Harassment and stalking are serious charges that can result from difficult personal situations. The stakes can be high, and it can be difficult to be treated fairly without an experience criminal defense lawyer fighting for your and representing your position.
Stalking is a relatively new crime. In the late 1980s and early 1990s several high profile cases in California had the country on its toes. Beginning in California in 1990 states began passing legislation specifically targeted to this “new” offense.
North Carolina passed stalking legislation in 1991 and in an effort to protect victims from potential harm, the state very proactive in catching and prosecuting alleged stalkers. As with any offense, however, sometimes the wrong people are targeted.
Stalking can be an offense wrought with high emotions. More than likely you know the person you are accused of stalking and more than likely, you wouldn’t consider your actions to be harmful in anyway. You may be right.
There are two sides to every story and we are interested in hearing yours. Having defended stalking cases before, we know the route they typically take in the North Carolina Courts. Our defense attorneys are here to ensure your rights are protected at each turn.
What is the Difference Between Harassment and Stalking Under North Carolina Law?
It is vital to understand how “harassment” and “stalking” are defined in North Carolina law when discussing stalking charges.
Harassment is conduct that is directed at another person that torments, terrorizes or terrifies them and serves no legitimate purpose. This conduct can be written or printed, over the telephone, internet, pager, voice mail, answering machine, or any other similar methods.
Stalking is willfully following, being in the presence of, or otherwise harassing another person without purpose on more than one occasion and with the intent to do one of the following:
1) Place them in fear of their safety or safety of their family or associates,
2) Cause them to suffer emotional distress by putting them in fear of death, injury, or continued harassment that puts them in distress.
Stalking / Harassment Penalties
Typically, for a first offense, you will be charged with a Class A1 misdemeanor, the most serious of all misdemeanors. Class A1 misdemeanors are punishable by up to one year in prison and substantial fines.
However, if there is a protection order in place when the offense is committed, the charge is elevated to a Class H felony. Class H felonies are punishable by 4-8 months in a state prison for someone with no criminal history. If there is a protective order in place though, chances are your criminal record is not spotless and the sentence could be elevated to as much as 25 months in the most extreme cases.
Free NC Defense Consultation – Get The Legal Help You Need
When you are accused of trying to harm someone you care about or know, you may start to question the criminal justice system and your chance at a fair trial. We can help ensure your rights are protected and work to get you the most positive results in court.
To get a clear idea of what kind of sentence you may be facing or if there is a chance you can serve probation instead of incarceration, we need to hear about your case. Call today for a consultation on your North Carolina stalking charge.