According to the New Hampshire criminal code, stalking occurs when a person “purposely, knowingly, or recklessly engages in a course of conduct target at a specific person which would cause a reasonable person to fear for his or her personal safety or the safety of a member of that person's immediate family, and the person is actually placed in such fear”. NH RSA 633:3-a, I (a).
A stalking offense can be an issue in both civil and criminal court. Our experienced team of attorneys can represent you in either your civil or your criminal proceeding.
Stalking issues arise in the civil context when the person alleging stalking behavior files a stalking petition in either Circuit Court or Superior Court. If the stalking petition is granted, the petitioner will receive a stalking order. A stalking order is very similar to a protection order. The difference between a stalking order and a restraining order is subtle yet important. A restraining order normally involves a current or prior romantic relationship between the parties. Conversely, if your friend is following you around town and making you nervous and there has not been any prior romantic relationship, it would appropriate to obtain a stalking order. A stalking order usually orders the accused not to come near the plaintiff, threaten or harass the plaintiff, and any other terms that the court may set.
If a civil stalking protection order is granted against you, it will not necessarily result in criminal charges. If you violate the terms of the stalking order, then you can be arrested and charged with violating the order.
It is important to note that the decision made against you in civil court can have an effect on your criminal case if you are facing charges arising from the same alleged stalking behavior. Not all persons who file for a stalking order also press criminal charges against the offender. However, if criminal charges are filed, then the order granted by the judge can be used against you in the criminal proceeding. For example, if during your civil hearing you admit to criminal acts, that information can be used against you in your criminal trial. This is why it is absolutely vital that you contact a criminal defense lawyer for civil stalking issues. While the penalties are not as severe as a criminal conviction, the proceedings can have a collateral effect on other legal issues. We can evaluate your civil case and provide you with a plan moving forward.
A Criminal Defense Attorney on Criminal Context
Persons who are accused of stalking can have criminal charges filed against them. A charge for stalking can arise if a person places a person in fear for their personal safety by engaging in conduct that would place a reasonable person in fear. Criminal charges can also be filed if a person violates the terms of a previously granted stalking order. Stalking can take place in person or via more sophisticated means such as "cyberstalking." The use of Facebook or other types of social medial have become a fertile ground for litigation because quite often people will complain that someone has posted threatening, menacing or harassing information on their web page. The legal issues surrounding cyberstalking can be quite complex, another good reason to contact our experienced criminal defense team.
Stalking is classified as a Class A misdemeanor. Persons who are convicted of criminal stalking can face up to one year in jail and/or be forced to pay a $2,000 fine. If you have been charged with criminal stalking, you need to retain a criminal defense lawyer to represent you in your legal proceeding.
A Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Help
If you have been charged with stalking or if a person has filed for a stalking order against you, contact our criminal defense lawyers for assistance. We will represent you in either your civil or criminal proceeding or both.
Contact the Law Office of Chadwick-Fricano-Weber to discuss your case. Call us at (603) 880-6100 to schedule an initial consultation.