Second Degree Stalking: NY Penal Law 120.55

Stalking in the Second Degree, New York Penal Law 120.55, is the first or lowest felony Stalking offense above two lesser misdemeanor degrees and below a higher level crime. A class “E” felony, a conviction for Second Degree Stalking in New York not only carries the “regular” consequences of a permanent criminal record and the issuance of an order of protection or restraining order, but a sentence to as much as four years in a New York State prison. You, an accused, need not merely accept the guidance and advice of your criminal defense attorney about the ramifications and severity of a PL 120.55 arrest. Instead, you have the option of pursuing a different defensive tactic whether your arrest is in New York City or one of the many counties in the Hudson Valley. But know this. Should you proceed recklessly, you will only have yourself to blame when the worst potential outcome becomes your permanent reality.

Second Degree Stalking: Understanding the Criminal Law

Although probable cause does not equate to guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, these two legal standards all form part of the arrest through trial process of the criminal justice system in New York State. In order for the District Attorney to meet his or her burden in securing a conviction for NY PL 120.55, he or she must not merely have the same level of evidence necessary for the police to make an arrest, but to prove each and every element to a jury or judge.

You are guilty of Second Degree Stalking if you:

  • Commit the crime of Third Degree Stalking, New York Penal Law 120.50(3), and in the furtherance of this crime you display or possess and threaten the use of a firearm, imitation pistol, dangerous instrument or dangerous weapon, dangerous knife or a litany of other types of objects. Even if you do not threaten the use of the above instruments, if you display what appears to be a pistol, revolver or other firearm it is sufficient; or
  • Commit the crime of Third Degree Staking, New York Penal Law 120.50, and you previously were convicted of certain specified crimes, such as Third Degree Assault, New York Penal Law 120.00, within the preceding five years, against the person you are currently accused of Stalking or their immediate family member; or
  • Commit the crime of Fourth Degree Stalking, New York Penal Law 120.45, and you have previously been convicted of Third Degree Stalking, New York Penal Law 120.50(3); or
  • Repeatedly follow a person under the age of fourteen or engage in a course of conduct towards them with the intent to cause them a reasonable fear of physical injury, serious physical injury or death. Moreover, you, the accused, must be twenty-one years of age or older; or
  • Commit the crime of Third Degree Staking, New York Penal Law 120.50(3), against ten or more people in ten or more incidents.

If the above elements and consequences of Second Degree Stalking are not clear, and they very well may not be, make sure you consult with your criminal attorney to ensure a full understanding of this crime before you find yourself on the wrong end of a judge’s sentence.

Might there be a misunderstanding or a reasonable explanation? Could you have a defense based in either law or fact? If the evidence is strong or overwhelming, can you mitigate your conduct? The answer to each of these questions is dependent not solely on the criminal attorney you retain, but when you do so, how you assist in your own defense and take the time to both identify and implement the strongest viable defense.

Be smart. Be proactive. Let the New York criminal lawyers and former Manhattan prosecutors at Crotty Saland PC use their experience, advocacy and knowledge of the law to put you in the right place to preserve your life today and ever tomorrow you encounter. Whether you are accused of a Stalking crime or facing trial for the same or you are a victim of someone else’s relentless harassment, know that from New York City and the Hudson Valley to municipalities throughout the State of New York, Crotty Saland PC has the ability to put you in the right place you need to be.

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

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