Stalking is a felony in Massachusetts. Massachusetts General Law Chapter 265 section 43 defines stalking. The statute of limitations for stalking is 6 years. Anyone charged with stalking faces serious penalties.
Anyone charged stalking charge needs the best stalking lawyer in Massachusetts. A criminal defense attorney can develop the best defense. An attorney can walk you thru each step in the criminal process. A criminal lawyer can talk to the prosecutor and negotiate a plea deal that actually works.
What is Stalking in Massachusetts?
Five elements make up stalking. All five elements must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
- That over a period of time the defendant knowingly engaged in a pattern of conduct or series of acts directed at the victim;
- A reasonable person would suffer substantial emotional distress because of Defendant’s acts.
- The victim was seriously alarmed or annoyed by the defendant’s actions:
- That the defendant’s acts were willful and malicious.
- Defendant threatened the victim with the intention of placing the victim in imminent fear of bodily injury or death.
Willful and malicious acts are done intentionally and without justification or mitigation. Also, any reasonable person would have foreseen the consequences. Willful and malicious acts are acts done on purpose. If it was unintentional and by mistake, it is not malicious. Negligent acts are not malicious.
A defendant is guilty of stalking if they communicate a threat in any way. The stalking statute does not limit or exclude any way a person may communicate a threat.
Defenses to Stalking
There are many legal defenses to stalking cases. A criminal lawyer can develop the best defense. There are many legal defenses to stalking charges in Massachusetts.
Yes, there may be legal defenses to stalking charges, although it ultimately depends on the specific circumstances of the case. Some common legal defenses to stalking may include:
- Lack of intent: Stalking requires that the accused had a specific intent to harass or intimidate the victim. If the accused did not have this intent, it may be a defense to the charge.
- Consent: If the victim consented to the accused’s behavior, it may be a defense to the charge. However, it’s important to note that consent must be freely given, and the victim must have the mental capacity to give consent.
- Lack of evidence: The prosecution must prove the elements of stalking beyond a reasonable doubt. If there is insufficient evidence to prove one or more of the elements of stalking, it may be a defense to the charge.
- Self-defense: If the accused believed that they were in danger and engaged in stalking behavior to protect themselves, it may be a defense to the charge. However, the accused must be able to show that the stalking behavior was necessary to protect themselves from harm.
- Constitutional violations: If law enforcement violated the accused’s constitutional rights during the investigation or arrest, it may be a defense to the charge.
It’s important to note that these defenses are not guaranteed to be successful in every case, and it’s essential to consult with a qualified criminal defense attorney if you are facing stalking charges.
Massachusetts Criminal Attorney
Patrick Donovan is a MA. criminal attorney. He is a former prosecutor. He uses his prosecutor training and experience to get the best result for each of his clients.
Attorney Donovan has tried many criminal cases. Also, he has favorably resolved many others.
Attorney Donovan’s office is located in Quincy. He has appeared in over fifty criminal courts in Massachusetts.