Few things are more unsettling than the feeling that you are being watched or your privacy is being violated. As such, stalking is considered an egregious offense in many instances. However, when you are the one facing charges, you may be unsure where to turn. If you have been charged with stalking, understanding the penalties you can face for this offense is critical. The following blog explores what you should know about these matters and why it’s in your best interest to connect with an Oklahoma City felony defense lawyer to explore your legal options and discuss potential defenses for your circumstances.

What Is Stalking?

In Oklahoma, stalking is defined as the willful, malicious, and repeated following or harassment of another person that would cause a reasonable individual to feel frightened, intimidated, molested, or harassed. There are different kinds of actions and behaviors that can constitute stalking under state law. Examples include, but are by no means limited to the following:

  • Showing up to the workplace or home of the victim
  • Photographing or videotaping the victim
  • Contacting the person’s friends, family, co-workers, or neighbors
  • Repeated and incessant phone or electronic communication
  • Leaving objects for or mailing items to the victim
  • Maintaining a close physical or visual proximity to the victim
  • Following them, including using a GPS or other monitoring device

What Are the Penalties for This Offense?

Previously, a first-time stalking offense in Oklahoma was charged as a misdemeanor, while subsequent offenses within a certain time frame were charged as a felony. However, the laws have changed in past years, and now you can face a felony offense if convicted of stalking for the first time. In addition, the penalties increased, so offenders can face one to three years in prison for a first-time charge instead of less than one year.

If there is an order of protection in place, you are currently on probation or parole, or you receive a second charge within ten years against the same victim, the penalty increases to the potential for up to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $20,000

Are There Any Defenses I Can Utilize?

When you are charged with stalking, doing what you can to protect yourself and your rights is critical. As such, you should connect with an experienced attorney to explore the potential defenses that may be applicable to your circumstances.

One option is to prove the victim’s fear was not reasonable. For example, there may be no previous threats or that it was never your intention to induce fear, you may be able to reduce or avoid charges. However, you should not try to do this on your own and instead place your case in the hands of an experienced criminal defense attorney.

At the Jones Firm, PLLC, we understand how overwhelming it can be to face a felony offense. That’s why our team is committed to doing everything in our power to fight for the best possible outcome for your circumstances. Connect with us today to learn how we can assist you.