Norwalk Stalking Lawyer
Guidance from a Norwalk stalking lawyer can prove very valuable in fighting the charges and avoiding additional complications. Top criminal defense lawyers can work to help you reach a favorable courtroom outcome.
What Constitutes Stalking in the First Degree?
Many people in Norwalk are surprised to learn that stalking can be penalized as a felony even though the offense does not involve a specific intent to cause any physical harm. First-degree stalking is a Class D felony punishable by up to five years of imprisonment. The court can also impose a fine as high as $5,000.
A basic stalking offense is treated as stalking in the first degree if the person charged is acting in violation of a protective order or has a prior conviction for a similar offense. Stalking can also be prosecuted as a felony if the person targeted is less than 16-years-old.
What Warrants a Second-Degree Stalking Charge?
According to Connecticut General Statutes (C.G.S.) §53a-181d, to commit stalking in the second degree, a Class A misdemeanor, you must engage in a “course of conduct” consisting of two or more acts. The actions that can be treated as stalking are not specifically defined, but the statute gives the following as examples:
- Lying in wait
- Observing or surveilling
- Sending unwanted presents
What If I Didn’t Mean to Stalk Someone?
To be convicted of stalking, the conduct must be committed “knowingly”. Therefore, a stalking lawyer in Norwalk may be able to defend against charges by showing that acts alleged as stalking were coincidental or undertaken for a specific, unrelated purpose. The conduct also must be such that it would cause a reasonable person to fear for their safety, the safety of another, or feel that their career or business was in jeopardy. Those convicted face up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,000.
How Serious Is Stalking in the Third Degree?
Third-degree stalking is defined with more specificity than second-degree stalking. To be found guilty under C.G.S. §53a-181e, an individual must recklessly cause someone to reasonably fear for their safety or suffer emotional distress.
Actions that can be treated as third-degree stalking include lying in wait for someone or following someone. These acts must be willful and repeated. A Norwalk stalking attorney may be able to show that acts were undertaken negligently rather than recklessly and therefore do not constitute a violation.
This Class B Misdemeanor carries the potential for 6 months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
Can Someone Commit Stalking Electronically?
An offense similar to third-degree stalking is electronic stalking, which involves the use of GPS to willfully and repeatedly track someone’s movement. This crime is also a Class B misdemeanor and carries the same potential penalties.
Work with a Norwalk Stalking Attorney
Working with an experienced Norwalk stalking lawyer after learning of a stalking charge can help avoid a criminal record. A defense lawyer can work to protect your rights throughout the process and help you achieve a positive outcome. Call today to find out more about the advantages a stalking defense attorney at Mark Sherman Law can provide in your unique circumstances.