Have you been accused of stalking someone in San Diego, CA? If so, you should seek legal assistance as soon as possible. Depending on the circumstances of the alleged conduct, you could be facing a felony with severe consequences.
A San Diego stalking defense attorney at Blair Defense Criminal Lawyers will passionately protect your legal rights. We have over a decade of experience helping accused individuals get their charges dismissed or reduced. We know California’s criminal justice system and have litigated thousands of cases against the toughest DAs.
For help defending yourself against stalking charges in San Diego, California, contact us online or call our law firm at (619) 357-4977. We offer a free consultation to listen to your version of events, provide honest legal advice, and explain the best path forward.
Table of Contents
How Can a Criminal Defense Lawyer Help If I’ve Been Charged With Stalking in San Diego, CA?
Stalking charges often fall under domestic violence offenses, which can encompass various crimes. Unfortunately, false accusations are common in these cases. The alleged victim may have ulterior motives, such as to shed the accused in a bad light for child custody reasons.
Whether your stalking charges are related to a domestic abuse matter or not, Blair Defense Criminal Lawyers can help.
Our San Diego criminal defense lawyers will:
- Gather strong evidence to defend you against the stalking charges
- Negotiate with the prosecution for a dismissal of the charges or a favorable plea deal
- Protect your rights in court and work towards an acquittal if it’s in your best interest
Call our San Diego stalking defense lawyers for a free initial consultation to learn more about creating an attorney-client relationship.
Overview of California’s Stalking Laws – 646.9 PC
Under California Penal Code 646.9 PC, you can be convicted of stalking if the prosecutor proves the following:
- You maliciously and willfully harassed someone OR maliciously, willfully, and repeatedly followed someone; and
- You made a credible threat, intending to make the person reasonably fear for their safety or the safety of their immediate family.
We’ll break down these elements below.
Maliciously, Willfully, and Repeatedly – Definitions
You act maliciously if you intentionally commit a wrongful act. Alternatively, this element is met if you act with an unlawful intent to injure, disturb, or annoy another person.
You act willfully if you do something on purpose. In other words, it wasn’t a mistake, against your will, or coincidental.
“Repeatedly” under the statute means you committed the act more than once.
What Is Considered Harassment Under 646.9 PC?
Harassing means that you willfully and knowingly engaged in a course of conduct aimed at a specific person that was meant to annoy, alarm, terrorize, or torment them.
A “course of conduct” means two or more acts over any period of time that demonstrate a continuous purpose.
What Is Considered a Credible Threat Under 646.9 PC?
A credible threat is a communication that causes the intended person to reasonably fear for their safety (or their immediate family’s safety). This will be evaluated based on the facts.
It must seem that you (the threatening person) are capable of carrying out the threat. However, it doesn’t matter if you actually intended to carry out the threat.
A credible threat can be verbal or written, including threats through electronic devices, such as cell phones and computers. It can also be implied through a pattern of conduct or a combination of conduct and statements.
Who Is Considered “Immediate Family” Under 646.9 PC?
The following are considered immediate family in a California stalking case:
- Grandchild by blood or marriage
- Grandparent by blood or marriage
- Sibling by blood or marriage
- Any person who lives in the threatening person’s household (or who regularly lived there within the last six months)
Additionally, if there was a restraining order in effect when the defendant allegedly stalked the victim, the defendant could face an additional charge for violating its terms.
What Are the Penalties for a Stalking Conviction in California?
Stalking is a wobbler offense in California, meaning it could be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony.
If you’re found guilty of misdemeanor stalking, you can face the following penalties:
- Up to $1,000 in fines
- Imprisonment in county jail for up to a year
- A combination of these punishments
If you’re found guilty of felony stalking – such as if you violated a protective order – you face:
- Up to $1,000 in fines
- Up to five years in prison
- A combination of these punishments
If you’re convicted of felony stalking, the court may also order you to register as a sex offender.
How Can I Defend Myself Against Stalking Allegations in San Diego, CA?
Several defenses may apply in a San Diego stalking case, including:
- You lacked the requisite intent to harass or follow someone – for example, it was unintentional that you were in the same place as the alleged victim
- You lacked the intent to cause the alleged victim fear – for example, you didn’t mean for your statement to frighten them
- The threat wasn’t credible – for example, you were joking, and any reasonable person would’ve realized it was a joke
- You were engaged in a constitutionally protected activity, such as a lawful protest or labor picketing
- Mistaken identity – for example, it wasn’t you who was following the alleged victim
- False allegations
Other options may be available, depending on the nature of the alleged stalking. A San Diego stalking defense attorney will evaluate the facts of your case to determine which defenses may apply.
Schedule a Free Consultation With Our San Diego Stalking Defense Attorneys
If you’ve been accused of stalking in San Diego, CA, contact Blair Defense Criminal Lawyers. Our San Diego criminal defense attorneys will devise an effective strategy to protect your rights and minimize the potential penalties associated with a stalking conviction in CA.
Areas We Serve in San Diego, CA
Carmel Valley, Del Mar Heights, Del Mar Mesa, Fairbanks Ranch Country Club, La Jolla, Pacific Highlands Ranch, Torrey Hills, Torrey Pines, University City, Bay Ho, Bay Park, Harbor Island, Liberty Station, Midway District, Mission Bay Park, Mission Beach, Morena, Ocean Beach, Pacific Beach, Point Loma (La Playa, Loma Portal, Point Loma Heights, Roseville-Fleet Ridge, Wooded Area), Shelter Island, Sunset Cliffs, Balboa Park, Bankers Hill, Downtown, Golden Hill, Hillcrest, Middletown, Mission Hills, Normal Heights, North Park, Old Town, South Park, University Heights, Alta Vista, Bay Terraces, Broadway Heights, Chollas View, Emerald Hills, Encanto, Jamacha, Lincoln Park, Lomita, Oak Park, Paradise Hills, Redwood Village, Rolando Park, Valencia Park, Webster, Black Mountain Ranch, Carmel Mountain, Rancho Bernardo, Rancho Encantada, Rancho Peñasquitos, Sabre Springs, San Pasqual Valley, Scripps Ranch, Torrey Highlands, Clairemont, Kearny Mesa, Mira Mesa, Miramar, Sorrento Valley, Allied Gardens, Birdland, Del Cerro, Grantville, Lake Murray, Linda Vista, Mission Valley, San Carlos, Serra Mesa, Tierrasanta, Barrio Logan, Grant Hill, Logan Heights, Shelltown, Sherman Heights, Stockton, Egger Highlands, Nestor, Ocean View Hills, Otay Mesa, Otay Mesa West, Palm City, San Ysidro, Tijuana River Valley, City Heights, College Area, El Cerrito, Kensington, Mount Hope, Mountain View, Rolando Village, Southcrest, Talmadge.