What to Expect After You Have Been Arrested for Stalking in California

What to Expect After You Have Been Arrested for Stalking in CaliforniaThe phrase “stalking” has gained in popularity recently. For the thousands of victims throughout California, it is a positive thing that it is more easily recognized as a crime. However, it is also frequently abused to describe actions that a person may just not like. What is stalking, exactly, and what happens if you are accused of it?

Keep reading to get the answer to this question and to learn what could happen if you are accused of stalking. Contact Chambers Law Firm at 714-760-4088 to request a free legal consultation today.

Defining stalking

A person may be charged with stalking in California if they “willfully, deliberately, and frequently pursue or harass another person and who makes a credible threat with the intent to place that person in a reasonable fear for his or her safety, or the safety of his or her immediate family.” To put it another way, stalking entails:

  • Making a credible threat while willfully, deliberately, and continuously pursuing, harassing, or threatening another person with the goal to make them reasonably fear for their safety or the safety of their immediate family.
  • Stalking involves both following or bothering the victim AND posing a real threat with the aim of making them fear for their safety. If none of the requirements for stalking are completed, no crime has been committed.

What happens after an arrest for stalking

You will probably be detained and charged with a felony if you are charged with stalking. Depending on the specifics of the case and your criminal record, it may be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony.

Stalking as a misdemeanor carries a maximum $1,000 fine, a year in county jail, and/or probation. Stalking classified as a felony is punishable by probation, up to 5 years in state jail, and/or a $1,000 maximum fine. Stalking will always be treated as a felony offense if it violated a court-issued protective order or if you have previously been convicted of stalking. A victim of stalking may seek civil damages for losses they endured as a result of the stalking in addition to criminal consequences.

Defense options to a charge of stalking

An accusation of stalking may be legally defended in a number of ways. If there was no serious danger that would have made the claimed victim reasonably fear for their safety, a seasoned criminal defense attorney could make that case. A threat was not believable if it was uttered in jest or if it implied doing something impossible, such as shooting someone with a laser to make them grow larger. Similarly, if a “threat” was not intended to incite fear, that serves as a defense against a stalking allegation.

You will require the services of an outstanding criminal defense lawyer if you have been accused with stalking. A resource is Chambers Law Firm. For a free initial consultation, call us at 714-760-4088 or email dchambers@clfca.com right now.

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