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What is Stalking in the Fourth Degree in New York?

In New York, Staking in the Fourth Degree, Penal Law Section 120.45, is a class B misdemeanor. Staking in the Fourth Degree may involve allegations of 3 different types. The Fourth Degree crime states: A person is guilty of Stalking in the Fourth Degree when he or she intentionally, and for no legitimate purpose, engages in a course of conduct directed at a specific person, and knows or reasonably should know that such conduct:

  • Is likely to cause reasonable fear of material harm to the physical health, safety or property of such person, a member of such person’s immediate family or a third party with whom such person is acquainted;
  • Causes material harm to the mental or emotional health of such person, where such conduct consists of following, telephoning or initiating communication or contact with such person, a member of such person’s immediate family or a third party with whom such person is acquainted, and the actor was previously clearly informed to cease that conduct; or
  • Is likely to cause such person to reasonably fear that his or her employment, business or career is threatened, where such conduct consists of appearing, telephoning or initiating communication or contact at such person’s place of employment or business, and the actor was previously clearly informed to cease that conduct

All 3 types of Stalking in the Fourth Degree that a person knows or reasonably knows that the alleged conduct has certain effects. This is an objective requirement that balances against the subjective fears or sensibilities of a complaining witness.

Stalking Lawyer in New York CityIf you or a loved one is charged with Stalking in the Fourth Degree, hiring a Stalking Lawyer in NYC is crucial in obtaining a favorable outcome.

Under the first type of Stalking in the Fourth Degree charges, the Stalking allegations do not require actual harm to a person’s physical, health, safety or property. All that is required is that it is likely that another person has a reasonable fear of material harm to any of the listed categories. Under the law immediately family usually means people that do or have lived together. The inclusion of the term or a third party makes the category very broad.

For the second type of Stalking in the Fourth Degree charges, “following” includes unauthorized tracking of a person’s movements or location through a global positioning system or any other device. Unlike the two other types of Stalking in the Fourth Degree there has to be actual harm as opposed to allegations that are likely to cause harm. This category of Stalking charges also requires that the person accused be previously warned not to continue the alleged conduct.

The third kind of Stalking in the Fourth Degree charges involve potential harm to a person’s career. Like the first category of Stalking in the Fourth Degree charges, the allegations do not require actual harm, only that it be likely to cause reasonable fear.

New York Stalking in the Fourth Degree Punishments

Stalking in the Fourth Degree is a class B misdemeanor. The maximum penalty is 90 days in jail. However, avoiding a criminal conviction altogether is if a person has no prior criminal convictions. Two possible plea bargains to Stalking in the Fourth Degree charges are a violation, either Harassment in the Second Degree or Disorderly Conduct, or an Adjournment in Contemplation of Dismissal. As part of any plea bargain, a prosecutor might include other conditions such as obeying an Order of Protection.

Both Harassment in the Second Degree and Disorderly Conduct are violations and are not considered criminal convictions and both charges eventually seal. However, if the allegations involve a relative or a person who was an intimate partner then the charge goes not seal. An Order of Protection, if part of the plea bargain, will be in effect for 2 years.

An Adjournment in Contemplation of Dismissal or ACD will be dismissed and sealed in either 6 months or 1 year. If the allegations involve a relative or a person who was an intimate partner then the charges will be dismissed and sealed in 1 year. The Order of Protection will typically be in effect for that entire period. If the allegations do not involve a relative or a person who was an intimate partner, then the charges will be dismissed and sealed in 6 months.

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If you or a loved one is charged with Stalking in New York City, we’re here to help.

Contact The Law Firm of Andrew M. Stengel

Contact us via the live chat below, through our contact form here, or call us at  (212) 634-9222. Initial consultations are free and confidential, and you will speak with Andrew M. Stengel directly.

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