Stalking In The Second Degree: New York Penal Law § 120.55

Most people are somewhat familiar with the crime of stalking. At its most basic level, it involves intentionally repeatedly acting in a way that harasses or annoys another individual for no legitimate purpose. The degree of stalking charged in New York is dependent on the type of actions taken by the perpetrator and the type of response those actions could reasonably produce.

One can be convicted of Stalking in the Second Degree if that person intentionally engages in a course of conduct with the objective of harassing or annoying another individual, and that course of conduct either does or could reasonably place that individual in fear of physical harm; and in the course of these actions, the person displays a deadly weapon, dangerous instrument, or what appears to be a firearm. The term dangerous instrument applies to guns, tasers, knives, and other objects specifically designed for causing harm. This course of conduct may involve phone calls, texts, emails, letters, going to the individual's home, school, or work. What sets Stalking in the Second Degree apart from the less serious forms of stalking is that at some point, the person must either specifically threaten the use of a weapon against the individual, or must physically confront the other person and display the weapon.

While the lesser degrees of stalking are misdemeanors, Stalking in the Second Degree is a class E felony in New York, punishable by up to four years in prison. Aside from the major complications that go along with having a felony record in New York, being a felon with a serious stalking conviction will negatively impact virtually every aspect of a person's life.

In some circumstances, the foundation of this charge is nothing more than what the complainant tells the police and the prosecutor happened. An arrest may be made on nothing more than the complainant accusing a person of multiple incidents of following them around and threatening them with a weapon on one occasion. Prosecutors are likely to take their complainant's words at face value and may look the other way at a "victim's" personal motivation or gain in alleging criminal activity against a defendant.

It is vital to have an attorney who will examine every aspect of the case and determine the best defense. The New York domestic violence attorneys at the Law Offices of Jeffrey Lichtman will thoroughly investigate your case, and will examine every angle to look for any biases or motivations for the complainant to lie. If any are detected, we will expose them through a rigorous and meticulous cross-examination. Call the Law Offices of Jeffrey Lichtman at (212) 581-1001 to discuss your Stalking or domestic violence case today.