Individuals who are repeatedly followed or threatened may be the victims of stalking in California. The state’s court system considers this a criminal act that can be prosecuted under California Penal Code Section 646.9: Stalking.
You can increase your understanding of stalking with the Simmrin Law Group. Use this article to consider the following:
- The Definition of Stalking.
- Penalties for a PC 646.8 Conviction.
- Possible Defenses for Stalking Accusations.
Defining the Act of Stalking in California
Penal Code Section 646.9 provides the definition of stalking used in the state of California. According to this legal code, individuals can be charged with stalking if they maliciously and willfully:
- Follow Another Person Repeatedly OR
- Harass Another Person in Addition To
- Making a Credible Threat Intended to Generate Reasonable Fear
- About the Person’s Safety the Safety of the Person’s Immediate Family
Let’s focus on the definitions of some of the legal terms used in PC 646.9 and how they impact the charge of stalking in your case.
An individual engages in harassing behavior when they willfully and knowingly act in a way that will seriously alarm, annoy, torment, or terrorize a person. Harassing behavior in California does not have a legitimate purpose.
Defining Credible Threats
A credible threat in California may be verbal or written. Threats can also be delivered through electronic means. Threats can even be implied by past conduct.
Any threat can be considered credible if an individual has the means to carry it out. A criminal defense lawyer at the Simmrin Law Group can determine whether or not you had the means to carry out a threat, which can make or break the prosecutor’s case against you.
Considering Charges Like Stalking in California
The court system utilizes several charges that are connected to stalking. Individuals may be charged under the following:
- California Penal Code §273.6: Violating a Restraining, Protective, or Stay Away Order.
- California Penal Code §422: Criminal Threats.
- California Penal Code §653(m): Annoying Phone Calls.
Stalking charges may also be connected to domestic violence in the state of California. If an individual goes beyond stalking and takes direct action against another person, they could be charged with acts such as:
- California Penal Code §207: Kidnapping.
- California Penal Code §240: Assault.
- California Penal Code §242: Battery.
- California Penal Code §261: Rape.
These charges can lead to serious legal repercussions, including fines and time in jail or prison. Scheduling an appointment with a criminal defense lawyer in California as soon as possible after being charged with stalking gives the lawyer ample time to build a defense to the charge on your behalf. Call Simmrin Law Group today to schedule an appointment.
Reviewing the Penalties for a Stalking Conviction
There are several possible penalties for a stalking conviction in California. Individuals may face different penalties based on their prior criminal history. An individual with no previous arrests for stalking, who is not subject to any court orders, could face jail time of up to one year and fines of up to $1,000.
These penalties increase if an individual is subject to an injunction, restraining order, or court order related to stalking. Penalties may also be harsher if an individual was previously convicted of:
- Corporal injury to a spouse
- Violating a restraining, protective, or stay away order
- Making criminal threats
In some cases, the court system can require individuals convicted of stalking to join California’s sex offender registry.
Focusing on Legal Defenses for Stalking in California
You may be able to develop a defense for stalking accusations by contacting a criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles. A legal professional can help focus on your unique legal needs. Your lawyer could defend up from PC 646.9 charges by working to show that:
You Were Taking Part in a Constitutionally Protected Activity
Sometimes, businesses try to accuse individuals who are striking or picketing of stalking. However, this particular activity is protected by the Constitution. You could avoid a PC 646.9 conviction if you exercised your Constitutional rights.
You Did Not Make a Credible Threat
Generally, you should not be convicted of stalking if you did not make a credible threat against another individual or their immediate family. If you made a joking threat or said you were going to do something you could not possibly accomplish, a lawyer could help you.
You Were Falsely Accused of Stalking
Individuals in California sometimes falsely accuse another individual of stalking. This action may be motivated by revenge. If you were falsely accused of stalking someone, contact legal professionals now to get help with your defense.
Call a Criminal Defense Lawyer to Handle Stalking Charges
You can get professional help handling California Penal Code Section 646.9: Stalking charges by contacting the Simmrin Law Group. Our team of professional criminal defense lawyers in Los Angeles can begin constructing your defense now. Call our office, or fill out our online contact form to learn more.
Start getting legal advice today with a free case evaluation. A California criminal defense lawyer can help you understand the stalking charges, determine if there are any witnesses, and help you build a defense against those charges.