Third Degree Stalking: NY Penal Law 120.50

It happens to celebrities – basketball players, actresses, singers. It happens in the domestic context – wives, husbands, former girlfriends. And make no mistake. It can happen to you or you could be the person wrongfully accused. However it may occur and by whatever means the criminal law is violated, New York Stalking crimes are vigorously investigated and 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. Secure the right criminal defense lawyer experienced in New York Stalking laws to either vindicate you, present your best defense or minimize your criminal exposure is not merely the best route, but only one to protect your future.

Third Degree Stalking: Understanding the Law

The foundation of all New York Stalking crimes is rooted in Fourth Degree Stalking, New York Penal Law 120.45. Often a lesser offense with additional or enhanced acts or elements making up the more serious level crime, a command of Fourth Degree Stalking is critical. 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 Stalking in the Fourth 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. As routinely noted, if your ultimate finding of guilt is in New York City, then the jail is Rikers Island. If this conviction is in the Hudson Valley, then your time in custody would be out a county jail.

Third Degree Stalking: Direct and Collateral Issues

It is fair to say that perception is reality, aka, an accusation of any Stalking crime in New York is routinely perceived as guilt of the same. That said, there are very real consequences even if you ultimately exonerate yourself with the counsel of a criminal defense attorney. 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 to further your embarrassment and the humiliation of your family and employer? Certainly.

Beyond the crushing disgrace of a Stalking arrest, issues involving bail, Orders of Protection and incarceration, even assuming you escape these pitfalls unscathed, will persist. Simply, your criminal defense lawyer must adeptly navigate you through the process if your professional license or certification in the medical profession, as a lawyer or in the financial sector, such as through FINRA or FDIC, are not compromised. If you are a legal resident on a visa or the holder of a green card, you could also find your immigration status in a very unfavorable place.

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 as your shield and sword to protect you and your family from a Stalking accusation in New York City, the Hudson Valley or wherever you need our service.

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

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