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Here in the state of Nevada, the crime of stalking
is a very broad category that could encompass anything
from misdemeanor conduct all the way up to felony conduct that
can subject a defendant up to 15 years in state prison.
The way the law is written is, that if you play somebody
in a reasonable apprehension or terror,
or you harass them repeatedly, you
could be charged with stalking.
The decision as to whether to file
stalking as a felony or misdemeanor depends
upon what type of threat is alleged to have been made.
So if it's just a pattern of harassment,
most likely the charge would be a misdemeanor stalking charge.
If there's a history of having a prior conviction for stalking,
the charge can be filed as a gross misdemeanor.
If there is a threat of death or great bodily harm,
you could be charged with a felony stalking
that could carry a penalty of up to 15 years in state prison,
Nevada also has an enhanced stalking provision
if you utilize the internet.
It requires that you would send text messages or emails
in a manner that would according to statute,
substantially increase the risk of harm,
which is kind of hard to understand.
But it does elevate what might otherwise
be misdemeanor stalking into a felony stalking.
And it carries a sentencing range
of one to five years in prison.
Just because someone accuses you of stalking however,
doesn't mean that the state's going
to have an easy time proving stalking.
A lot of the time the charges come from someone
that you have a legitimate dispute or argument with.
So they might have some motivation
to trump up some false allegations against you.
Usually when a stalking charge comes
and I speak to my clients, they have a different side
of the story.
And they say, well they're saying I did this to them,
but look at what they did to me.
They might be able to show me text messages
or play me phone recordings.
Or show emails that show that the other party was engaged
in a pattern of harassment over them.
And the law doesn't say that the victim is the first person that
reports the incident to law enforcement.
It could be that someone would make an allegation against you
for stalking because they fear that you might
be making a similar allegation.
So we're going to want to look into all of the factors that
gave rise to the charges in order
to determine who the bad actor may have been.
Additionally, stalking cannot include conduct that would come
within the gamut of free speech.
So if you're contacting somebody to express your opinion
on a matter, that's a First Amendment right
to express your opinion.
And you cannot be convicted of stalking someone
if you're merely exercising your first amendment right to free
Additionally, let's say you were in a relationship,
and you broke up with your partner.
And you left your belongings at their house
and you're trying to contact that person
for the purpose of arranging to get your belongings back.
Well, you have a right to get your belonging back.
So if you contact that person telephonically or your send
them text messages or emails saying,
hey, I need to come by and get my stuff.
That would not constitute stalking,
if your behavior was reasonable under the circumstances.
So there are a lot of things that we
want to look at in terms of the history between two
individuals that might give rise to these types of charges,
in order to assess whether or not the state is likely to meet
its burden in proving a stalking charge.
If our client has no criminal history,
has never been charged with anything before,
there's a really good chance that we're
going to be able to negotiate a favorable disposition
for our clients, which could include a reduce charge,
or dismissal of the charges altogether.