DeKalb County Stalking Lawyer
Everyone has the fundamental right to privacy, including to be free of unwanted contact from others. Stalking conduct, which can include following people, repeatedly texting, calling, or emailing others, or continually driving past their houses, is illegal under state law. Since the potential consequences of a stalking conviction can be severe, individuals charged with this offense may be wise to consult a DeKalb County stalking lawyer right away. Seeking the advice of a knowledgeable defense attorney when facing allegations of stalking may be advantageous.
Stalking in DeKalb County
The Official Code of Georgia § 16-5-90 defines stalking as following, watching, or contacting others without their consent to harass or intimidate them. This section further defines as harassment and intimidation as a persistent pattern of conduct with no legitimate purpose that is directed toward specific people to cause them emotional distress. To constitute harassment and intimidation, the conduct must also place the targeted persons in reasonable fear for their safety or the safety of their immediate family members.
Stalking may also occur when individuals publish pictures or identifying information of a specific person without consent. This conduct only rises to the level of stalking if they are subject to a court order prohibiting them from harassing and intimidating that person. The purpose of the publication of this information must be to cause others to engage in intentional harassment or threatening of the person.
Defining Aggravated Stalking
Aggravated stalking is a felony offense with potential harsh implications, including loss of civil rights, ineligibility for some careers, and other adverse collateral consequences. As a result, anyone charged with aggravated stalking may wish to consult a stalking lawyer in DeKalb County about their potential options.
Under O.C.G.A. § 16-5-91, aggravated stalking occurs when:
- People follow, place under surveillance, or contact another person without their consent to harass or intimidate them, and
- They are subject to a court order, either through a criminal or civil case, that prevents them from stalking that person
A conviction for aggravated stalking requires proof that the accused engaged in behaviors that qualify as a pattern of non-consensual harassment and intimidation. However, a conviction for aggravated stalking also depends upon whether the conduct violated an existing court order. For more information regarding any potential aggravated stalking allegations, be sure to reach out to a DeKalb County stalking lawyer as soon as possible.
Penalties for DeKalb County Stalking Offenses
Stalking is typically a misdemeanor under state law, which carries the potential for up to one year in jail and a fine of $1,000. However, if individuals have one or more previous stalking convictions, they would face felony stalking charges. The penalties for a felony stalking offense may include a prison sentence ranging from one to ten years.
Any stalking convictions could also result in the judge ordering the accused to undergo a mandatory psychological evaluation. A judge may also issue a protective order or a permanent restraining order to protect the alleged targets of the stalking, as well as their immediate family members. Finally, the judge may require the accused to undergo psychological treatment as a part of the sentence, a condition for the suspension or stay of the sentence, or a condition of probation.
An aggravated stalking conviction can result in a prison sentence ranging from one to ten years, as well as a fine of up to $10,000. The sentencing judge in an aggravated stalking case also has the discretion to order a psychological evaluation, psychological treatment, and permanent restraining order.
Ask a DeKalb County Stalking Attorney for Assistance Today
Law enforcement authorities and courts take stalking very seriously, which is why the penalties can be severe. Even a simple misunderstanding can quickly escalate into allegations of stalking. If someone is accusing you of stalking, you should not hesitate to contact a DeKalb County stalking lawyer for assistance.
The criminal penalties for a stalking conviction can include up to ten years in prisons and hefty fines. The presence of a permanent criminal record, which may be a felony conviction, can harm your ability to work and support yourself even after you serve your sentence. Therefore, getting legal advice and information that you need in this situation may be crucial.