Missouri Stalking Statute
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Stalking, R.S.Mo. 565.225, is a crime that makes a person feel threatened simply by another’s continued, menacing presence. It can be difficult to charge a person because, unlike assault or another violent crime, there generally are no overt threats or other type of physical contact. If you have been charged with stalking, it can have a major, adverse impact on your life. Contact a St. Louis criminal defense attorney to learn what sorts of defenses exist in fighting this serious charge.
“Harassment” is a key element in any stalking charge. It is defined as “course of conduct directed at a specific person that serves no legitimate purpose, that would cause a reasonable person under the circumstances to be frightened, intimidated, or emotionally distressed.” While this sounds somewhat straightforward, there is some ambiguity in this charge. A “reasonable person” could interpret certain conduct in different ways, especially if there is no overt threat. And “legitimate purpose” also has some room for interpretation. A St. Louis criminal defense attorney will force the state to prove this element and force them to remove all reasonable doubt from a jury’s mind.
There is also the crime of aggravated stalking. This is stalking that includes:
- A credible threat
- At least one of the acts constituting the course of conduct is in violation of an order of protection and the person has received actual notice of such order
- At least one of the actions constituting the course of conduct is in violation of a condition of probation, parole, pretrial release, or release on bond pending appeal
- At any time during the course of conduct, the other person is seventeen years of age or younger and the person harassing the other person is twenty-one years of age or older
- He or she has previously pleaded guilty to or been found guilty of domestic assault, violation of an order of protection, or any other crime where the other person was the victim.
This is a more serious crime and is actually a felony charge. Stalking is a Class A misdemeanor while aggravated stalking is a Class D felony. If you have previous convictions for stalking, it will be a Class C felony. Because subsequent penalties are more severe, it is important to hire a St. Louis criminal defense attorney after the first charge to prevent the convictions, and penalties, from piling up.
St. Louis criminal defense attorney Richard R. Lozano has been handling cases involving theft since 1994. He puts this experience to work for you, aggressively fighting any and all criminal charges you may face. He has helped clients in St. Louis City, St. Louis County, Jefferson County, St. Charles County, and Franklin County facing serious felony charges and has worked to get them the best possible outcomes for their respective cases.
For a free consultation regarding your stalking charge or for any felony charges you may be facing, contact St. Louis criminal defense attorney Richard R. Lozano today at (314) 456-4567.