There Are Defenses to Stalking Charges
Few crimes get the same attention from prosecutors and judges as stalking. Defendants facing accusations of stalking are seemingly presumed guilty until proven innocent.
Stalking Defenses in Michigan and Why You Need a Great Criminal Attorney to Defend You
Stalking is a very serious charge and one that can ruin your life if you are convicted of it. You need a highly experienced criminal defense attorney to defend against a staking charge. Judges and prosecutors will take these cases very seriously, and your only hope is to do the same. There are defenses to stalking charges in Michigan; however, it takes a skilled, savvy lawyer to persuade a judge, prosecutor, or jury that there is a legitimate defense to these highly charged alleged offenses.
Misdemeanor Stalking Charges in Michigan
To prove Stalking, a prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a defendant committed two (2) or more separate unwanted contacts, which would make a reasonable person suffer emotional distress because they felt terrorized, frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed, or molested.
Stalking can include: following or approaching someone, appearing at someone’s home or workplace, calling someone on the phone, sending emails, texts, or mail to someone, or even leaving items on someone’s property. Stalking is a misdemeanor and carries a jail term of 1 year in jail.
Aggravated Stalking is a Felony and Carries a Possible Five (5) Year Prison Sentence
To prove Aggravated Stalking, the prosecutor must prove that a defendant committed all the acts listed above for Stalking, and in addition to those acts, also violated a court order, or violated a restraining order, or committed the acts against someone they’ve lived with or someone in their family. Aggravated Stalking can also be charged if the alleged victim is under 18 years of age and the defendant was 5 or more years older than the victim at the time of the offense. Without expert criminal defense representation, jail and prison are often sentences imposed by judges in these cases.
How Can an Experienced Defense Attorney Defend Against a Stalking Charge?
An experienced criminal defense attorney will know how to challenge a Stalking charge. A defense will depend upon which type of actions a defendant allegedly committed. If it involves calling, texting, or emailing threats, for example, a highly experienced attorney will know how to obtain phone records and establish that you did not and could not have made the calls based upon records from the phone company or through a defense such as an alibi. If it involves following someone, again, your attorney can establish an alibi defense, or if you did cross paths with a complainant, that it was a mere coincidence and not intentional. A good lawyer can often show that the prosecutor is mischaracterizing an inadvertent or accidental contact.
A more complex defense, that only an experienced criminal defense attorney would know to raise, is to bring out testimony from the complainant and prove that there was no real intent to frighten, threaten, harass or terrorize the complainant. This may involve establishing the complainant is a “hyper-vigilant” or even a paranoid person through artful cross-examination. A seasoned criminal attorney will also know several psychology experts who can testify that based upon the facts, the complainant was over-reacting or imagining things when they felt frightened, threatened, harassed, or terrorized.
Another strong defense would be if your attorney could bring out testimony from the complainant or other witnesses that establishes the complainant is actually lying. A complainant may have many reasons for lying, and a reputable, experienced attorney knows how to show that a complainant is lying and what motives there may be for them lying. Motives could include extortion, a spurned lover situation, a desire to ruin someone’s reputation, cause them to lose a job, or a desire to impact someone’s life for any imaginable reason negatively.
Finally, in cases where the defendant cannot avoid a conviction, a seasoned, skilled defense lawyer may convince the prosecutor to reduce the charges or persuade the judge not to impose jail or prison as a sentence.
Top-Rated Defense for Stalking or Aggravated Stalking Charges
The dedicated, experienced, and zealous defense attorneys at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. have successfully represented thousands of clients on felony and misdemeanor charges in Oakland, Macomb, Wayne, Washtenaw, and Livingston Counties and throughout Southeastern Michigan. We have a well-earned reputation for providing the highest quality defense and aggressive representation, while showing empathy and care for each client.
Call us today at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation or complete a Request for Assistance Form. We will contact you promptly and find a way to help you.