Columbia Stalking Lawyer

Stalking in Columbia is found in Section 1631700 subsection A of the South Carolina Code of Laws. Stalking is defined as a pattern of words, whether verbal, written, or electronic, or a pattern of conduct that serves no legitimate purpose other than to cause the targeted person to fear: death of a person or a member of this family, assault upon a person or a member of this family, bodily injury to the person or a member of this family, criminal sexual conduct on the person or a member of this family, kidnapping of the person or a member of this family, or damage to the property of person or member of this family.

Stalking is a felony offense, and if convicted, individuals could face up to five years in prison as a maximum sentence. There are different levels of stalking. The base levels of stalking are a felony and carry up to five years. There is also stalking when there is an injunction of a restraining order in place, which has greater penalties.

If you have been charged with stalking, a skilled domestic violence attorney could help you fight the charges. Reach out to a Columbia stalking lawyer to learn about your rights and options to avoid a conviction.

How an Individual Could Be Charged With Stalking

The most common behavior that could lead to stalking is if a person is calling someone repeatedly and leaving very specific messages that would fall under one of the definitions of stalking. For example, if the individual is leaving text messages and what they are saying in the text messages under that definition of stalking.

Most stalking offenses is done through following the other person, phone calling them, and texting them. If it is hanging out at someone’s house, it could be harassment, and there is a specific charge that falls under harassment. There are different degrees of harassment, but if it arises to the level of stalking, it could be someone following that person all the time or saying certain things.

A person could be charged with stalking over a misunderstanding. When the officer gets the complaint about the conduct, a full and complete investigation should be done. If a full and complete investigation does not happen, innocent people could be charged over a misunderstanding. An experienced Columbia stalking lawyer could review the facts of the case and determine whether the defendant has been mistakenly charged.

Consequences of a Stalking Conviction

The penalties a person may face if convicted of stalking is up to five years in prison as a maximum sentence. When there is an injunction or running order in place, stalking is a felony offense that carries a maximum sentence of ten years in prison. Harassment in the first degree is a misdemeanor offense that carries up to three years in prison as a maximum sentence. Harassment in the second degree is a misdemeanor offense that carries up to 30 days in jail if convicted.

Conditions in which the penalties for a stalking charge become more severe include an injunction or a restraining order, which triggers harsher penalties. A tenacious defense attorney could collect evidence and build a defense to help the defendant avoid a conviction.

Order of Protection

An order of protection is similar to the restraining order. It is when there is an order preventing one specific person from having any type of contact, indirect or direct, with another person.

If a person is convicted of harassment charges, there is a very strong likelihood that the judge may make the condition of the conviction that there is a no-contact provision. This means the person may have zero contact, either directly or indirectly with the alleged victim in the case. There would be an order of protection placed for such a charge, and there is no contact if there is a harassment conviction.

A diligent stalking attorney in Columbia could help individuals understand the difference between a restraining order and an order of protection, and how it may affect their case.

Let a Columbia Stalking Attorney Help

Those who have been charged with stalking should seek help from an experienced criminal defense attorney to help them defend their case. They know what to identify as far as the defense and how to build the best defense possible. The attorney could protect your rights and determine if your constitutional rights were violated. Lawyers are entitled to properly defend the person against the government, act as a shield between them and the government, and protect them from being taken advantage of when there is fault allegation.

Seek help from a Columbia stalking lawyer to get started on your defense. Schedule a consultation today.