As with federal charges of Kidnapping, allegations of Interstate Stalking, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2261A, should be taken extremely seriously - with convictions carrying maximum sentences ranging from five years to life imprisonment. Given the catastrophic, life altering consequences of a conviction, it is imperative that a defendant facing federal charges of Interstate Stalking immediately retain the best New York federal criminal defense attorney experienced with this complex statute.
Not every stalking case, however, may be prosecuted in federal court. For jurisdiction to attach - which permits the United States Attorney's Office to prosecute a case - the government must allege that one of the following two situations applies:
- The defendant traveled in interstate or foreign commerce - or was present in the special maritime or territorial jurisdiction of the United States - with the intent to kill, injure, harass, or intimidate another person (or place under surveillance an individual with the intent to do the same), and the defendant either: a) engaged in conduct that placed the victim, a member of his immediate family, or his spouse or intimate partner, under a reasonable fear of death or serious bodily injury; or b) caused or attempted to cause such person substantial emotional distress; or
- With the intent to kill, injure, harass, or intimidate (or place another under surveillance with the intent to do the same) the defendant used the mail system, an electronic messaging service or communication device to engage in a course of conduct that either: a) placed the victim, a member of his immediate family, or his spouse or intimate partner, under a reasonable fear of death or serious bodily injury; or b) caused or attempted to cause such person substantial emotional distress.
Should either of these situations apply, a range of penalties is established by 18 U.S.C. § 2261(b). For instance, if the victim died in the course of the crime, the defendant may be sentenced to up to life imprisonment; and if the victim suffered a permanent disfigurement or life threatening bodily injury, the defendant may be imprisoned for up to 20 years. If the defendant used a dangerous weapon in the course of the offense or if the victim suffered a serious bodily injury, then the defendant may be sentenced to up to 10 years imprisonment. Finally, if none of the aforementioned aggravating conditions apply, the defendant may be sentenced to up to five years imprisonment upon conviction.
Hiring a top criminal defense attorney to defend you in any interstate stalking prosecution is crucial and will ensure that every viable defense is explored and utilized on your behalf. Federal Interstate Stalking lawyers at the Law Offices of Jeffrey Lichtman have successfully handled countless federal cases, exploiting holes in the prosecution's evidence to achieve the best possible result for our clients. Contact us today at (212) 581-1001 for a free consultation.