Stalking In The Third Degree: NY Penal Law 120.50

by ECL Writer
Stalking In The Third Degree

There is more to stalking than merely bugging someone. It entails persistently and seemingly obsessively talking with or pursuing another person to the point where that person feels threatened emotionally, mentally, or physically. Following, calling, using GPS to track, emailing, and texting are all examples of stalking behavior. Moreover, it may entail visiting a person at work or messaging a person via a third party. Stalking in New York is a frequent domestic violence-related crime. Celebrities like basketball players, actors, and singers experience it. Wives, husbands, and ex-girlfriends are involved in domestic violence situations where it occurs. And make no mistake—it might happen to you or you may be the one unjustly detained and charged as a defendant. Stalking in the third degree is one of two stalking charges that are misdemeanors. Under New York Penal Code § 120.50 you will be charged with stalking in the third degree if you do one of the following:

  • Repeatedly follow, track, or communicate with another person in a way that makes that person think that you might physically harm that person or in a way that causes mental or emotional harm.
  • Show up at another’s business, or communicate with that person at his or her business such that you put his or her job, business, or career at risk.

And,

  • You stalk 3 or more different people on at least 3 separate occasions; or
  • Within the prior 10 years, you were convicted of one of several specific predicate crimes, and the stalking victim and the predicate crime victim were the same or the predicate crime victim was a member of the stalking victim’s family; or
  • Intending to annoy, harass or alarm the victim, you engage in a course of conduct that is likely to cause that person to fear that you will physically harm, kidnap, commit a sex offense, or commit the crime of unlawful imprisonment against him or her or that person’s immediate family; or
  • Within the last 10 years, you have been convicted of stalking in the fourth degree under New York Penal Code § 120.45.

Example

For a week, a man contacts his ex-girlfriend 10–20 times every day. On occasion, he leaves voicemails threatening to visit her home if she doesn’t answer his calls. Unless this guy has previously been found guilty of stalking in the fourth degree, or he has previously been found guilty of a predicate offense against the ex-girlfriend or a member of the ex-family, girlfriend’s he cannot be charged with stalking in the third degree. If not, the man would probably face charges of fourth-degree stalking.

Penalties And Punishment

If you are found guilty of third-degree stalking, which is a Class A misdemeanor, you might face up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine. Moreover, you can receive a 3-year probationary period instead of a jail sentence.

Defenses

The prosecutor must prove both that you committed the crime of stalking and that you did so to multiple people, or that you have a history of stalking or sexual assault, in order for you to be found guilty of stalking in the third degree. For instance, if the prosecution can only prove that you may have stalked one or two individuals, they lack the proof necessary to prove stalking in the third degree.

New York Penal Code § 120.50: Stalking In The Third Degree

A person is guilty of stalking in the third degree when he or she:

  1. Commits the crime of stalking in the fourth degree in violation of § 120.45 of this article against three or more persons, in three or more separate transactions, for which the actor has not been previously convicted; or
  2. Commits the crime of stalking in the fourth degree in violation of § 120.45 of this article against any person, and has previously been convicted, within the preceding ten years of a specified predicate crime, as defined in subdivision five of § 120.40 of this article, and the victim of such specified predicate crime is the victim, or an immediate family member of the victim, of the present offense; or
  3. With intent to harass, annoy or alarm a specific person, intentionally engages in a course of conduct directed at such person which is likely to cause such person to reasonably fear physical injury or serious physical injury, the commission of a sex offense against, or the kidnapping, unlawful imprisonment or death of such person or a member of such person`s immediate family; or
  4. Commits the crime of stalking in the fourth degree and has previously been convicted within the preceding ten years of stalking in the fourth degree.

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