Top Dothan, AL Stalking Lawyers Near You

Stalking Lawyers | Dothan Office

430 West Main St., Dothan, AL 36301

Stalking Lawyers | Dothan Office

111 Adris Place, Suite 2, Dothan, AL 36303

Stalking Lawyers | Dothan Office

661 West Main Street, Dothan, AL 36301

Stalking Lawyers | Dothan Office

344 North Oates Street, Dothan, AL 36303

Stalking Lawyers | Dothan Office

185 North Oates Street, Dothan, AL 36303

Stalking Lawyers | Dothan Office

117 E. Main St., Dothan, AL 36301

Dothan Stalking Information

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Find a Stalking Attorney near Dothan

The Average Total Federal Prison Sentence for Stalking in Alabama

36.02 months*

* based on 2019 Individual Offenders - Federal Court sentencing in Alabama federal courts. See Sentencing Data Information for complete details.

What Is Considered Stalking?

Stalking, from a legal perspective, typically involves the offender intimidating, threatening, extorting, surveilling or otherwise harassing the victim in at least two or more instances.

Federally, the offender must either cross state lines in the commission of the crime, and use interstate commerce (including tools such as the telephone and the internet) are also applicable. Therefore, cyberstalking is also covered.

Are There Different Degrees of Stalking Charges?

Stalking is treated as a broad crime with penalties according to the severity of the crime, at the judge or jury’s discretion. Penalties are usually escalated by aggravating factors such as the victim being a minor, the victim being part of a protected group where the stalking charge is connected to a hate or bias crime allegation or a weapon or serious threat being made in the commission of the act of stalking.

At the state level, stalking charges are typically differentiated by formal degree and the punishments within state statutes. In some states, there are four degrees of stalking charges. Third and fourth-degree stalking are misdemeanor charges, while second and first-degree stalking are classified as felony offenses. The misdemeanor charges typically involve lesser threats with fewer victims, while the felony charges involve the use of a weapon, a victim under the age of 14 or the intent to cause reckless or serious harm upon the victim.

Can You Go to Jail for a Stalking Charge in Alabama?

Yes, you can go to jail if you are convicted of stalking, both at the federal level or at the state level. At the federal level, penalties range from up to five years incarceration (if the victim is not seriously injured, up to 10 years if they are) to a life sentence if death is the result of the stalking.

At the state level, stalking charges result in differing penalties depending on the degree the stalking charges are filed under. In some states, fourth-degree stalking can result in up to three years behind bars in county jail, a potential $500 fine and the option of a one-year probation period. By contrast, first-degree stalking charges, if successfully prosecuted, can result in a sentence of up to seven years in state prison as well as a fine of up to $5,000. If the guilty party is considered a repeat offender, this sentence can be escalated to life in prison. Most states follow a similar sentencing guideline for punishing the crime of stalking.

What Is the Difference Between Harassment and Stalking?

The primary difference between the offenses of harassment and of stalking is that the latter is based on a pattern or course of behavior, requiring at least two data points to proceed with legal charges. Harassment can be charged with only a singular act or offense, by contrast.

Is Online Stalking a Crime?

Online stalking, or cyberstalking, is considered a serious crime. Often lumped in with stalking more broadly, cyberstalking is perhaps even easier to prosecute at the federal level given that one of the requisites — interstate communication or commerce — is almost necessarily involved.

Several states, with California being the first in 1999, have enacted their own cyberstalking laws. Florida, Illinois, Texas, New York, Massachusetts and Missouri have also adopted relevant statutes to their own books.

Have You Been Arrested and Charged With Stalking?

Stalking is a serious criminal offense, and if convicted you could spend years in prison. If you are facing stalking charges you should contact a defense attorney as soon as possible.

To be convicted of stalking, you must threaten, harass or bully someone, causing fear or intimidation. Your behavior must indicate a pattern of stalking. Whether your conduct amounted to stalking is subjective. Your attorney can explain the laws prohibiting stalking and prepare your defense to the charge.

How Can an Attorney Help With a Stalking Charge?

If you are facing stalking charges, retaining legal counsel in order to protect yourself from the allegations is the first order of business. A skilled criminal defense attorney can help to craft the best case possible.

Stalking charges are quite serious, and the penalties for those convicted can be quite severe, sometimes involving a lengthy prison sentence and steep fines. A conviction means a criminal record if you do not already have one, and so it is important to consult experienced and skilled legal representation.

An attorney can often resolve your particular legal issue faster and better than trying to do it alone. A lawyer can help you navigate the legal system while avoiding costly mistakes or procedural errors. You should seek out an attorney whose practice focuses on the area of law most relevant to your issue.

Top Questions to Ask When Hiring an Attorney

  • How many years have you been practicing law? How long have you practiced law in the local area?
  • How many cases similar to mine have you handled in the past?
  • What is the likely outcome for my case?

In legal practice, experience matters. An experienced attorney will likely have handled issues similar to yours many, many times. Therefore, after listening to your situation, the attorney should have a reasonable idea of the time line for a case like yours and the likely resolution.

How to Prepare for Your Initial Consultation

Prepare for your consultation by writing down notes of your understanding of the case, jot down questions and concerns for the attorney, and gather your documents. Remember that you are trying to get a sense of whether the attorney has your trust and can help you address your legal issues. Questions should include how the attorney intends to resolve your issue, how many years he/she has been practicing law and specifically practicing in your area, as well as how many cases similar to yours the attorney has handled. It can also be helpful to broach the subject of fees so that you understand the likely cost and structure of your representation by a specific attorney and/or legal team.

Points to Consider Before Hiring a Lawyer

Experience. Regardless of the type of legal matter you need help with, an experienced attorney will usually be able to get you better results.

Competence. Determine an attorney’s expertise by asking about their track record for the issue you need help with resolving.

Fit. There are plenty of good attorneys out there; make sure you find one you are comfortable working with.

Common legal terms explained

Personal jurisdiction – Requirement that a particular court have authority over a person, in order to bind that person to the judgment of the court, based on minimum contacts. International Shoe Co v. Washington is a landmark Supreme Court case outlining the scope of a state court’s reach in personal jurisdiction.

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