Orange County Sex Crimes Defense Attorney Published by Orange County, California Criminal & DUI Defense Lawyers
Rancho Cucamonga defense attorneys know that it's the cases involving celebrity stalking that tend to get the most ink.
Trial Attorney Houman Fahkimi understands that in some of those cases, there might be some underlying mental illness or other issue that is likely to blame.
The most recent case to make headlines involves Actress Mila Kunis, who was alleged to have been stalked by a 27-year-old man.
According to The Los Angeles Times, the man had already been convicted of stalking after he reportedly broke into a vacant home that the actress owned and proceeded to live there for a time. He also made repeated phone calls in an effort to try to obtain her personal information.
He pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge of unauthorized entry of a dwelling. As part of the plea agreement, he was told he had to stay away from her for the next three years.
But he has been arrested again - this time for stalking in violation of a restraining order. Kunis reported the man waited for her outside her gym three days in a row.
This time, he's being charged with a felony, and if convicted, he faces up to four years behind bars.
While this case has been garnering a great deal of attention, what Rancho Cucamonga stalking defense attorneys realize, however, is that it's far more common for stalking charges to emerge as a result of domestic situations or involving someone in your workplace and even increasingly, someone you have met or interact with online - also known as cyberstalking.
California Penal Code 646.9 addresses the issue of stalking. Basically what that breaks down to is that a person feels threatened or harassed to the point where they fear for their own safety or their family's safety.
Of course, this crime is quite serious, and California has some of the harshest penalties on the books, due to incidents involving Hollywood starlets back in the 1990s.
Unfortunately though in many situations, a lot of stalking allegations are overblown or sometimes outright false. This is a crime that can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony, usually depending on the discretion of the prosecutor.
It used to be that a first-time stalking offense was going to be an automatic misdemeanor. Now, however, it will be an automatic felony if the accused committed the stalking offense while in violation of a protective order (as is alleged in the Kunis case) or if the defendant was convicted of stalking that same person within the past seven years and they made a threat of violence.
If the charge is filed as a felony, the defendant is looking at a possible four-year prison sentence.
All that said, there are several possible avenues that an experienced attorney might take in order to fight the allegations, including arguing that a reasonable person wouldn't have been in fear upon hearing your threat or that it wasn't actually a threat or that you were exercising your right to free speech.
Additionally, if you are falsely accused, attorneys can comb through all available evidence to help clear your name.