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Penal code section 646- Stalking


The California penal code section 646 states that if someone, willfully, maliciously and follows or harasses another individual and makes a credible threat with the intention of inciting reasonable threat regarding his/her security or that of their family’s then, the person should be held guilty of stalking. In order to successfully establish that the suspect should be punished for breaching the regulations of the penal code section 646, the prosecutor must prove the following:

· The defendant has maliciously, unlawfully, and willfully repeatedly followed the victim and harassed him/her.

· The defendant issued a credible threat to sow the seeds of reasonable fear in the victim’s mind about his/her personal safety or for the wellbeing of their immediate family.

It is important to remember that the law of California will negate the charges of defying the penal code 646 if the accused stalked someone as the result of a constitutionally protected activity.

For example, if someone from the media constantly follows a celebrity to seek his/her opinion for a controversial byte which despite the latter’s objection about the same. Similarly, if there’s a case of domestic violence and one partner constantly stalks the other after he/she has left the home with the intent to pester and cause harm to the former. Or, if someone the victim met at the bar gets hold of her number from somewhere and starts stalking her day in and day out and threatens that if his attempts to develop a bond aren’t reciprocated, he will make sure that she or her family faces the wrath.

Penalties:

Stalking in California is a "wobblier" crime, meaning it one can be charged wither on the ground of misdemeanor or felony, depending on the level of contact, the chain of incidents, and the criminal history of the convict.

· If one is found accountable for violating the rules of PC 646 as a misdemeanor, then he will be sentenced to one year of imprisonment in County jail.

· On the other hand, if the person is convicted of a felony, he could be sent off for 16 months, two or three years to the state prison, and pay a humungous amount as fine.

Because the crime of stalking seldom qualifies as a felony, it is not controlled by the "Three Strikes" law. Nevertheless, if the stalking involves repeated harassment, it will diminish the legal status of the defendant's immigration purposes and his professional license might also get ceased temporarily. If the court so desires, it can generate orders for the guilty to stay away from the victim under all circumstances. If he/she is found willfully disobeying this command, it would open doors to the violation of another law.

Potential defenses:

Being trapped in a false case of stalking can be extremely draining and traumatizing. Therefore, before things start slipping out of your hand, get in touch with an experienced and trustworthy criminal defense attorney to help you find your way with the case by proficiently validating the defenses.

· The identity of the victim was mistaken

If your lawyer can prove that you were stalking the victim only because you thought he/she was someone else, the accusations made against you will no longer be valid.

· The accusations were false

If somebody deliberately wanted to malign your image by pressing false charges then you will be acquitted.

· The threat was not credible

The fear that stemmed in the mind of the victim from your threats was neither sustained nor credible. The threat could have been made to be treated as a joke and nothing serious.

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