Every year in the United States over 3 million people become victims of stalking. This can be an extremely disturbing experience for the victims, so most states come down hard on stalking charges and Louisiana is no exception!
A conviction for stalking in Louisana can have serious consequences. It could affect your ability to work, your personal relationships, and usually results in jail time. So if you’ve been arrested for stalking you need to get legal advice from an expert as soon as possible.
Want to know more about stalking charges in Louisiana and what to do if you’re facing them? Then you’re in the right place! Read on to find out everything you need to know.
Definition of Stalking in Louisiana
Criminal law regarding stalking is outlined under Louisana’s legal code 14:40 section 2.
This describes stalking as the repeated harassment or following of a person or persons. Stalking involves harassment that willfully and maliciously makes the victim or victims fearful. They may fear for their lives or feel at risk of violence.
Usually stalking takes place over an extended period of time and involves repeated incidents. These may occur at the victims’ homes, in their work environments, or in public spaces. 46% of victims reported receiving unwanted contact at least once a week.
In more recent years, more cases of cyber-stalking have also come to light. This means that it is possible to stalk and harass someone without coming into contact with them in person.
What Are Louisianna’s Stalking Charges?
Stalking convictions in Louisiana comes with very serious penalties. These can be more or less severe depending on your criminal history.
A first time stalking conviction results:
- A $1000 fine
- Up to 1 year in jail
However, if a dangerous weapon is involved, you will face a fine and a minimum of one year in prison. If you are convicted of breaking a stalking injunction, such as a restraining order, you will face:
- Between 90 days and 2 years in jail
- Fines of up to $5,000
The age of the stalking victim also affects the severity of a conviction. Anyone over the age of 13 who is convicted of stalking a child of 12-years-old or younger faces:
- 1 to 3 years in jail
- Fines of $1,500 to $5,000
Repeat convictions receive more severe punishments. A second conviction with 7 years of your first one will result in:
- 180 days to 3 years in jail
- Fines of up to $5,000
A third conviction within 7 years will result in:
- Between 2 and 5 years in jail
- Fines of up to $5,000
In addition to any fines, you may also have to cover the court costs of your case. If you are living in the United States with a green card or on a visa, a stalking conviction can be grounds for deportation.
If you have been charged with stalking in Louisiana, what you do next is extremely important. Let’s take a look at what you should do to help get your charges reduced or dropped.
Getting Legal Advice and Support
The first thing you should do if you are charged with stalking is to seek legal representation. Stalking cases and trials are extremely sensitive matters. This is why it is important to seek guidance from someone who understands how they work.
An experienced lawyer will be able to review your case and the charges against you. They will then be able to advise you on the best defense strategy moving forward.
This may involve fighting the charge completely, pleading guilty to a different crime, or trying to get the charges reduced to make a deal. It is important that you are totally honest with your lawyer about any activity you have been involved with. This will help them to make as strong a defense as possible.
Provide as Much Information as Possible
All criminal convictions and trials require evidence to support them. Because of this, it is important to provide as much information to your lawyer as possible.
- Information about your relationship to the alleged victim
- Evidence of any interactions you have had with them
- Character witnesses to testify for you
The more information that you can provide to demonstrate your actions and whereabouts the better.
Your lawyer will probably want to go through every stalking incident that the alleged victim has brought as evidence. If you can, try to find a record of where you were at the time of each incident.
This can help your lawyer to find any recordings of these incidents if they took place in a public space. Of course, it could also provide you with a valuable alibi and get the case thrown out!
Respect the Restrictions
Once a charge of stalking has been brought against you, the court will automatically put some restrictions in place. These will prevent you from making contact with the alleged victim.
It is important that you respect these restrictions in person, online, and over the phone. Making repeated contact with the victim after this time will paint you in an extremely bad light. It may also result in further charges being brought against you.
Instead, you should take a step back and let your lawyer handle things. They will manage communications with the court and the victim’s legal team. That way you present yourself as someone who is respectful and compliant, which will go a long way in court!
Get Help With Stalking Charges Today!
If you have been charged with stalking in Louisiana, it is important that you seek legal advice and support as soon as possible. An experienced lawyer will be able to go through the charges with you and will represent you and your interests in court.
For more help, get in touch with a member of our team today!