If you have been arrested for stalking in Georgia, it is imperative that you fight your case. It is a serious crime in Georgia.
What is stalking?
Stalking is when you follow, place under surveillance, or contact another person at or about a place without the consent of the other person for the purpose of harassing and intimidating the other person; OR if you are in violation of a bond, order of the court, or condition of pretrial release, probation, or parole that prohibits the harassment or intimidation of another person, broadcasts or publishes without the person’s consent in such a manner that causes other persons to harass or intimidate that person and the person making the broadcast or publication knew or had reason to know that such act would cause the person to be harassed or intimidated by others. O.C.G.A. 16-5-90(a).
Aggravated Stalking is when in violation of a bond, order of the court, condition of pretrial release, probation, or parole in effect prohibiting the behavior described herein, follows, places under surveillance, or contacts another person at or about a place without the consent of the person for the purpose of harassing and intimidating the other person.
What are the elements of Aggravated Stalking:
- The defendant violated an order.
- This order prohibited contact with the victim.
- It was done without the victim’s consent
- The purpose was to harass or intimidate.
If # 4 is not met, then it is criminal contempt under O.C.G.A. 15-6-8(5).
Keep in mind, that proof of a written no contact order is not required. But there needs to be proof that the instruction was given and received by the defendant.
How do you define “contact” with the victim?
Contact is any communication, whether in person, by phone, by text, email , social media etc….
Where does the Stalking take place?
It includes any public or private property occupied by the victim, excluding the defendant’s residence, where the communication is received.
What is meant by Harassing and Intimidating Contact?
- A knowing and willful course of conduct directed specifically at the victim.
- The victim suffers emotional distress by placing such person in reasonable fear of their safety
- Establish a pattern of harassing and intimidating behavior. (There has to be more than 1 contact)
- There is no legitimate purpose to this contact.
What does the Court look for in determining whether the contact is harassing and intimidating?
- The prior history between the defendant and victim.
- Whether the contact is overly confrontational
- Any attempts by the defendant to contact, communicate, or control the victim through another party.
The behavior of the defendant does not have to include threats of death or bodily harm. The defendant does not even have to make overt threats to the victim in a Stalking case.
What is NOT Stalking?
Georgia law does not prohibit a person from contacting or communicating with another person without consent, if the contact is not done with a harassing or intimidating purpose.
What am I facing if I am convicted of Stalking or Aggravated Stalking?
- The first conviction for stalking is a Misdemeanor and is punishable by up to 1 year in prison and a $1,000 fine
- A second conviction for Stalking is a felony and carries up to 1 to 10 years in prison.
- Aggravated Stalking
- Aggravated Stalking carries up to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
If you are charged with Stalking or Aggravated Stalking, it is important to get a lawyer as there are defenses to your case. A Stalking conviction on your record can carry many collateral consequences in addition to the punishment imposed by the court.
Call us at 404-581-0999 or visit us at www.peachstatelawyer.com for a free consultation.