California Penal Code 646.9
Stalking is a violation of Penal Code Section 646.9. It can be filed as both a misdemeanor and felony. Any person who willfully and maliciously repeatedly follows, harasses, and/or makes a credible threat (verbally, in writing or by electronic communication) of violence can be found guilty of the crime of stalking.
All the victim must feel is that their safety (and that of their family members) is in any way compromised by the defendant. The prosecution will look for any evidence that the defendant has made a credible threat to place the victim in reasonable fear for their safety. For example, just following someone and being there does not constitute stalking. There must be more, such as a threat made towards the victim.
In every jurisdiction in California, you'll find a District Attorney’s Office that is very aggressive in their prosecution of stalking cases. After the infamous “O.J. Simpson case”, all of the laws and attitudes about prosecuting stalking as a crime have changed. In fact, since the Simpson case, the courts and prosecutors will err on the side of being overly aggressive in these cases. They want to avoid any injuries to alleged or actual victims in the case and try to catch a perpetrator before they have time to harm a victim. They will be worried and even stretch how they define "credible threat."
The penalties the defendant will face for stalking in California can be very harsh. As was stated earlier, the crime is a wobbler - it can be prosecuted as either a misdemeanor or a felony. Under special circumstances - for instance, if there is a prior conviction for stalking - then the prosecutor MUST charge a felony. If convicted, the defendant faces up to five (5) years in state prison and if certain prerequisites exist, the defendant could be categorized as a lifetime sex offender and required to register under Penal Code Section 290. If required to register under this section, the defendant will likely end up on the Internet as a registered offender.
Proper Defense, Effective Solution
Although the prosecutor is aggressive in obtaining convictions these cases, there are still several defenses available. Time is of the essence. If you have been or are alleged to have been involved in this type of crime, you should contact our offices immediately, as we take an aggressive and proactive approach in defending your case. We need to take a proactive approach to collect witness statements and other evidence, prepare motions, propound discovery and complete background investigations early on, it is important that you contact us as quickly as possible so we can assist you in preparing a defense.
Anytime the defendant is facing felony charges, the defense must move decisively and quickly. Specific actions must be taken in planning your defense. Even if the case "wobbles" over to a misdemeanor, your attorney must be aggressive and proactive to preserve evidence, file appropriate motions and propound discovery.
Please contact our office today if you or someone you know has been involved or is alleged to be involved in this crime. We will set an appointment to discuss your case details and possible defense strategies. The initial consultation is free.
The Law Offices of Stull & Stull has the utmost experience and expertise in California stalking cases. Attorney Adam Stull previously acted as a prosecutor and has handled a variety of cases - many of them very serious. We are very familiar with the range of complexity that may accompany even the simplest cases.
Our familiarity extends to experience, but also with practical knowledge about how California laws are constructed. We can respond appropriately, as well as to propose lawful alternatives to various penalties or sentences that can end up being unnecessarily harsh or unjust.
The Law Offices of Stull & Stull has more than 45 years of combined criminal trial experience in Orange County as well as Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, Santa Barbara, Kern, Tulare, Fresno and Ventura counties. The Law Office of Stull & Stull is based in Laguna Hills, California.