Stalking: One of the Most Common Criminal Accusations in Las Vegas
Las Vegas is known for its beautiful women, endless parties and around-the-clock gambling. The city buzzes with a high level of energy and a heightened sense of excitement. With all of the alcohol and partying, some people fear for their safety. As a result, charges of stalking are some of the most common criminal accusations in Las Vegas. Stalking is a type of harassment that makes people fear for their own safety or for the safety of their family.
The state of Nevada defines stalking as “A person who, without lawful authority, maliciously or willfully engages in a course of conduct that would cause a reasonable person to feel intimidated, frightened, terrorized, harassed or fearful for the immediate safety of a family or household member." A person may be accused of stalking even if they didn’t intend to cause fear, and sometimes a stalking accusation may originate out of spite or revengeful motives. Common examples of stalking include contacting a person too frequently without their approval or following someone on the street.
In a National Violence Against Women Survey, it was discovered that 8% of women had been stalked at some point in their lives, and that only 2% of men have been stalked. It can be assumed that men commit the majority of stalking crimes, and studies show that most stalking occurs between people who know each other to some extent. Less than one-fourth of women are stalked by strangers. Stalking is closely related to domestic violence because the majority of women are stalked by a former or current intimate partner. These women usually approach police authorities about stalking charges because they have been physically assaulted by their partners. A substantial 1/3 of women who have been stalked have also been sexually assaulted by their partners as well.
Most stalkers are not mentally ill, but many of them do suffer from other types of mental problems such as substance abuse, depression and personality disorders. The motivation for stalking another person usually stems out of hostile or angry feelings towards the victim, and is not primarily sexual. In the survey mentioned above, slightly more than half of female stalking victims reported their stalking to the police. If a stalking victim decides to contact police authorities, an investigation will be conducted and the victim may be eligible for a restraining or protective order.
When an individual is accused of stalking, he or she may be liable for serious charges that could affect their future. Many stalking cases in Nevada, especially Las Vegas, can be dismissed or reduced with the help of a skilled Las Vegas criminal defense attorney. If you have been wrongfully accused of stalking, you may be able to prove that the “victim" is lying about your behavior out of revenge or other wrongful motives. Some stalking charges can be dismissed because the actions of the accused person were constitutionally protected under freedom of speech and assembly. If you are accused and convicted of stalking, you may be face misdemeanor penalties such as a $1,000 fine or up to 6 months in jail. These penalties only grow more serious upon a second or third offense, and may even be tried as a felony offense if the stalking led to substantial bodily harm. Therefore, it is wise to contact a skilled defense lawyer as soon as you learn that you have been accused of stalking. Taking preventative action against your warrant is the key to avoiding serious penalties.