Queens Stalking in the Third Degree

N.Y. Pen. Law §120.50

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 2 stalking offenses that are misdemeanors. Even though it is classified as a misdemeanor it is still a crime. If you are convicted your personal life as well as your professional life will be negatively and in some cases permanently impacted in several different ways. Thus, if you have been charged with stalking in the third degree do not hesitate to immediately contact an experienced Queens Stalking in the Third Degree Lawyer who will carefully review the facts of your case and who will work closely with you to fight the charges against you.

Criteria for a Stalking in the Third Degree Charge

Stalking in the third degree is one of two stalking charges that is a misdemeanor. 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, harm that person's family or damage that person's property.
  • Repeatedly follow, track or communicate with another person in a way that causes the person to have mental or emotional harm.
  • Show up at another's job or business, or communicate with that person at his or her job or 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 the following predicate crimes: sexual misconduct, rape in the third degree, rape in the second degree, criminal sexual act in the third degree, criminal sexual act in the second degree, sexual abuse in the third degree, sexual abuse in the second degree, aggravated sexual abuse in the first degree, incest in the third degree, incest in the second degree or incest in the first degree. The stalking victim and the predicate crime victim must be the same or the predicate crime victim must be a member of the stalking victim's family.
  • 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.
  • Within the last 10 years you have been convicted of stalking in the fourth degree.

Stalking in the third degree is a Class A misdemeanor. N.Y. Pen. Law § 120.50

Consequences of a Stalking in the Third Degree Conviction

Because stalking in the third degree is a Class A misdemeanor if you are convicted the maximum prison sentence is 1 year and a fine of up to $1,000. If part of your sentence includes incarceration you will spend that time in a local county jail and not in state prison.

Probation

Because stalking in the third degree is a misdemeanor, there is a good chance that all or part of your sentence will include probation. The term of probation would be 3 years. If your sentence includes both jail and probation, you will serve your probation term concurrently with your jail term. For example, if you are sentenced to jail for 30 days, while you are in jail you will also be on probation. Once you are released from jail you will have to serve the balance of your probation term which would be 3 years minus 30 days.

If you end up being convicted of stalking in the third degree, it will be a big relief to you if your sentence includes only probation. While probation is preferable to being incarcerated you should beware that probation is not easy as it comes with many restrictions called "Conditions of Probation." For the entire time that you are on probation you will be required to follow strict rules that are designed to help prevent you from committing another crime. If you break any of these rules there are severe consequences. The court will design a set of rules specifically for you. Typical rules include:

  • You must not commit a crime-- not even a misdemeanor
  • You must not hang out with other people who have criminal records
  • You must not patronize places known for illegal activity
  • You must not use or possess illegal drugs or drug paraphernalia
  • You must consent to warrantless searches without probable cause
  • You must submit to home visits by your Probation Officer
  • You must regularly report to your Probation Officer
  • You cannot leave the State of New York without permission.
  • You must let your Probation Office know if you move. You cannot move out of state without permission. Your Probation Officer will have to approve such a move and will have to make arrangements with your new jurisdiction to take over your probation supervision.
  • You must not own, possess or purchase a gun
  • You must refrain from the excessive use of alcohol. It is also possible that drinking any alcohol will be prohibited.
  • You must complete any ordered substance abuse treatment or medical treatment
  • You must stick to a curfew
  • You must have job or be enrolled in school. If you change jobs or schools, you must let your Probation Officer know.
Financial Consequences

There are serious financial consequences to being convicted of stalking in the third degree even though it is a misdemeanor.

Fine. As part of your sentence the judge may order you to pay fine of up to $1,000.

Restitution. Restitution is paid to the victim to cover out-of-pocket expenses that result from the robbery. For example, you may be ordered to pay for the property you damaged in the course of stalking. Generally, the maximum amount of restitution is $10,000, plus a 5% surcharge.

Fees

In New York if you are convicted of a stalking in the third degree you will be required to pay certain statutory fees. One fee is a $175 "mandatory surcharge." You may also be required to pay a victim assistance fee of $25. N.Y. Pen. Law § 60.35. If you are placed on probation you will have pay a probation supervision fee of $30 per month.

Order of Protection

If you are charged with stalking in the third degree the prosecutor will probably request that the criminal court judge issue an Order of Protection against you in favor of the victim. This means that you will not be permitted to follow, harass, or communicate with the victim. In order words you must cease activity that could amount to stalking. If you violate the Order of Protection you will face additional criminal charges. For example in People v. Talbot, 981 N.Y.S.2d 152 (2014), the defendant agreed to a plea bargain on criminal charges related to a domestic violence incident against his wife. An Order of Protection was issued requiring that Talbot stay away from his wife. As part of a plea agreement Talbot's sentence was to be 1 1/3-4 years in prison, as long as he did not commit any additional crimes. Talbot was arrested for violating the Order of Protection. As a result the judge threw out the plea agreement and sentenced Talbot to 2-6 years in prison.

However, if you do not believe an Order of Protection is warranted, there are ways that you can fight an Order of Protection. However, if you are ultimately convicted of the stalking charges, the temporary Order of Protection may be turned into a permanent Order of Protection that may remain in effect for years.

Long-Term Consequences

If you are convicted of any crime there will be consequences beyond the sentence ordered by the judge. This is so even you are convicted of a misdemeanor and not a felony. If you are convicted of stalking in the third degree you will have a criminal record that will impact various aspects of the rest of your life. Here are some consequences:

  • Difficulty finding a job as most employers perform criminal background checks
  • Refused admission into some colleges
  • Barred from certain careers and professional licensing such as teaching, practicing law, driving a taxi, working as a security guard, and operating a child day care business
  • Barred from owning a gun
  • Barred from serving on a jury
  • Ineligible for certain government benefits such as welfare or federally funded housing
  • Deportation, if you are not U.S. citizen- even if you are in the U.S. legally
  • Temporarily barred from voting

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 Stephen Bilkis & Associates, PLLC has years of experience successfully defending clients in New York criminal courts who have been charged with stalking in the third degree as well as other stalking charges, assault, harassment, menacing, and reckless 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 stalking in the following locations:

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