It is illegal under state law to intimidate another person by repeatedly attempting to contact them without their consent. An individual who engages in this behavior could be charged with stalking and may face severe legal repercussions depending on the circumstances of their case. If you are accused of this criminal offense, you may benefit from enlisting legal representation. A DeKalb County stalking lawyer could help you contest your charges while preserving your best interests.
Stalking charges arise when a person is accused of following someone else, placing them under surveillance, or contacting them without their consent, in order to harass or intimidate them. The unwanted contact can take the form of in-person, electronic, or telephone communication.
This is often a difficult crime to charge, unless there was a previous legal matter that could prove the complainant had specifically stated they did not wish to be contacted by the accused individual. When an individual violates a court order such as a restraining order, protective order, or condition of bond, probation, or parole, they could face aggravated stalking charges, which carry more severe consequences.
Like many person-on-person crimes, stalking involves an element of ambiguity, which could allow an experienced lawyer in DeKalb County to prepare a defense that targets holes in the prosecution’s evidence.
Stalking is generally a misdemeanor, but it can be elevated to a felony if it is the accused person’s second or subsequent offense.
In the first instance of stalking, a convicted person would face up to one year in prison. In many of these cases, they can become eligible for probation, which would allow them to avoid incarceration by completing community service, paying fines up to $1,000, and undergoing psychological treatment, such as domestic violence or anger management classes. These court-ordered measures can give them the tools they need to stop their dangerous behavior and rejoin their communities.
Upon a second or subsequent conviction for stalking in DeKalb County, however, the defendant will be charged as a felon and could face up to 10 years in prison. A full 10-year sentence is rare, but it can happen in more extreme cases, such as when there have been repeated instances with the same victim without the ability to control the conduct of the defendant. When this occurs, courts are often left with no choice but to sentence the maximum allowable amount under the law.
Representing oneself in any criminal matter is a bad idea, but this is especially true when it comes to an allegation-based crime such as stalking. There are no circumstances where you should speak directly to a police officer or a prosecutor when faced with possible stalking charges, as anything you say could easily be misinterpreted and used against you in court.
If you have been accused of stalking, you should hire a DeKalb County stalking lawyer who could help you fight against a conviction by thoroughly investigating the underlying allegation. Call today to schedule a consultation.