If you or a loved one has been charged with stalking, you need a skilled Atlanta criminal defense attorney on your side.
As technology evolves, laws must evolve as well. In years past, someone would be convicted of stalking through traditional methods of contact. Today, we heavily rely on the use of electronic communication. This means stalking someone today may not be limited to the same contact methods as 20 or 30 years ago. Stalking can also carry a longer sentence now. This is why you need a skilled Atlanta criminal defense attorney on your side to help prepare the best defense possible.
What is Considered Stalking in Georgia?
In Georgia, stalking is covered under O.C.G.A. Section 16-5-90. It defines the offense as following someone, placing them under surveillance, or contacting another person near or at a place or places without the consent of the person, and the purpose is to intimidate or harass the other party. The method of contact can be through a variety of means, including computer, mail, broadcast, electronic device, telephone, or in person.
Intimidating and harassing is defined as deliberately directing your course of conduct at another person to cause emotional distress by putting someone in reasonable fear for their safety or their immediate family’s safety.
Stalking is also when someone violates the terms of a court order that is intended to prevent stalking or harassment through actions that end up causing the victim to be intimidated or harassed by other people.
If you are convicted for stalking, you could be looking at up to a year in jail and/or fines of up to $1,000 if it is your first offense. If this is a second offense, it could be a felony, and you are looking at up to 10 years in prison.
What is Aggravated Stalking?
Someone can be charged with aggravated stalking when the stalking also includes any of the following circumstances:
- The offender has been previously convicted of stalking within seven years of this offense in question;
- The offender displays a deadly weapon;
- The stalking victim was under 18 years of age at any given time during the alleged stalking, and the offender is a minimum of five years older than the victim;
- The offender was already prohibited from contacting the victim at the time of the offense due to a court order and the offender knowingly violates the applicable order or injunction; or
- The offender makes a credible threat to the victim or their immediate family with the intention to have the victim fear bodily injury or death.
In the event you are convicted of aggravated stalking in Georgia, it is a much more serious offense. In fact, it is a felony, and you could be facing up to 10 years in jail.
Defending a Stalking Charge
Do not assume that just because you have been charged with stalking that you will automatically be convicted. Your attorney can prepare a defense in order to get the charges dismissed or reduced. For example, if the allegation of stalking only happened one time, it would not demonstrate a pattern of repeated behavior and therefore not meet the burden of proof for stalking in Georgia.
Contact an Atlanta Criminal Defense Attorney Today
If you have been arrested and charged with stalking, it is important to speak with an attorney right away. Contact Ghanayem & Rayasam today to schedule an initial consultation. Let one of our skilled attorneys prepare the best defense possible for you.