California Penal Code Section 646.9 details the crime of stalking; "Any person who willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly follows or harasses another person and who makes a credible threat with the intent to place that person in reasonable fear for his or her safety, of his or her immediate family."
Stalking charges can be very scary for those accused, but with an aggressive criminal defense attorney, it is very possible to overcome this accusation. In order for a person to be convicted of stalking under Penal Code Section 646.9, a prosecutor must prove the following:
You willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly harassed or followed a person.
The penal code defines harassment as "knowing and willful course of conduct directed at a specific person that seriously alarms, annoys, torments, or terrorizes the person." The result of the conduct must be such that a reasonable person would suffer emotional distress.
You made a credible threat during the course of following or harassing the person.
California Penal Code Section 646.9 defines credible threat to include verbal or written threats by means of electronic communication and threats intended to "place a person that is the target of the threat in reasonable fear for his or her safety…"
You made a threat with intent to cause the target reasonable fear for his or her safety.
This element is fulfilled if you intended to cause fear in the target. In this element, planning to actually commit the threat is not required.
Because of the complicated language of California's stalking law, it can be very difficult to understand. Lessem, Newstat & Tooson, LLP have defended many stalking cases with success. This type of case requires the service of a creative and skilled attorney to navigate around terms such as "reasonable" or "credible."
If you or a loved one has been accused of stalking, call Lessem, Newstat & Tooson, LLP to discuss your case immediately.