issues will come into play. At bottom, while an arrest for an offense is not the same as guilt, it is critical that you and your criminal defense attorney take these allegations and charges seriously.

New York Stalking Crimes: The Basics

New York Stalking offenses may or may not involve other crimes. For example, in addition to a charge for Second Degree Stalking, NY PL 120.55, you may also be prosecuted for a degree of Menacing or Criminal Possession of a Weapon. In fact, Stalking may or may not be the top offense on a criminal court complaint or indictment. That said, depending on the degree of Stalking you are accused of or convicted for, courts can sentence you to as much as 90 days in jail on the lowest level offense to as much as seven years in prison on the highest degree.

Irrespective of the Stalking degree you face, one of the common elements of Stalking crimes in New York is that you, the accused, have been or currently are engaged in a course of conduct directed at another person. Put that person in fear for their safety, material harm, serious physical injury or death? Brandish a weapon or dangerous instrument? Have a criminal record for certain specified offenses? All of these factors can potentially elevate not merely the degree of Stalking, but the associated sentence and punishment.

New York Stalking Crimes: Domestic v. Non-Familial

Without going into all the details, a Stalking arrest in New York can involve an alleged scorned lover or obsessed former intimate partner irrespective of age or gender. Similarly, an accused stalker could be pursuing a celebrity or other person in the public eye. Obviously the nature or dynamic of the relationship, or lack thereof, differ, but the elements of the Stalking offense remains the same. What is worthy to note, however, is that because the crime of Stalking also violates the Family Court Act, a stalking victim can pursue an order of protection or restraining order in Family Court as opposed to seeking a remedy within the criminal justice system. Not mutually exclusive, both an accuser and accused can find themselves before a Family Court and Criminal Court should a complainant or petitioner wish to do so.

Regardless of the relationship between an alleged stalker and stalkee, know that it’s very likely that upon arrest and arraignment the accused will find him or herself before a judge who often will set bail and always issue an order of protection. Even assuming you post bail or none is set, be smart. Any continuation of stalking-type behavior, harassment, or contact in any capacity could lead to either misdemeanor or felony arrest for Criminal Contempt in the Second or First Degree respectively.

New York Stalking Crimes: Protecting Yourself

At bottom, merely because you have not gotten over a damaged or terminated relationship or you have become a zealous fan of a celebrity, does not mean you have committed a crime. Might you have crossed the line or committed a stupid, but non-criminal act? Certainly. Might the target of your affection have a limited tolerance for your perceived wrongful behaviors? Sure. Whatever circumstance you find yourself in, know that you have rights.

Don’t let a New York Stalking arrest derail your career, embarrass you or your family or land you on the front page of the tabloids. Be smart. Protect yourself. Secure the right criminal defense counsel. Put yourself in the best position to resolve the allegations against you in the most appropriate manner. If you are the victim of an actual or perceived stalker, don’t wait until your life is on the line or your loved ones are in danger. Take the proactive steps to facilitate the end of your victimization.

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

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