People that are desperate to make contact with an estranged romantic partner or family member do not always make good decisions and, unfortunately, could be charged with stalking. While stalking is often considered a misdemeanor, in certain circumstances, a person may be charged with aggravated stalking, which is a felony that carries substantial penalties. If you are faced with stalking charges, it is in your best interest to meet with a lawyer to assess your options for protecting your rights. Sam Bernstein of ArborYpsi Law is a dedicated Ann Arbor criminal defense attorney who is proficient at helping people charged with crimes obtain successful outcomes. If you hire him, he will work diligently on your behalf. Mr. Bernstein regularly defends people charged with aggravated stalking in Ann Arbor and cities throughout Michigan.Aggravated Stalking Under Michigan Law
In Michigan, stalking is defined as a deliberate and repeated course of conduct that constitutes harassment of another person. To be considered aggravated stalking, the victim must be under the age of eighteen, and the actor must be five or more years older than the victim. Further, the harassing behavior must not only cause the victim to feel terrorized, intimidated, harassed, threatened, or frightened but also be behavior that would elicit such emotions in a reasonable person. Even two separate acts that demonstrate a similar purpose can constitute a course of conduct.
Any behavior that involves repeated contact of the victim without their consent in a manner that causes emotional distress, which is significant mental suffering that may require medical attention, and that would cause a reasonable person to experience such distress, is considered harassment. Notably, however, acts that are lawfully undertaken or are protected by the state or federal constitution are not considered harassment.
Unconsented contact is defined as contact with the victim without their consent or despite their specific request not to be contacted constitutes. Examples of unconsented contact include following someone, going up to them in a public or private place, going to their home or workplace, calling them by phone or sending them an email or mail, or delivering objects to them.
Aggravated stalking is considered a felony punishable by up to five years in prison and fines of up to $10,000, or both a fine and imprisonment. The courts can sentence people convicted of aggravated stalking to probation for up to five years as well, during which they will be prohibited from contacting the victim or stalking anyone else.Defenses to Aggravated Stalking Charges
People charged with aggravated stalking do not have to demonstrate their innocence or offer any evidence of defenses at trial. In some cases, though, it may benefit them to set forth arguments in their favor. For example, the State has to prove each element of the charged crime beyond a reasonable doubt in order to obtain a guilty verdict. If the State fails to establish any element of aggravated stalking, the defendant may be able to argue that they should not be convicted. Additionally, people charged with aggravated stalking may be able to argue that the alleged victim wrongfully identified the defendant, either intentionally or accidentally, or that the victim’s account of what transpired is not truthful. Other defenses may be available as well, depending on the facts of the case.Talk to an Experienced Ann Arbor Lawyer
Actions that may seem inconsequential may result in aggravated stalking charges that carry substantial penalties. If you are accused of aggravated stalking, it is crucial to retain an attorney as soon as possible. Sam Bernstein of ArborYpsi Law is an experienced Ann Arbor criminal defense lawyer who takes pride in helping people fight to protect their rights and reputation, and if he represents you, he will advocate aggressively on your behalf. Our office is located in Ann Arbor, and we regularly represent parties in criminal matters throughout Michigan, including cities in Ann Arbor, Dearborn, East Lansing, and Flint. You can contact us through our online form or by calling us at (734) 883-9584 to set up a confidential and free conference.