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Understanding Stalking Allegations in California

 Posted on March 23, 2022 in Uncategorized

santa clara criminal defense lawyerThere are many different types of stalking. How a person defines stalking can vary from being uncomfortably followed to having their social media pages checked frequently. California law defines stalking as behavior that makes someone feel threatened and concerned for their safety. Stalking allegations should be taken seriously. If you are accused of stalking another person, it is in your best interest to gather all of the facts of your case and find a defense attorney who can advocate on your behalf.

What is Stalking?

According to California state law, stalking can be defined as any behavior where an individual intentionally engages with another person to make that person distressed or fear for their safety. In 2022, stalking can come in a variety of shapes and sizes. It can also be hard to decipher between online snooping and stalking. The legal requirements that characterize stalking include:

  • Surveilling another individual without justification on two or more occasions 

  • Threatening that individual with some harm (emotional, physical, or sexual)

  • Giving that individual reason to believe harm could occur 

Sometimes, it can be hard to determine the line between obsessive attention and stalking. The main difference is whether or not the individual feels directly threatened by the attention. For example, stalking may not include obsessive social media tracking out of curiosity. However, if a person is obsessively stalking a social media page after making a direct or indirect threat to that individual, the social media tracking could be considered stalking. 

What are the Legal Consequences of Stalking?

There are a few factors that determine the legal consequences of stalking. A sentence can depend upon past allegations and charges. A first-time stalking offense is punishable with up to one year in jail and a maximum $1,000 fine. If a victim filed a stalking charge after a restraining order or other protective order was in place, stalking is punishable with two, three, or four years in jail. Any combination of other offenses committed during the stalking, such as breaking and entering, may be factored into a sentence. In California, threatening another individual is referred to as a “wobbler” offense meaning the court can decide if it is charged as a misdemeanor or felony. Any felony charge is considered a strike against California’s three-strike law. A second offense can double your sentence, and a third subsequent felony charge can lead to nearly 25 years in prison. 

If you have been accused of stalking, take these charges seriously. Stalking can lead to jail time and other legal penalties. Hiring an experienced lawyer can help defend against stalking charges, especially considering the variety of charges that can come from a threat. A lawyer may be able to:

  • Prove that you did not have malicious or harmful intent on the victim

  • Explain that the victim is misrepresenting the facts in your case

  • Advocate that someone coerced you into stalking the victim

Speak to a Santa Clara County Defense Lawyer Today

At Fuller Law Firm, Santa Clara County defense attorney Cory Fuller has experience defending individuals against stalking allegations. With years of experience, our office can help you understand your case and the consequences you could be up against. Please call 408-234-7563 to schedule a free consultation with our office.




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