New Haven Stalking Lawyer
A broad definition of stalking is a pattern of unwanted behavior directed at someone that would cause a reasonable person to be afraid. Connecticut law classifies stalking as a domestic violence offense or harassment offense. If you have been charged with a stalking offense, it is important to speak with a skilled assault defense attorney. A qualified New Haven stalking lawyer could devote the time and resources necessary to achieve a positive outcome for you.
The law differentiates stalking of the first, second, and third-degree. The most serious is stalking in the first-degree which is a Class D felony. Stalking in the second-degree is a Class A misdemeanor and stalking in the third-degree is a Class B misdemeanor. Stalking in the third-degree requires that someone recklessly caused another person to reasonably fear for their physical safety by willfully and repeatedly following them. Stalking in the second-degree has the same elements of an individual willfully and repeatedly following another person and the intention of causing them to the fear for their safety.
Elements of a First-Degree Stalking Offense
The most serious stalking offense is stalking in the first-degree which requires that the individual willfully and repeatedly waits for another person or follows another person causing them to fear for their safety in addition to one of three additional factors that must accompany that behavior:
- The alleged victim is under the age of 16 years
- The stalker was previously convicted of stalking
- The stalking is in violation of a court order
Harassment as an Offense
Harassing can be any repeated conduct that includes a wide range of behavior such as repeated phone calls, emails, and text messages. Harassment can be charged for just one contact that occurs after the person was told to cease all contact. A person might be accused of stalking for showing up at someone’s apartment or calling them at their workplace. In one case, an individual sent flowers on a repeated basis after being told to stop doing so. The act of sending flowers was pursued as harassment and the appellate court upheld such conduct as harassing behavior. The definition of harassment might vary depending on the facts and circumstances associated with an individual case. A New Haven stalking lawyer could answer questions that an individual may have about how harassment and stalking are related offenses, and what the consequences of a stalking offense might be.
How a Misunderstanding Could Lead to a Stalking Charge
It is possible that an individual might be charged with stalking over a misunderstanding between the parties. One of the things the prosecution must prove for stalking in the second-degree and stalking in the first-degree is that the person had the intent to cause fear in the targeted individual. That is known as a specific intent. A mental state requirement is associated with assault in the first and second-degree and the state must prove that the person had the intention to follow the individual and cause them fear. It is important that any potential misunderstanding to be brought to an attorney’s attention so they can use that to attack the intent element associated with stalking in the first and second-degree.
Benefit of a New Haven Stalking Attorney
Stalking is a serious offense in Connecticut, so if you face stalking charges, you should work with an attorney that could help you prepare a proper defense. An experienced New Haven stalking lawyer may know the appropriate steps to take, what evidence can be challenged in court, and whether any legal issues might be pursued. An attorney knows how the prosecution handles stalking cases and may provide information about the different outcomes associated with an arrest for stalking. It is important that you work with an attorney who understands the criminal process and deals with the prosecution and the courts regularly. The attorney can build the most appropriate defense that provides a beneficial outcome for you.