Avoid Stalking and Harassment Charges
When a relationship ends unexpectedly, it is natural to want to find closure. The closure may come from a variety of sources such as a long conversation about what went wrong or seeing your ex with someone else. When you fail to receive the closure necessary to move on, life often becomes full of turmoil and answerless questions. Many pursue communication long beyond what is acceptable by the opposing party in search of relief, leading to stalking and harassment charges if left unchecked.
Explanation of Charges
Although a phone call is permissible and perhaps a visit under the right circumstances, if someone asks you to cease your behavior, it is important to respect their requests. Over time, the object of your affection may be willing to discuss in detail what went wrong. Failing to give them the time, distance, and respect they need can cause fear for their safety and that of their children. Depending on the circumstances, stalking or harassment charges may ensue. The differences between the two charges are:
- Stalking: A repetitive, ongoing, and unwanted behavior. The behavior can be frequent communication, sending presents, spreading rumors, making threats, damaging property, following, or obtaining an exorbitant amount of information.
- Harassment: Systematic, unwanted, and annoying behavior to a person or a group, including threats and demands. These actions can include racial prejudice, malice, attempting to force sexual favors, collecting a bill, or gaining pleasure for making others anxious. The behavior can be verbal, emotional, or physical and occurs mostly on public property.
Each conviction receives punishment based on the frequency and severity of the behavior. The consequences are defined as follows:
- Stalking: Stalking, dependant on the number of defenses, breaks into misdemeanor or felony charges. The least severe is third-degree stalking which is a class B misdemeanor and punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.00. If the behavior persists, felony charges may follow, which is a class D felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000.00 fine.
- Harassment: As harassment includes a broad array of behaviors, punishments vary extensively with the inclusion of other supporting evidence. On the least severe side of the spectrum, a class C misdemeanor is punishable by 90 days in jail, a $500.00 fine, and probation. If harassment occurs while a protective order is active, the behavior becomes a class X felony which has consequences of up to five years in prison and $5,000.00 in fines.
Pertinent information often remains omitted by alleged victims in police reports. Emotions run high with both parties, increasing the likelihood of an emotionally driven statement, one that fails to explain that the visit was by invitation or no threats were made during the argument. Perhaps the story was fabricated based on jealousy, anger, or spite. If you are accused of stalking or harassment, it is important to retain legal counsel as soon as possible. If you are interested in discussing your situation with a Fairfield County, CT criminal defense attorney, contact the Law Offices of Daniel P. Weiner today at 203-348-5846 to take advantage of your risk-free initial consultation.