Stalking is a crime in all states, characterized as a pattern of malicious and willful behavior rather than a one-time event, which often is charged against estranged partners and spouses. The New York stalking law was one of the first and it defines the crime as repeated harassment that creates a credible threat of harm. Victims of stalking typically seek restraining orders (also called "orders of protection") to keep offenders away.
Below are the basic elements of New York's stalking law. See Details on State Stalking Laws to learn more.
|Code Section||Penal 240.26, .31; 120.45 to .60|
|Stalking Defined as||Stalking in the 4th degree: intentionally and with no legitimate purpose engages in conduct that s/he knows or should reasonably know: will cause reasonable fear of material harm to victim or member of victim's immediate family or causes material harm to mental or emotional health of victim or member of victim's immediate family or causes a reasonable fear that victim's employment or business is threatened; 3rd degree: Same as 4th degree when: 3 or more victims involved or victim has reasonable fear of physical harm or serious bodily injury; 2nd degree: same as 3rd degree when a weapon is involved in commission or 2nd conviction within 5 yrs. or if victim is 14 or under and actor is 21 or older; 1st degree: same as 3rd or 2nd degree with intentional or reckless physical harm to victim.|
|Punishment/Classification||4th degree is a Class B misdemeanor. 3rd degree is a Class A misdemeanor. 1st degree is a Class D felony.|
|Penalty for Repeat Offense||If within 10 yrs. of prior conviction, stalking in 3rd degree. If within 5 yrs. of prior conviction, 2nd degree stalking.|
|Arrest or Restraining Order Specifically Authorized by Statute?||-|
|Constitutionally Protected Activities Exempted?||Yes; for harassment does not apply to activities regulated by National Labor Relations Act, Railway Labor Act, or Federal Employment Labor Management Act.|
Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
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Stalking accusations often turn into battling narratives in which both parties view the same circumstances entirely differently. When you are charged with the crime of stalking the assistance of a lawyer can help ensure that your position is presented in a clear, compelling, and relevant fashion, which can make all the difference in court. Contact a competent local attorney to schedule a free initial case evaluation now.
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