Stalking Charges Defense
Houston Stalking Charges Defense Lawyers :: The Law Office of Matthew D. Sharp
Stalking charges in the state of Texas can result in serious consequences. Stalking or aggravated stalking accusations are often instigated by a divorce, breakup or personal dispute. Anyone that is confronted with stalking allegations should immediately speak with an experienced criminal defense lawyer.
Accusations of Stalking
Allegations of stalking can result in immediate arrest if a law enforcement officer determines that it’s reasonable to believe that a crime was committed. The claims of an accuser are powerful, empowering a police officer to assume that a full investigation would reasonably conclude that a stalking violation was committed. It’s essential that stalking charges be investigated by an experienced stalking defense attorney.
Some actions that can result in a stalking conviction, according to the Texas Penal Code, if they are committed on more than one occasion are the following:
- The accused engaged in conduct that he or she reasonably believed would cause the victim to perceive the action as a threat of bodily injury or death to the victim, family member, significant other or household member
- Acting in a manner that caused a victim to know or believe that property damage was imminent
Chapter 12 of the Texas Penal Code defines the penalties that are available to punish a convicted stalker. A first stalking offense is a third degree felony, punishable by a prison sentence of between two and ten years and a fine of no more than $10,000. A second stalking conviction is a second degree felony, punishable by a prison sentence of between two and 20 years and a fine of no more than $10,000. A stalking conviction establishes a serious criminal record that can last a lifetime.
The prosecution is required to prove every element of a stalking charge in a court of law. This is a high legal standard for any prosecutor to attain. An experienced stalking defense lawyer will identify the weakest elements of the prosecution’s case to bring about a reduction in charges or case dismissal. A felony conviction can make it difficult for a defendant to gain access to professional licenses, employment opportunities and educational programs. A convicted stalker can also be stripped of their voting privileges and the right to own a firearm.