Many people make fun of “stalking” others on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media networks, so its easy to not take stalking seriously. However, the state of California takes stalking behavior seriously. Very seriously. If you are convicted of stalking in California it could mean a felony. Aggravated stalking could result in a lengthy prison sentence. This excellent article, written by Dominic J. Lombardo, Attorney at Law, clarifies.
The State of California takes “stalking” behavior very seriously. In fact, a conviction for stalking in California could result in a lengthy prison sentence and a felony record, particularly if you are convicted of aggravated stalking in California. If you have been accused of aggravated stalking you should have the facts of your case evaluated by an experienced California criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. In the meantime, it may help to understand what the law considers to be illegal in California.
California Penal Code 646.9 is where the stalking laws can be found and states, in pertinent part, as follows:
“Any person who willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly follows or willfully and maliciously harasses another person and who makes a credible threat with the intent to place that person in reasonable fear for his or her safety, or the safety of his or her immediate family is guilty of the crime of stalking.”
Stalking is a “wobbler” in California, meaning it can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. Both your own criminal history and the specific facts and circumstances of the instant case will determine how a stalking offense is charged. Some factors, however, will automatically cause stalking to be charged as a felony, including:
Stalking that constitutes a violation of a court ordered protective order
You have previously been convicted of the offense of stalking – even if the alleged victim is not the same as in the previous case.
Stalking can be aggravated as well by several factors, including, but not limited to the following:
Causing great bodily harm to the alleged victim.
The use or presence of a weapon during the commission of the offense.
If you are convicted of aggravated stalking you could face up to five years in prison for the felony stalking charge plus an additional consecutive term of up to five years for the aggravating factor. It is important to understand that the aggravating factor adds an additional period of incarceration to your sentence.
This article is not intended to provide legal advice. For legal advice on any of the information in this post, please contact one of our attorneys. Browse our attorney profiles or contact us by phone: 805-452-7214.