Stalking is a serious crime that affects many individuals. It is thoroughly investigated and vigorously prosecuted since it frequently results in further harassment and escalates into more severe crimes. A conviction can cost you your career, relationships, and freedom. It is best and most beneficial for you to seek legal advice from a stalking defense attorney in Phoenix, AZ.
This crime has a specific and complex definition. Therefore, there are many instances of false arrests based on legally insufficient or uncredible accusations. If you have been charged with stalking, or believe you may be under investigation for this offense, you must consult with a credible Arizona criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible.
Why Do I Need a Stalking Defense Attorney in Arizona?
Stalking is a crime that is not taken lightly in Arizona. It may be punishable with steep fines and even jail time. If you or someone you know has been charged with this crime, it is crucial to seek legal advice from a reliable Phoenix stalking defense lawyer who can provide the skilled and dedicated representation you need.
At Snader Law Group, we are experienced in representing clients who have been accused of stalking, harassment, and other types of violent crimes. Howard A. Snader is a former prosecutor and board-certified criminal law specialist with more than 30 years of experience defending good people accused of serious misdemeanors and felonies in Arizona. We work one-on-one with our clients and thoroughly evaluate all the available evidence to devise the best possible strategy for defense. Contact us now and schedule an initial consultation.
What is Stalking?
Under Arizona law, stalking is intentionally or knowingly engaging in a course of conduct that is directed towards a specific person and causes fear of personal safety or death for that individual or his or her immediate family members. it involves a repetitive pattern of unwanted, threatening, or harassing behavior toward another person. Threats may be expressed or implied, written, verbal, or in any other form.
This crime can occur between people with any type of relationship or no relationship at all. However, because the majority of stalking incidents involve individuals who have had a prior romantic or sexual relationship, the offense is frequently classified as domestic violence. If you have any questions about your stalking charges, speak with a qualified Phoenix stalking defense attorney experienced in these types of cases.
What are the Penalties for Stalking Charges in Arizona?
Stalking is a felony. However, the degree of felony depends on the criminal record and the facts of the case. If you are accused of stalking someone, a skilled Phoenix AZ stalking defense lawyer can help you minimize exposure to legal consequences and move forward in a more positive direction.
Class 3 Felony
Stalking charges that cause a fear of death are a Class 3 felony. Class 3 felony stalking is punishable by probation and up to one year in jail. Prior felony convictions could lead to an enhanced prison sentence ranging from three and a half to twenty-five years. Furthermore, if an order of protection has been entered, the facts giving rise to the stalking claim could also become the basis for additional charges filed against you.
Class 5 Felony
First-time stalking offenses that cause a fear of safety may be classified as a Class 5 felony. If the offender’s course of conduct causes a victim to have reasonable fear or experience emotional distress that physical harm will occur to a family member or a specific person, the offender may be charged with a class 5 felony.
Probation and Prison Sentence Punishments
Punishment for Class 5 stalking may include probation and a prison sentence ranging from six months to two and a half years. The prison term can increase if the defendant has any prior felony convictions and an extensive criminal record. If there are prior felony convictions, he or she could face an additional jail time of one to seven and a half years depending on the number of prior convictions and other relevant circumstances.
What are the Defenses for Stalking Charges in Arizona?
Since most stalking charges are felonies, the consequences of a conviction are very serious. This offense encompasses a wide array of conduct that makes it easier for a prosecutor to obtain a conviction. Therefore, having a well-developed defense increases the chances of a favorable result in a case.
Preparing a strong defense is a complex process. When building a defense in a stalking case, a knowledgeable Phoenix stalking defense attorney will gather sufficient evidence related to what was going on in the relationship and proof that the alleged stalking occurred. Potential defenses include but are not limited to the following:
No Intent or Knowledge
All the elements of the offense must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. It includes the requirement in the statute that the conduct is intentional or knowing. To be found guilty of stalking, Arizona law requires that the offender intentionally or knowingly cause reasonable fear or emotional distress.
However, it is possible the defendant was unaware or did not intend that the actions caused reasonable fear or emotional distress. For instance, a female victim may allege someone is stalking her because the defendant followed her home on three occasions. However, a closer examination of the evidence revealed that the defendant was visiting her neighbor at the time and was unaware that the victim was in fear or emotional distress.
The victim or witness may misidentify the defendant in a stalking case. Misidentification is common and can occur for various reasons such as the victim (or witness) being genuinely mistaken, the defendant having a similar appearance to the actual perpetrator, or the victim (or witness) being convinced the defendant committed certain acts without any supporting evidence due to the relationship or prior interactions.
No Course of Conduct
Arizona law requires that the conduct of the defendant that causes fear or emotional distress occurs more than once. In some cases, the defendant may argue that the behavior is not considered stalking since it only happened once and did not cause the victim to have a reasonable fear or emotional distress.
It Did Not Happen
One of the most common defenses against stalking charges involves arguing that the act did not happen. A victim or witness may exaggerate or fabricate certain facts in a stalking case. The defendant may assert the particular events did not occur or did not occur in the manner the victim or witness alleged.
Sometimes, an alleged victim may be either lying, misinterpreting your actions, or expressing fears that are simply unreasonable.
Call Our Experienced Phoenix Stalking Defense Attorney Now!
The Arizona courts are unsympathetic toward those who are charged with stalking, and consider it to be a violent crime. Being convicted can mean prison time and having to abide by a long-term order of protection. If you’re accused of stalking, it is important to seek legal advice from a seasoned Phoenix stalking defense lawyer who can help you protect your rights and fight for your freedom.
At Snader Law Group, we understand Arizona law, and we can provide you with the chance of a dismissal, a reduction in the charges, or a not guilty verdict. Our Arizona board-certified criminal defense attorney Howard Snader will fight for you to secure the best possible outcome for your case.
Our criminal defense law firm diligently represents individuals facing criminal charges, including stalking, harassment, and other domestic violence offenses. We can help you navigate the criminal justice system. Contact us now and schedule an initial consultation to know more about your legal options.