When you hear the word “stalking,” you may picture a mysterious person lurking in the shadows outside of homes or following unsuspecting people around throughout their day. While this is true, there are many ways in which someone can commit an act of stalking. As such, it’s important to understand what actions warrant a charge in Georgia and the penalties those convicted can face. If this reflects your circumstances, you’ll want to keep reading to learn more and discover why you must connect with a Cobb County criminal defense lawyer to explore your legal options through these matters.

What Does the Law Say About Stalking in Georgia?

In Georgia, stalking occurs when there are repeated and consistent instances that cause another person to grow fearful of the perpetrator. Because this is a broad definition, there are many instances that can warrant a stalking charge. These include, but are not limited to following, surveilling, or contacting someone as a means of intimidating and harassing them. This contact does not have to be in person but can occur electronically via phone, email, text message, or any other device. It is also considered stalking if someone violates a court protective order or even sends unwanted gifts to their victim.

However, you can also face an aggravated stalking charge if you display a weapon, the victim is under 18 and you are at least 5 years older than them, or you make a credible threat against the person or their immediate family.

How Does Georgia Penalize This Offense?

A first-offense stalking penalty is charged as a misdemeanor in Georgia. However, if it is a first-time aggravated stalking charge, you will face more intense penalties. This is elevated to a felony offense with a minimum of one year in prison but the potential of up to ten years behind bars. You can face the same sentence for a second offense.

In addition to the criminal charges, you can face social repercussions, as your friends and family may no longer want to interact with you. Additionally, criminal charges can lead to you losing your job.

What Should I Do if Charged?

Not only can you face criminal charges and potential jail time, but you’ll also find that being labeled as a stalker can have intense repercussions on your personal and professional life. As such, it’s imperative to understand that you must contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible to explore your legal options during these matters. An attorney can help you determine whether or not there are any defenses that may work in your favor to help you reduce or even avoid a conviction.

At the Miller Law Practice, we understand how overwhelming facing a criminal charge can be. That’s why our dedicated legal team will explore all possible avenues to help you through these challenging times. Connect with us today to explore what you must know about these complex times.