Matthew R. Meyer and Benjamin T. Van Severen are criminal defense attorneys who provide stalking defense throughout Wisconsin. Stalking is defined by section 940.32 of the Wisconsin Statutes. Stalking can be charged as a Class H, Class I, or Class F felony. What felony level a stalking charge is depends on a few circumstances. At criminal defense law firm Meyer Van Severen, S.C., we provide aggressive criminal defense representation. Contact our defense attorneys at (414) 270-0202 regarding your case.
For a Class I felony, all of the following must be the case:
a) The defendant intentionally engaged in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person under the same circumstances to suffer serious emotional distress or to fear bodily injury to or the death of himself or a member of his family/household; and
b) The defendant knew or should have known that at least one of the acts that constitute the course of conduct will cause the specific person to suffer serious emotional distress or place the specific person in reasonable fear of bodily injury to or the death of himself or a member of his family/household; and
c) The defendant’s acts cause the specific person to suffer serious emotional distress or induce fear in the person of bodily injury to, or the death of himself, or a member of his family/household.
Stalking could result in a Class I felony in a different way. All of the following must be true:
a) After having been convicted of sexual assault or domestic violence, the defendant engaged in a course of conduct, if the act is directed at the victim of the sexual assault or the domestic violence; and
b) The actor knew or should have known that the act would cause the specific person to suffer serious emotional distress or place the person in reasonable fear of bodily injury to or death of himself, or a member of his family; and
c) The act caused the specific person to suffer serious emotional distress, or induce fear in the specific person of bodily injury to, or the death of, himself or a member of his family.
Stalking can be a Class H felony if any of the following applies:
a) The defendant has been previously convicted of a violent crime.
b) The defendant has a previous conviction for a crime involving the same victim (domestic violence or sexual assault), and the previous violation occurred within 7 years.
c) The defendant intentionally gained access or caused another person to gain access to an electronic record that contains personal information regarding the victim, in order to facilitate the violation.
d) The person illegally intercepted wire, electronic, or oral communication, or used a pen trap or trap and trace device to facilitate the crime.
e) The victim is under the age of 18 years old at the time of the crime.
In the most serious cases, stalking can be a Class F felony if any of the following applies:
a) The act resulted in bodily harm to the victim or a member of the victim’s family/household.
b) The defendant has been convicted of a violent crime, and the victim is the same, and the previous crime occurred within 7 years.
c) The defendant used a dangerous weapon while carrying out the course of conduct.
For any of the above-listed crimes, the prosecutor does not need to show that the victim received treatment from a mental health professional/counselor in order to prove the victim suffered serious emotional distress.
Whether the victim actually suffered serious emotional distress is a factor that can be argued at trial. In order to show serious emotional distress the State needs to show that the victim felt terrified, intimidated, threatened, harassed, or tormented. An aggressive stalking defense attorney could cross-examine the victim aggressively and, if the facts support it, argue that the victim never experienced serious emotional distress. The jury must find you not guilty if it does not find support for the elements of the crime.
We understand the frustration you feel when charged with a crime. That’s why it can be important to have a skilled Milwaukee criminal lawyer on your side. Stalking charges carry with them a negative stigma in society, and our defense lawyers can provide you with aggressive representation while respecting the personal nature of the charges. If you need a Milwaukee stalking defense lawyer, contact Meyer Van Severen, S.C. at (414) 270-0202.