Third Degree Stalking

It happens to celebrities – basketball players, actresses, singers. It happens in the domestic context – wives, husbands, former girlfriends. However it may occur and by whatever means the criminal law is violated, New York Stalking crimes are vigorously investigated and equally severely punished by law enforcement from the police to District Attorneys. Have no misgivings. If you are charged with any degree of Stalking in New York, including Third Degree Stalking pursuant to New York Penal Law 120.50, prepare yourself for a potentially long legal battle in the criminal courts and secure the right criminal defense lawyer to either vindicate you, present your best defense or minimize your criminal exposure.

Third Degree Stalking: Understanding the Law

The foundation of all New York Stalking crimes is rooted in one of the Stalking offenses including Fourth Degree Stalking, New York Penal Law 120.45. Often, a lesser offense with additional or enhanced acts or elements makes up the more serious level crime. As such, if you commit the crime of Fourth Degree Stalking, and you perpetrate any one of the following, then the police will arrest you for and prosecutors will charge you with New York Penal Law 120.50, Third Degree Stalking. These additional factors include:

  • You stalk three or more people in three or more separate transactions and you have not been convicted for any of these acts; or
  • You have previously been convicted in the preceding ten years of certain predicate crimes including, but not limited to, Third Degree Assault, Second Degree Aggravated Harassment, Endangering the Welfare of a Child, or any statutorily defined “violent crime” pursuant to New York Criminal Procedure Law 70.02. Further the victim of this predicate crime is also the victim or immediate family member of the current offense; or
  • You have the intent to harass or annoy a particular person and you intentionally engage in a course of conduct in doing so. As a result of this conduct you must cause your target a reasonable fear that he or she will sustain a physical or serious physical injury. Alternatively, whether not it occurs, your actions must cause a reasonable fear in this person that they will be kidnapped, unlawfully imprisoned, killed or be the victim of a sexual offense. This reasonable fear extends not just to your target, but a member of their immediate family; or
  • You commit solely the crime of Fourth Degree Stalking and you were convicted of the same within the preceding ten years regardless of whomever the victim was in that case.

Assuming the prosecution can prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt, you are convicted at trial or you take a plea to NY PL 120.50, you will have a permanent class “A” misdemeanor on your criminal record and face up to one year in jail.

Third Degree Stalking: Direct and Collateral Issues

Outside of the frightening reality that perception is reality, aka, an accusation of any Stalking crime in New York is guilt of the same, there are very real consequences even if you ultimately exonerate yourself. Will prosecutors ask for bail? More than likely. Will judges grant full orders of protection or restraining orders? No doubt. Could the media pick up on the arrest and pending criminal case? Certainly.

Beyond this crushing humiliation of a Stalking arrest, the issues surrounding bail, orders of protection and incarceration, even assuming you escape these pitfalls unscathed and your criminal defense lawyer navigates you through the process, if you are licensed or certified in the medical profession, as a lawyer or in the financial sector, such as through FINRA or FDIC, you could jeopardize your career and livelihood. If you are a legal resident on a visa or the holder of a green card, you could also find your immigration status compromised.

Protecting Yourself Now and in the Future

Make no mistake. You can protect your rights, your freedom from imprisonment, and your good name. No criminal attorney can promise or guarantee a particular disposition, but putting your defense into motion at the earliest possible time and preparing for bail, orders of protection and any allegations involving other criminal conduct can never begin too soon. Give yourself the tools to investigate and identify your best defense. Prepare yourself for whatever accusation may be hurled at you by either a genuine victim or a complainant who may have a nefarious and alternative agenda other than the truth. Let the New York criminal defense attorneys and former Manhattan prosecutors at Crotty Saland PC use their experience, knowledge and advocacy serve as your shield and sword to protect you and your family.

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

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