Harassment and stalking are serious allegations that could lead to catastrophic consequences from damage to your reputation to having to deal with a restraining order that can affect your ability to go to school or work all the way to jail time. If you’ve been accused of harassment or are facing charges, this is not something to take lightly or try to explain as a misunderstanding. You need experienced, highly qualified legal counsel and representation from a Raleigh criminal defense attorney.
At Sandman, Finn, & Fitzhugh, our team of attorneys have over 50 years of combined legal experience, not only in defense cases, but as prosecutors. This gives us a unique insight into the mindset and methods prosecutors use so we can craft more effective legal defense strategies for our clients. Reach out to us for a free consultation if you are accused or charged with harassment or stalking.
North Carolina Harassment & Stalking Laws
What Is Stalking?
Stalking is the offense someone is charged with after directing unwanted or harassing behavior toward another person. A person can be charged with stalking if they, on more than one occasion follow or are in the presence of or otherwise harasses someone with the intent to place that person in fear for their safety or the safety of the persons family or close personal associates. Close personal associates could be, as an example, friends or co-workers. Stalking could also occur if the defendant causes the victim to suffer substantial emotional distress by placing them in fear of death or bodily injury.
What Is Harassment?
Harassment is generally defined as communication or actions from one individual that is knowingly intended to torment, scare, or threaten another for no legitimate reason.
Harassment is behavior directed toward an individual that includes (but is not limited to):
- Following them;
- Sending or leaving notes or messages on their car, in their mailbox, in a locker or other personal property;
- Vandalizing or damaging property or belongings;
- Driving or walking past their home, school, or work;
- Showing up at their home, school, or work;
- Asking their friends or family members for personal information or location information;
- Repeatedly calling, leaving voicemails, or texting someone, even after you’ve been asked to stop;
- Sending obscene or threatening communication;
What Is Cyberstalking?
Cyberstalking is a more recent addition to the North Carolina General Statute and is a separate charge to stalking. This is the use of electronic communication, such as social media, email, or communication apps in order to send threats or harass another person.
Penalties Related to Harassment and Stalking
North Carolina takes charges of stalking very seriously because often, this behavior escalates into sexual assault or domestic violence. By having harsh penalties associated with harassing behavior, they hope to prevent and reduce more violent crimes.
Stalking is a Class A1 misdemeanor and if a person is convicted, he or she can face up to 150 days in jail.
A defendant commits a class H felony if he is convicted of stalking when a court order is in place prohibiting that behavior. The maximum penalty for a class H felony is 42 months in prison.
If a defendant is convicted of stalking after having been previously convicted of the crime previously, they will face a Class F felony conviction with up to 62 months in prison.
Why Work with a Stalking Defense Attorney
Being accused of harassment or charged with stalking is much more serious than many people realize. Not only can it lead to time in jail or prison as well as heavy fines, but it can also impact every other aspect of your life. If convicted of stalking, you may be unable to find a job, rent a house or an apartment, or receive state assistance.
Additionally, being accused of stalking can damage your reputation. Whether it’s on the news or the accusations get passed on social media, this is something that could be drastically hurt you and your family. Having an experienced and dedicated criminal defense attorney in Raleigh who is fighting for your reputation and your freedom is essential.
Not only can a qualified and knowledgeable defense attorney defend you in court, you will need someone on your side who will:
- Advise you of what to say during questioning.
- Make sure your rights are respected during questioning and if arrested.
- Skillfully interview witnesses and prepare character witnesses for court.
- Represent you at a Domestic Violence Protection Order hearing or a hearing for a restraining order.
- Speak out on your behalf if needed.
Trying to do this alone may jeopardize your case. You need an aggressive defender who will fight on your side!
Contact Our Raleigh Criminal Defense Attorneys
If you were accused of harassment or charged with stalking, we can help. Our experienced attorneys have worked on both sides of the courtroom, giving them unique insight and perspective in what it takes to do well in court. Schedule a free consultation today by calling (919) 887-8040 or filling out our easy-to-use contact form.