Felony Stalking and Sex Offenses: A Look at a Recent California Case

A recent story that's made the news involves a California woman who plead guilty to stalking, in exchange for prosecutors dropping charges of certain sex offenses and other crimes.

The story highlights how stalking and sexual offenses often show up together in a criminal case, which has implications for the kinds of charges people might need to deal with.

In this situation, the woman was angry and had struck out against a husband and wife who had purchased a home that she had wanted to buy. Among the actions she undertook was to put up ads online that invited men to come to the house and rape the wife.

Ultimately, she wound up pleading guilty to felony stalking (instead of facing other charges that include solicitation for rape and sodomy). In addition to a decade-long no-contact order, she now faces a year of house arrest and five years of probation; violating the terms of her sentencing will result in prison time.

Felony stalking in California

In California, stalking involves willfully harassing or following someone while threatening them, with the intention of causing them to fear for themselves or their family. (Penal Code 646.9)

Prosecutors can opt to charge you with misdemeanor or felony stalking. A charge of felony is automatic only if you have a previous conviction for stalking or if you're violating the terms of a protective order. Otherwise, prosecutors will make the choice between misdemeanor and felony based on the details of your case and your criminal background.

Stalking and sex crime penalties

Stalking might involve a sexual component, such as in the case described here with the woman placing false Internet ads. The threat communicated during stalking could involve rape or other sexual crimes.

In some situations, felony stalking could also result in the perpetrator getting listed as a sex offender (in addition to the more standard penalties of prison time, fines, and/or probation). The woman who placed the false Internet ads didn't receive this penalty, but it's a possibility - for example, if prosecutors show that stalking gave you some kind of sexual gratification.

Stalking and sex offenses might go hand-in-hand, making you vulnerable to a variety of criminal charges. Given the potentially serious penalties for stalking and for various sex offenses, it's critical that you contact an experienced attorney to defend you.

When it comes to stalking, for example, the charge against you might prove unwarranted; maybe people misunderstood your behavior, or maybe the threats you issued were jokes or weren't credible (meaning, there was no way you could have acted on them). Your attorney can also fight for you to receive one charge rather than another, and push for less severe penalties.

Contact the Law Office of Nic Cocis

Whatever the case is, we work as dedicated legal advocates for people in the Temecula, Murrieta, Lake Elsinore, Hemet, Menifee, Winchester, Corona and Riverside areas. What's more, you work directly with an experienced attorney, committed to your best interests and to your fair treatment in court.

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