Although stalking is not considered a violent crime in the United States, being falsely accused of that level of harassment can cause traumatic suffering for the defendant. Accusations of stalking can result in an individual being jailed, fined, and ostracized in their professional or personal lives.
Knowing what to do when you have to defend your social reputation is essential, and your best option will be to contact an experienced defense attorney in Louisiana who can help you build a strong case. If you have recently been accused of stalking or similar harassment, you should understand the possible defense strategies for stalking charges that your attorney may use throughout your case.
Understanding the Definition of Stalking
Laws in Louisiana classify stalking as the repeated following or harassment of another individual that results in emotional distress. Continuous appearances at places such as the victim’s home, work, or school can be qualified as stalking, in addition to any verbal harassment or threats that might cause a person to feel alarmed or unsafe.
When the situation involves a minor or a child under twelve years of age, the stalking charge is evaluated based on the level of non-consensual contact, which can include:
- Following or appearing within sight of the child
- Approaching or confronting the child in a public place or on private property
- Appearing at the residence of the child or the location where they are temporarily living
- Entering onto or remaining on a property that is also occupied by the child
- Contacting that child by telephone, physical mail, or electronic communication
- Placing an object on, or delivering an object to, property occupied by the child
Situations involving stalking and associated harassment can be deeply traumatizing, and there are occasions when a victim has accidentally misidentified their abuser. Some individuals might even misinterpret actions or behaviors and label them as stalking, resulting in a similar situation. This confusion often results in false accusations being lobbied against an innocent person, which can be damaging and harmful to their livelihood. Luckily, an experienced attorney can help a falsely accused person seek justice.
Defenses for a Stalking Charge
Depending on the circumstances of the case, an attorney may approach a stalking charge from a few different perspectives that can benefit the defendant. These defenses may include:
- Proving that the defendant’s contact with their accuser was for a legitimate purpose
- Stating that the allegations are false or exaggerated
- Dismissing the case on the foundation of flawed, fraudulent, or unreliable evidence
There are many ways that an experienced attorney can help you avoid the serious consequences that come with a stalking charge based on your circumstances.
If convicted, individuals who face stalking penalties can expect jail time and fines based on the severity of their charge and whether or not they have been convicted of a similar crime in the past.
- First conviction: Up to 1 year in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,000
- Second conviction within 7 years: Between 180 days and 3 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $5,000
- Third or higher conviction within 7 years: Between 2 and 5 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $5,000
If the victim is under the age of 18, these penalties increase, which entails up to three years in prison and/or a fine of up to $2,000. Additionally, if the defendant is violating a lawful order issued by a court for the plaintiff’s protection, like a restraining order, they can be punished with up to 90 days in jail or up to two years in person, as well as a potential fine of up to $5,000.
Work with a Trusted Stalking Attorney in Louisiana
Innocent people are brought to court every day, but being falsely accused doesn’t have to ruin your life. If you are being brought to court for a stalking charge, work with an experienced attorney who can help you build a defense that will get you the justice that you deserve.
With over 25 years of experience serving the community, Attorney Eric Johnson of the John D. & Eric G. Johnson Law Firm is skilled at crafting a well-structured defense that is tailored to the needs of each client. If you have been falsely accused and want a criminal defense expert at your side, call today at (318) 377-1555 or reach out online to schedule your free consultation.