Harassment and stalking allegations are emotionally laden, complex charges to be facing at what is probably already an extremely difficult time in your life. In addition to whatever stressful situation led to the alleged criminal behavior in the first instance, you are now facing serious criminal charges. The Illinois legislature has passed extremely broad laws to curb harassment and stalking – sometimes overbroad. If you find yourself tangled up in this confusing and intricate web of laws, you need to talk to an experienced Chicago stalking defense attorney about how to defend against these charges.
Harassment in Illinois
Harassment in Illinois is defined as making an obscene or indecent comment or request to another with the intention to offend, threaten, or annoy them. It need not be face to face. You can be charged with harassment for telephone, email, text, and other communications. You can even be charged with harassment without speaking to the other person. For example, if someone repeatedly calls and hangs up on another without ever saying a word, that could rise to the level of harassment.
Penalties for Harassment
Although harassment charges can be brought for something as silly-seeming as prank phone calls, the potential legal consequences are not silly at all. If you are convicted of harassment, it is a Class B Misdemeanor that carries a possible jail term of six months and a fine of up to $2500. If you have a second conviction for harassment, it will be a Class A Misdemeanor, with a possible sentence of one year in jail and a fine of up to $2500. There are also rare occasions when a harassment charge can be brought as a Class 4 Felony. If you are facing felony harassment charges, it is critical to speak to an experienced harassment defense attorney immediately.
Stalking in Illinois
Stalking in Illinois is defined as following someone or placing them under surveillance at least twice, and also threatening to harm, sexually assault, or confine that person, or causing them to fear that you will do one of those things to them or a family member. If you already have a stalking conviction on your record, following someone just once is grounds for another stalking charge to be brought against you.
If you continue to follow somebody after being asked not to, they can claim to reasonably feel threatened by you. You can also be charged with stalking if you remain outside of somebody’s home for longer than ten minutes at any one time or for longer than 30 minutes total over a period of five or more visits in a 24-hour period. You can be charged with aggravated stalking if, while engaging in the behavior that led to the stalking charge, you harm or try to restrain the person you are accused of stalking, or when you are charged with stalking somebody in violation of a restraining order.
Penalties for Stalking
Stalking penalties are severe, as stalking is a Class 4 felony. Class 4 felonies carry a possible prison sentence of up to three years, as well as a fine of up to $25,000. If you have a prior stalking conviction, you will be charged with a Class 3 felony, carrying a possible prison term of five years as well as a fine of up to $25,000. Aggravated stalking is also charged as a Class 3 felony.
David Freidberg Law Can Help You
All harassment and stalking charges are different and arise out of their own set of underlying facts and circumstances. We are standing ready to discuss your case without judgment and help protect your rights. If you are in the Chicago or DuPage area and are facing harassment and/or stalking charges, call or email us now for a free consultation.