Every year, about 7.5 million Americans are affected by stalking, according to Domestic Shelters. While women are more likely to become victims of stalking, men can become victims too. In most cases, stalkers know their victims. In fact, many stalkers are current and former intimate partners. The severity of stalking behaviors means that Louisiana courts tend to take allegations seriously.
When people think of stalking, they might consider the classic definition first and foremost; the stalker constantly shows up where the stalkee works and lives. On the other hand, stalking does not always happen like this. Stalking may include text messages, phone calls, and monitoring of online activities.
Unfortunately, many people are wrongfully accused of stalking or they may feel they have a strong defense against the allegations. A Louisiana criminal defense attorney may be helpful in this kind of case. Read on to learn more about stalking charges in Louisiana.
Physical Stalking Laws in Louisiana
Louisiana law defines stalking as willful, malicious, and repeated following or harassment of another person. The intent behind the actions is to induce fear of death or injury among other things. Stalking may also include vandalism of personal property.
The punishment for stalking comes with up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000 maximum. The penalty is often closer to one year in jail if a dangerous weapon is involved, but the penalty may be lower without weapons.
If somebody continues to stalk a person after the victim obtained a protective order, the defendant faces between 90 days and two years in jail. The maximum fines can be $5,000.
Repeated offenses invoke stricter penalties. A second offence may result with five or more years behind bars and fines maxing out at $5,000; a third offence can result in 10 or more years imprisonment.
Sometimes, physical stalking correlates with instances of domestic violence and abuse. Sometimes the charges may be combined, meaning you could face stalking charges in addition to those related to assault and battery.
Cyberstalking Laws in Louisiana
Cyberstalking refers to the use of electronic communications to threaten or harass an individual. For example, you might send harassing instant messages on Facebook or follow somebody around a message board, posting their personal information or threatening them.
The penalty for cyberstalking includes fines of up to $2,000. Individuals charged with this crime also face up to one year in jail. A second conviction within seven years means you face between 180 days and three years of imprisonment. You also face $5,000 in fines. Additional convictions lead to up to five years in prison.
Defense Against Stalking in Louisiana
If you are charged with a crime, you have the right to legal counsel to defend your rights in court. The burden of proof is on the prosecution, and your attorney will do their best to ensure you have a strong case.
Stalking is defined as willful, malicious, and repeated, according to Louisiana law. Your legal defense might revolve around the fact that your behavior involved just one action, not repeated events. You might also demonstrate that your behavior was not malicious and involved no physical threats.
Additionally, you might simply argue that the accuser is lying or that you are involved in a case of mistaken identity. While the accuser may be a victim of harassment or cyberstalking, you are not the perpetrator. With Internet crimes, defendants could be easily mistaken as a stalker based on faulty information.
If you are in need of a Baton Rouge attorney, contact Ezim Law Firm to discuss your legal options and the best scenario to protect your rights in court. You will be in good hands with a strong criminal defense attorney.