Criminal Defense Lawyer San Francisco CA
Being enthusiastic in pursuit of romantic relationships and lavishing attention on a particular person may seem harmless, but it can get you into some serious trouble. Stalking is a serious crime in California. Without an experienced criminal defense lawyer San Francisco CA clients trust on your side, even otherwise minor actions on your part could result in heavy penalties. It is also important to be aware that stalking does not have to involve a romantic partner or someone of the opposite sex. You can be found guilty of stalking for ‘trolling’ people online or in person, particularly if the behavior involves threats and occurs despite their attempts to limit contact.
When Stalking Becomes an Issue
Under the California Penal Code, stalking is a crime that involves willingly, maliciously, and repeatedly following someone or engaging in other behavior which harasses a person and makes them fear for their safety or that of family and friends.
Often associated with thwarted romances and unrequited love, stalking charges often stem out of unwanted calls, letters, and emails, unsolicited gifts, and following or ‘spying’ on another person at their home, work, or school. Stalking can arise in the following situations:
- When you meet someone new, either in person or after seeing them online, on television, or by some other means, and become overly enthusiastic about either connecting with them or the role you want them to play in your life.
- In a relationship, when you become possessive, jealous, or obsessive about your partner, monitoring their communications and activities, or showing up in expected places.
- After a breakup, when you may be feeling resentful and resistant to the idea of letting go or bitter over the relationship or how it ended.
In addition to romantic relationships, stalking can also arise out of online activities. ‘trolling’ people on social media, hounding them in online forums, hacking into their accounts, or paying others to find information about them can result in stalking charges, leaving you to face serious criminal penalties.
Potential Penalties for Stalking
In California, stalking is considered a ‘wobbler’ crime, meaning it can be classified as either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the circumstances involved in the case. As a misdemeanor, you could be facing fines of up to $1,000 and up to a year jail sentence.
If there are aggravating factors that result in felony charges, you could be facing up to five years in prison, while being required to register under the California Sex Offenders Registry. In addition to your criminal charges, you could also be liable for damages in civil actions filed by the alleged victim, regardless of whether you were actually convicted.
Let Us Help You with Your Case
If you face stalking accusations or have been charged with a crime, the Hallinan Law Firm is here to provide the aggressive legal representation you need. Call our office today to request a free and confidential consultation with a skilled San Francisco CA criminal defense lawyer.