Ridgefield Stalking Lawyer
Ridgefield, Connecticut police and prosecutors are bringing charging for stalking more frequently these days. That could be due to increased attention being paid to domestic violence cases or the growth of online dating sites and relationships emerging (and falling apart) on social media.
Working with distinguished defense attorneys who are familiar with Connecticut stalking laws provides a tremendous advantage. A Ridgefield stalking lawyer can help evaluate your defense options, provide advice to avoid making mistakes, and serve as your advocate throughout the Danbury criminal court process to help you reach an optimum outcome.
Lawmakers in Connecticut have defined three general versions of the crime of stalking. While two versions are misdemeanors, one is a felony. These crimes include a variety of scenarios. Because the laws are so broadly written, it is critical to consult with a Ridgefield, Connecticut criminal lawyer as soon as possible.
Understanding Third-Degree Stalking
Third-degree stalking is the least serious version of stalking in Ridgefield, Connecticut. Section 53a-181e of the state criminal code defines this crime as repeatedly following another person or lying in wait for another and causing that person to fear for their safety.
When this repeated, willful pattern of following is undertaken without regard for the likelihood that such behavior might inspire fear in another, then the pattern of conduct can be treated as stalking in the third degree. This offense is a Class B misdemeanor and is punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
Defining Deliberate Intent
Ridgefield stalking lawyers know that second-degree stalking is committed when an individual repeatedly follows another with the deliberate intent to cause that person to fear for their safety. The crucial elements of this crime include an intent to cause fear and, that the actions create a reasonable fear of the individual being followed. This offense is codified in §53a-181d of the Connecticut code. It is treated as a Class A misdemeanor and is therefore punishable by incarceration for up to one year and a fine of as much as $2,000.
What is a Pattern of Stalking?
In Ridgefield, the most serious stalking crime is first-degree stalking, which is defined in §53a-181c of the Connecticut code. This definition builds on the description of second-degree stalking. In essence, if an individual commits a pattern of action that would otherwise constitute stalking in the second degree, the crime will escalate to first-degree stalking if certain factors are present.
The crime becomes the Class D felony stalking in the first degree if:
- The individual involved has a prior conviction for second-degree stalking
- The individual’s conduct violated a court order
- The individual is found to have been stalking someone under the age of 16
In addition to the other consequences of a felony conviction, the penalties include a maximum prison sentence of five years and a fine of up to $5,000.
Consulting a Ridgefield Stalking Attorney
In cases where the definition of a crime is so broad as to include a vast range of circumstances, it is vital to work with Ridgefield, Connecticut criminal law firm with experience and knowledge of how courts have ruled in situations similar to yours. A Ridgefield stalking lawyer can help you build a strong defense strategy.