Before internet chat boards and social media took off, stalking meant following people around malls, shadowing them as they walked home from school, or sending mail to their homes without identifying information. Today, stalking encompasses the above but adds texting, using social media, sending mass emails to victims, and more.
It doesn't take much for people to get charged with stalking in Wichita, and Pratt Law, LLC understands. If faced with charges that you stalked an individual in person, over the phone, online or by use of transportation, the crime could be a simple misunderstanding. Convictions for this crime are serious and could be enhanced if additional crimes were committed.
Discuss your case with an experienced criminal defense attorney by calling (316) 262-2600 immediately and learn about all of the legal options available to you.
What are Stalking Laws in Kansas?
Kansas Statutes Annotated places stalking under Crimes against Persons , statute 21-5427. According to the statute, stalking is defined as:
- A targeted course of conduct that would place an ordinary person in fear of their safety, or the safety of their family while the person is experiencing such fear;
- Engaging in conduct knowing such conduct will place the targeted individual or their immediate family in fear; and
- Violating a protective order by engaging in conduct designed to strike fear in the targeted individual or their family.
“Conduct,” as defined in 2 and 3 above, consists of:
- Any act of communication, whether verbal, through the mail, telegram, telephonically or through digital mediums;
- Injuring the targeted person's pet or the pet of their immediate family;
- Placing objects on the target's property, or requesting a third person do so;
- Causing property damage to target's residence or that of their family;
- Being in close proximity to where the target may be, including school, work, home or anywhere they're known to frequent;
- Threatening target's safety or that of their family; or
- Confronting, approaching or following the target or their family.
Penalties for Stalking
If convicted of stalking, defendants could face hefty fines and extended jail time. Penalties, according to law, are as follows:
- If convicted under subsection (1) above, a Class A person misdemeanor is charged unless other conditions apply; subsequent offenses are a Level 7 person felony.
- If convicted under subsection (2) above, a Class A person misdemeanor is charged unless other conditions apply; subsequent offenses are a Level 5 person felony.
- If convicted under subsection (3) above, a Level 9 person felony is charged unless other conditions apply; subsequent convictions are charged as a Level 5 person felony.
In addition, those convicted of stalking may have an indefinite restraining order against them. There might be classes ordered, additional fines, and restitution if property was damaged. Pratt Law, LLC can give clients an overview of what sentences could apply to their situation.
Defenses to Stalking in Wichita
Some activities may appear criminal, yet the defendant had no intention to cause another to feel violated. Knowing how quickly texts and simple acts of following may be taken out of context, your stalking attorney will raise strong defenses, such as:
- Constitutional right to stalk. Defendants may have had the right to follow public figures, politicians or other major community figures to build their story, or as part of a project.
- The case lacks stalking elements. Prosecutors must convince juries beyond doubt that any one element of stalking was present to secure a conviction. Cases without the required elements must be dismissed.
- Reasonableness. Victims may accuse defendants of stalking under false pretenses, or acted unreasonably when claiming the defendant put them in immediate danger.
- Coincidental encounter. It's not uncommon for two people to take similar paths to work, stores or other public places. If the defendant has no intimate knowledge of the victim, all elements described under 21-5427 would be invalidated.
- Mental disorder. If the defendant has any documented psychological disorder that prevents them from making rational choices even with medication, this defense may survive if their actions are uncontrollable.
- False report. Victim outright lied about their encounter out of vindictiveness or while under the influence. Under this defense, victim could become defendant once case gets dismissed.
- Social profile hacked. Prosecution must prove the social profile belonged to the defendant, or was controlled by the defendant, when stalking took place. It's not uncommon for social profiles to be hacked by individuals worldwide; as such, it must be proven by IP address of computer or phone that the individual stalked during the alleged period.
Any defenses above may require defendants to provide proof of location during the incident. Law enforcement and prosecution may corroborate your evidence, which will lead the state to dismiss charges. Note the above defenses are not exclusive or guaranteed; your attorney may have others.
Aggressive Defense When You Need It Most
Defending cases of stalking takes experience and the ability to find intelligent methods to defend the accused. How well you're represented in and out of court may determine the outcome of your case.
Call us at (316) 262-2600 to schedule a confidential consultation to discuss your case today.