Greenwich Stalking Lawyer
Although lots of people in Greenwich think of stalking as a crime that only involves celebrities being stalked by crazy fans, it is, in fact, an offense that occurs frequently among regular, everyday people, especially in connection with domestic violence arrests.
Stalking can be a very serious offense, particularly when a restraining order or a minor is involved. Even the least serious version of the crime carries the potential for a term of imprisonment and hefty fines. That is why it is critical to seek advice from a Greenwich stalking lawyer right away if you have been charged with this offense. A distinguished harassment attorney can work tirelessly to build your stalking defense.
Digital and Electronic Stalking on the Rise
Connecticut stalking laws have been revised in recent years to outlaw stalking situations involving electronic communications such as text messaging, as well as surveillance technology such as global positioning service devices. The typical rule of thumb is whether the GPS devices or electronic communications cause someone to reasonably fear for their physical safety, a sometimes subjective standard.
Different Degrees of Stalking Arrests
Section 53a-181d of the criminal code contains the baseline definition of stalking as a crime in Connecticut. Unlike most crimes in Greenwich which consist of a single act, the crime of stalking involves a course of conduct or a series of actions.
If these actions are undertaken with the deliberate intent to cause fear in another person, then the course of action can lead to an arrest in for stalking in the second-degree
If the actions cause fear but are made recklessly rather than with a specific intent to instill fear, then the crime may be considered the less serious offense, stalking in the third-degree. By contrast, if certain other circumstances are present, the offense may escalate to first-degree stalking, which is a felony in Connecticut. Regardless of the degree of the charges, a Greenwich stalking attorney can stand by an individual’s side, and defend their case.
Defining a Course of Conduct
Connecticut law defines a stalking course of conduct as at least two instances in which an individual either:
- Follows another individual
- Waits for another individual
- Monitors another individual
- Observes another individual
- Surveils another individual
- Threatens another individual
- Harasses another individual
- Communicates with another individual
- Sends unwelcome gifts to an individual
- Interferes with another person’s property
These actions may be undertaken directly by the individual charged or by a third party, and by any method, device or means. A qualified attorney in Greenwich could help to further explain what might constitute as stalking.
Penalties for Stalking Arrests
As a Greenwich stalking attorney could explain, the least serious stalking offenses, third-degree stalking and electronic stalking, are treated as Class B misdemeanors. As such they are punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
Second-degree stalking is classified as a Class A misdemeanor and the maximum sentence increases to one year of imprisonment and a $2,000 fine.
Stalking in the first-degree, which involves either a prior conviction, a violation of a court order, or causing fear in a minor, is considered a Class D felony. In addition to other consequences associated with felony convictions, the penalties include up to five years in prison and a fine as high as $5,000.
Work With a Greenwich Stalking Attorney
Because the definitions associated with each of the stalking offenses is very broad, law enforcement officials can charge this crime in a wide range of circumstances. A Greenwich stalking lawyer knows how the courts have applied these laws to different situations and what the best options are for you, based on the circumstances of your particular case. A seasoned attorney can also immediately file motions to preserve evidence vital to the case, devise the most effective defense strategy, and advocate on your behalf throughout the proceedings. Contact our firm today to learn more.