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Will I Go to Jail for Stalking in New York?

In movies, stalking is often depicted as a creepy man following you for blocks, sending cryptic messages, or making unsettling phone calls. Unfortunately, all of these things can be a reality for some. Stalking is a serious crime in New York and the penalties can be harsh. Contact a Rockland County criminal defense attorney for more information and skilled representation.

Is Stalking a Crime?

Yes, stalking is a crime in New York. State law recognizes four different degrees each with varying definitions. They are outlined below.

Fourth-degree stalking is defined as causing reasonable fear of harm toward a person or their loved ones, causing harm to a person’s mental or emotional state or that of their loved ones, or causing reasonable fear that a person’s business or employment could be harmed.

Third-degree stalking has the same definition as above but relates to stalking three or more people and/or committing fourth-degree stalking within 10 years of being convicted of the same crime.

Second-degree stalking can occur when a weapon is used, the victim is under the age of 14 while the offender is over the age of 21, if it is the defendant’s second conviction within 5 years, or if they were following ten or more people.

First-degree stalking is the most serious kind and occurs when a person commits second or third-degree stalking and causes actual physical or sexual harm to the victim.

What Are the Penalties for Stalking?

It has been established that there are four degrees of stalking recognized by New York state law. Each degree of conviction will be accompanied by varying penalties and consequences. The extent of your sentence depends on the details of your case, but the following are general penalties for each crime.

Fourth degree:

  • Up to $500 in fines
  • 3 months of imprisonment

Third degree:

  • Up to $1,000 in fines
  • 1 year of imprisonment

Second degree:

  • Up to $5,000 in fines
  • 4 years of imprisonment

First degree:

  • Up to $5,000 in fines
  • 7 years of imprisonment

Should I Hire a Lawyer?

If you are arrested for stalking charges in New York, the first thing you should do is obtain the services of a skilled lawyer. As stated, the associated penalties can be severe. To avoid the full extent of sentencing, work with an attorney who has experience in similar situations.

Your lawyer will evaluate the details of your case to assess your chances of success. They will aid you in navigating the legal process and ensure your rights are protected every step of the way. Depending on your circumstances there may be one or more defensive strategies that you can implement to help get your charges reduced or even dismissed. Your attorney will be your biggest advocate, communicate with all necessary parties, gather and organize evidence, and represent you in a court of law using an effective defense. Contact an experienced lawyer today to begin building your case.

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