Stalking and Cyberstalking Defense in Raleigh, NC
Our Criminal Defense Lawyers at Hatch, Little & Bunn handle all Wake County stalking charges
Stalking is found under North Carolina General Statute 14-277.3A. When written, the North Carolina General Assembly recognized that stalking involves severe intrusions on a victim’s personal privacy. It is a crime that causes a long-lasting impact on the victim’s quality of life and creates a risk to the security and safety of the victim and others. The General Assembly went as far to say that this statute was enacted to hold stalkers accountable for a wide range of acts, communications, and conduct. Stalking is an aggravated level 1 misdemeanor.
A defendant is guilty of stalking if the defendant willfully on more than one occasion harasses another person without legal purpose or willfully engages in a course of conduct directed at a specific person without legal purpose and the defendant knows or should know that the harassment or the course of conduct would cause a reasonable person to do any of the following:
(1) Fear for the person’s safety or the safety of the person’s immediate family or close personal associates.
(2) Suffer substantial emotional distress by placing that person in fear of death, bodily injury, or continued harassment.
In a case of stalking, a course of conduct must be “Two or more acts, including, but not limited to, acts in which the stalker directly, indirectly, or through third parties, by any action, method, device, or means, is in the presence of, or follows, monitors, observes, surveils, threatens, or communicates to or about a person, or interferes with a person’s property.”
It is also important to note that ‘harassment’ is specifically defined conduct. North Carolina General Statute 14-277.3A defines harassment as “Knowing conduct, including written or printed communication or transmission, telephone, cellular, or other wireless telephonic communication, facsimile transmission, pager messages or transmissions, answering machine or voice mail messages or transmissions, and electronic mail messages or other computerized or electronic transmissions directed at a specific person that torments, terrorizes, or terrifies that person and that serves no legitimate purpose.”
These particular definitions are intricate to a proper defense. A skilled, trained, and proficient criminal defense attorney from Hatch, Little & Bunn can properly identify these issues and protect your rights.
Cyberstalking is an elaborate crime codified in North Carolina General Statute 14-196.3. It is a class 2 misdemeanor punishable by up to 60 days in jail. A defendant is guilty of cyberstalking, generally, if the defendant participates in some form of electronic communication for the purpose of harassing another. While Cyberstalking is similar to traditional forms of stalking, a sharp understanding of differences is absolutely necessary to a strong defense against the charge.
There are three forms of cyberstalking codified in North Carolina General Statute 14-196.3. The first version of cyberstalking occurs when a person transmits words or language in electronic mail or other form of electronic communication to threaten bodily harm to any person, physical injury to the property of another, or for the purpose of extortion. The second version occurs when a person repeatedly electronically mails or communicates to another for the purpose of abusing, annoying, threatening, terrifying, harassing, or embarrassing any person. The third form of cyberstalking arises when a person electronically mails to or electronically communicates with another and knowingly makes a false statement concerning death, injury, illness, disfigurement, indecent conduct, or criminal conduct of the recipient or any member of the recipient’s household or family. The communication must also be with the intent to abuse, annoy, threaten, terrify, harass or embarrass.
You need aggressive defense
There are significant issues that arise in the defense of a stalking or cyberstalking charge. Each case depends heavily on the facts and circumstances giving rise to the charge. The Criminal Defense Team of Hatch, Little & Bunn can walk you through these issues and mount the proper defense against the prosecutor’s argument. Call or contact our team today for a free consultation.