Aggravated Stalking is perhaps one of the most overcharged crimes across the state of Georgia. When someone says "aggravated stalking" your mind (as it should) likely goes to a few places. Taking secret photographs, repeatedly driving by someone's work, taking pictures of their home, following them, placing repeated phone calls, harassment on social media or at work. Classic stalking scenarios and that is exactly what they are - stalking - a misdemeanor. Well how does regular stalking get upgraded to aggravated stalking? Let's take a look at the law and then explore an example of how prosecutors most commonly use the aggravated stalking statute.
The Law - O.C.G.A. § 16-5-91
A person commits the offense of aggravated stalking when such person, in violation of a bond to keep the peace posted pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 17-6-110, temporary restraining order, temporary protective order, permanent restraining order, permanent protective order, preliminary injunction, good behavior bond, or permanent injunction or condition of pretrial release, condition of probation, or condition of parole in effect prohibiting the behavior described in this subsection, follows, places under surveillance, or contacts another person at or about a place or places without the consent of the other person for the purpose of harassing and intimidating the other person.
What The Law Means
Essentially, if you are ordered to have no contact with someone and then you have contact with that person for the purpose of harassing and intimidating you can be charged with aggravated stalking. There are many ways that you can be prohibited from contacting someone:
- Bond to Keep The Peace
- Temporary or Permanent Restraining Order
- Temporary or Permanent Protective Order
- Preliminary or Permanent Injunction
- Good Behavior Bond
- Condition of Probation or Parole
- Conditions of Pre-Trial Release
The law says that if you contact anyone in violation of these conditions for the purpose harassing and intimidating that purpose you can be convicted of aggravated stalking.
The classic example, and one that is common in both throughout the Coweta judicial circuit (Carroll, Coweta, Troup, Heard, and Meriwether) is as follows:
Suspect is arrested for misdemeanor battery-family violence for allegedly striking his live-in girlfriend and mother of his child. Following his misdemeanor arrest, suspect bonds out and is ordered to have no contact with the alleged victim, his girlfriend.
Shortly after bonding out, the suspect contacts the alleged victim. Aggravated stalking, however, requires the contact with the alleged victim to be for the purpose of harassing and intimidating. Prosecutors can be quite aggressive with what they define as harassing and intimidating and that is why it is critical to have a defense attorney on your side.
A defense attorney can sit down with you, discuss the details of the indictment against you, and help you form a viable defense.
Anyone convicted of aggravated stalking faces a sentencing range of one year to ten years in the state penitentiary. Following a conviction a judge may also consider the defendant's entire criminal history and possibly order the defendant undergo a mental evaluation. At the time of sentencing, the judge is authorized to issue a permanent restraining order against the offender to protect the person stalked and the members of such person's immediate family, and the judge is authorized to require psychological treatment of the offender as a part of the sentence, or as a condition for suspension or stay of sentence, or for probation.
If you have been charged with aggravated stalking then don't fight the charges alone. Contact us, come meet Ryan, let him learn about your case, and let's get started fighting the charges.