Stalking is a crime that is taken seriously in North Carolina. If you have been charged with this criminal offense, you will need the help of a skilled lawyer to help put together a strong defense. Facing charges like these can be scary and disorienting. They have the ability to derail your future, and they can mar your reputation for years to come. In North Carolina, stalking is a class A1 misdemeanor, which places it in the same category as assault inflicting serious injury and assault with a deadly weapon. If you already have a stalking conviction on your record, subsequent stalking charges are a class F felony, which can come with steep fines and jail time upon conviction, not to mention the impact they will have on your social relationships, financial future, career, and housing prospects. If you are facing criminal charges for stalking, contact a Charlotte criminal defense lawyer.
Stalking is a Violent Crime, Even When it Does Not Involve Physical Contact. North Carolina law defines stalking as following, observing, monitoring, or communicating with a person while aware that your doing so will cause them emotional distress. Stalking can include repeated incidents of harassment and intimidating behavior, even if they do not include overt threats of physical harm. Stalking often occurs in the context of domestic violence; in most criminal cases involving stalking, the defendant is the estranged spouse or former romantic partner of the victim. Therefore, the law treats stalking as an early stage of domestic violence and imposes penalties accordingly.
What kinds of communications counts as stalking? You have probably seen scary movies where a stalker physically follows a victim or figures out where a victim will be in order to plan an attack. Today, there are so many ways to stay in contact, and it is easy to imagine how all of them can turn ugly. Just as schoolyard bullies can now continue their bullying on What’s App, and Internet trolls spread ugly rumors on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Tik Tok, stalking can take place through any means of communication.
For example, if you continuously contact your ex in person, or by phone, text message, email, or social media message, you could be charged with stalking. You can even get charged with stalking if you are not the one who placed the phone call, sent the text message, or posted the images on Facebook. If you instruct a third party to communicate to or about the victim in order to cause the victim to feel fear or distress, this is enough to result in stalking charges, and those charges can land you in jail.