New York Penal Code § 120.50: Stalking in the third degree

Stalking is more than merely annoying another person. It involves the repeated and seeming obsessive following or communicating with another person to the extent that that person feels emotionally, mentally or physically threatened. Stalking behavior includes following, telephoning, tracking using GPS, emailing, and texting. It can also involve showing up at a person's place of employment, or sending someone messages through another person. It is a common crime related to domestic violence. Stalking in the third degree is one of two stalking charges that are misdemeanors. Under New York Penal Code § 120.50 you will be charged with stalking in the third degree if you do one of the following:

  • Repeatedly follow, track or communicate with another person in a way that makes that person think that you might physically harm that person or in a way that causes mental or emotional harm.

  • Show up at another's business, or communicate with that person at his or her business such that you put his or her job, business or career at risk.

And,

  • You stalk 3 or more different people on at least 3 separate occasions; or

  • Within the prior 10 years you were convicted of one of several specific predicate crimes, and the stalking victim and the predicate crime victim were the same or the predicate crime victim was a member of the stalking victim's family; or

  • Intending to annoy, harass or alarm the victim, you engage in a course of conduct that is likely to cause that person to fear that you will physically harm, kidnap, commit a sex offense, or commit the crime of unlawful imprisonment against him or her or that person's immediate family; or

  • Within the last 10 years you have been convicted of stalking in the fourth degree under New York Penal Code § 120.45.

Example

A man calls his ex-girlfriend 10-20 times per day for a week. He sometimes leaves messages stating that if she does not return his calls he would come to her house. This man could not be prosecuted for stalking in the third degree unless he has previously been convicted of stalking in the fourth degree, or he has been convicted for a predicate offense against the ex-girlfriend or a member of the ex-girlfriend's family. Otherwise, the man would likely be prosecuted for stalking in the fourth degree.

Related offenses
  1. Kidnapping in the second degree: New York Penal Code § 135.20
  2. Harassment in the first degree: New York Penal Code § 240.25
  3. Aggravated harassment in the second degree: New York Penal Code § 240.30
Defenses

To be convicted of stalking in the third degree the prosecutor must show not only that you committed the crime of stalking, but that you have done so to more than one person, or that you have a history or stalking or sexual assault. If the prosecutor is only able to show that you may have stalked 1 or 2 people, for example, then the prosecutor would not have the evidence to support a charge of stalking in the third degree.

Sentence

Because stalking in the third degree is a Class A misdemeanor if you are convicted your sentence may include up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. There is also a possibility that you could be sentenced to a probation term of 3 years in lieu of jail.

New York Penal Code § 120.50: Stalking in the third degree

A person is guilty of stalking in the third degree when he or she:

  1. Commits the crime of stalking in the fourth degree in violation of § 120.45 of this article against three or more persons, in three or more separate transactions, for which the actor has not been previously convicted; or

  2. Commits the crime of stalking in the fourth degree in violation of § 120.45 of this article against any person, and has previously been convicted, within the preceding ten years of a specified predicate crime, as defined in subdivision five of § 120.40 of this article, and the victim of such specified predicate crime is the victim, or an immediate family member of the victim, of the present offense; or

  3. With intent to harass, annoy or alarm a specific person, intentionally engages in a course of conduct directed at such person which is likely to cause such person to reasonably fear physical injury or serious physical injury, the commission of a sex offense against, or the kidnapping, unlawful imprisonment or death of such person or a member of such person`s immediate family; or

  4. Commits the crime of stalking in the fourth degree and has previously been convicted within the preceding ten years of stalking in the fourth degree.

The Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates can help

If you are arrested and charged with stalking in the third degree, even though it is a misdemeanor and not a felony you should take the charge very seriously and immediately contact an attorney who has experience. A misdemeanor conviction will impact the rest of your life in many of the same ways that a felony conviction will. The staff at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates has years of experience successfully defending clients in New York criminal courts who have been charged with misdemeanors and felonies such as assault in the first degree, assault in the second degree, menacing, reckless endangerment, stalking, rape, and child endangerment. Contact us at 1-800-NY-NY-LAW (1-800-696-9529) to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We serve those accused of larceny in the following locations: the Bronx, Brooklyn, Long Island, Manhattan, Nassau County, Queens, Staten Island, Suffolk County and Westchester County.

CONTACT US FOR A FREE CONSULTATION
1-800-NY-NY-LAW (1-800-696-9529)