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Is Stalking and Harassment the Same Crime in New York?

 Posted on April 19, 2024 in Criminal Defense

NYC Criminal LawyerIn New York, stalking and harassment are two distinct crimes under the law. While both involve unwanted behavior that causes fear or distress to the victim, key differences exist between the two offenses. If you are facing criminal charges related to stalking, harassment, or both, hiring a seasoned criminal defense attorney is important to protect yourself against the worst-case scenario: a conviction of the charges you face.

With over ten years of law enforcement experience, Attorney Watford at The Law Firm of Gregory J. Watford, Esq., PLLC understands how criminal law works from both sides. Now, as an attorney, Mr. Watford possesses abundant experience and is ready and able to defend clients against various criminal charges, including those that involve stalking and harassment. 

The Crime of Stalking in New York

In New York, stalking is considered a grave crime characterized by a consistent pattern of behavior aimed at instilling fear or causing harm to another individual. The state's legal framework defines stalking as any repeated conduct targeted at a specific person that would reasonably lead someone to fear for their safety or the safety of others. This could encompass actions like following an individual, issuing threats, or other unwelcome activities that provoke fear or a sense of intimidation.

The Crime of Harassment in New York

On the other hand, harassment is a broader offense that involves a range of behaviors intended to annoy, alarm, or seriously inconvenience another person. Harassment can include following someone in a public place, making repeated phone calls or sending unwanted messages, or engaging in other behaviors that serve no legitimate purpose and are likely to annoy or alarm. 

Key Differences Between Stalking and Harassment in New York

An important difference between the two offenses is the level of fear or harm caused to the victim. Stalking usually involves a pattern of behavior that instills fear in the victim, while harassment may involve annoying or alarming behavior that does not create the same level of fear. 

Additionally, the penalties for stalking and harassment in New York differ. Stalking is considered a more serious offense and can result in felony charges, especially if the behavior involves threats of violence or something else. Meanwhile, harassment is generally charged as a misdemeanor but can still carry significant penalties.

Contact Our New York City, New York Criminal Defense Attorney

If you are facing charges, do not wait. Contact the skilled Manhattan, NY criminal defense lawyer with The Law Firm of Gregory J. Watford, Esq., PLLC. Call 646-580-6675 for a private consultation. 

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