Stalking is a serious offense which could cost you your freedom. It is particularly difficult if the alleged victim is someone you care about. If you are facing a difficult charge like this contact us for a consultation.
Stalking – Definitions
There are some terms used in Georgia stalking law that are important to understand when facing a serious charge like this.
Contact: Refers to reaching someone, not only in person, but also by phone, broadcast, mail, or computer.
Harass or Intimidate: Causing the victim emotional distress by putting them in fear of their (or their family’s) safety, by establishing a pattern of harassing and intimidating behavior for no legitimate reason.
Sometimes what you think is a “legitimate” reason, will not be seen that way by the court.
There are a few ways you can be found guilty of stalking.
1. You have committed the offense of stalking if you have put someone under surveillance or contacted them without their permission in an effort to harass or intimidate them.
2. You have also committed stalking if you, in violation of a restraining order, probation or parole terms, or against any order of the court limiting contact with the victim, post or disseminate information of the alleged victim in a manner which causes them to receive harassment or intimidation from others.
Example: If you are under court order to not contact or harass an ex-girlfriend, but post her photo, telephone number, address, or any other information that causes her to receive harassment from someone else you can be found guilty of stalking.
This applies to posting information on the internet, via broadcast (radio or television) or through any print publication.
If charged with stalking, it will be a misdemeanor for your first offense and you will face up to $1,000 in fines and up to 1 year in prison.
If this is your second or subsequent offense, you will be charged with a felony and face from 1to10 years in prison.
The judge will probably order a psychological evaluation before sentencing and will more than likely order a permanent restraining order for the victim and his or her family. Depending on the results of your psychological evaluation, you may be sentenced to psychological treatment as well.
*Also, if you are convicted stalking and it is your second or subsequent offense, your picture along with some of the basic details of your conviction will be published in the local county of your conviction. Typically this publication is ran in the local newspaper.
You may be found guilty of aggravated stalking if you put someone under surveillance or contact them in violation of a protective order (temporary or permanent), restraining order (temporary or permanent), probation, parole terms, or preliminary or permanent injunction.
In other words, if you have been ordered by the court to stay away from this person and not contact them, but continue to harass them you have committed aggravated stalking.
Aggravated Stalking – Penalties:
Aggravated stalking is a felony. If you are convicted you will be facing not less than 1 year and not more than 10 years in prison. You will also be facing fines up to $10,000. As with stalking, the judge will probably order a psychological evaluation before sentencing and will more than likely order a permanent restraining order for the victim and his or her family. Dependant on the outcome of the evaluation, psychological treatment may be a condition of your sentence.
*Also, if you are convicted of aggravated stalking, your picture along with some of the basic details of your conviction will be published in the local county of your conviction. Typically this publication is ran in the local newspaper.
**Important: You do not have to threaten the victim to be convicted of stalking or aggravated stalking.