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Stalking Attorney in Ventura
What Is the Crime of Stalking in California?
A person can be charged with stalking if he or she willfully and repeatedly watches, follows, or harasses another individual. The intent behind stalking is generally to force someone to participate in a relationship that they are unwilling to engage in. Stalking is unique from other crimes in that it involves a series of repetitive actions that occur over a period of time, rather than one isolated act.
Several behaviors can be considered stalking, including:
- Contacting a person over the phone
- Communicating with an individual through email or instant messaging
- Sending someone a gift
- Leaving a written message
- Showing up at someone’s home or workplace
- Collecting an individual’s personal information
Although these actions are not typically considered abusive, they can become abusive when repeatedly carried out upon an unwilling recipient. The accused crosses the line into illegal activity when the actions cause another to feel harassed or fear for their safety. Many times, persons charged with stalking were not aware that their actions were considered illegal.
The Penalties for Stalking in Santa Barbara
In California, stalking is a wobbler offense. That means that it can either be prosecuted as a misdemeanor or a felony. If the defendant has been previously convicted of this crime, or the offense violated a court-issued protective order, stalking is always charged as a felony.
The penalties for stalking include:
- Misdemeanor: a maximum of 1 year in county jail, a fine of up to $1,000, and summary probation
- Felony: A maximum of 5 years in state prison, a fine of up to $1,000, and formal probation
Defenses to Stalking Charges
If you have been accused of stalking, several defenses could be used to get your charges reduced or dropped altogether.
Depending on the particular situation, various defenses could be raised, including:
- The alleged victim has falsely accused you
- You were participating in a continuously protected activity, like lawfully protesting
- You did not have an intent to cause fear in the individual
- Although a threat was made, it was not serious or credible
Protect Your Interests in Santa Barbara with a Domestic Violence Lawyer
If you have been arrested or charged with stalking or another type of domestic or family violence offense, the stakes could be incredibly high. Without proper legal representation, you could be risking serious misdemeanor or felony penalties.
Do not attempt to contact the person you are accused of stalking, even if you believe you simply have a misunderstanding that may be resolved. The Law Office of Christopher P. Welch is ready to provide you with the tenacious advocacy you deserve.
At the Law Office of Christopher P. Welch, our Ventura stalking attorney has more than 10 years of focused legal experience. We have a proven record of obtaining not guilty verdicts, dismissals, charge reductions, and acquittals for past clients. When you work with Mr. Welch, you will receive honest and open client communication from start to finish.
“Mr. Welch took care of all my worries and concerns while clearing my name through all the false accusations. I was more than happy with the outcome we were awarded”- James D.
“Mr. Welch communicated with us every step of the way, making us feel comfortable in his capable hands going through the worst situations our family has faced. We are forever grateful for his help, and can not recommend him enough. If you or a loved one are”- Lynette D.
“As an Attorney, he went above and beyond the call of duty to meet my legal needs. I recommend Mr. Welch for any legal counsel 100%. Chris will always reply to your messages or any questions right away and is very courteous and personable!”- Janet O.