A story dropped this morning about a Rockdale County Deputy who has been charged with stalking. No details have been released yet, but apparently a complaint was filed with the Office of Professional Standards on May 19th.
An internal affairs investigation has been reported to have been turned over to the Criminal Investigation Division.
As a Georgia Criminal Defense Lawyer, I'd like to focus today's post on Georgia Law.
Stalking in Georgia
Everyone is familiar with the term “stalking,” but Georgia Law defines stalking in Georgia as:
“A person commits the offense of stalking when he or she follows, places under surveillance, or contacts another person at or about a place or places without the consent of the other person for the purpose of harassing and intimidating the other person.” O.C.G.A. §16-5-90.
The term "contact" in the statute includes any communication including communication in person, by telephone, by mail, by broadcast, by computer, by computer network, or by any other electronic device; and the place or places that contact by telephone, mail, broadcast, computer, computer network, or any other electronic device is deemed to occur shall be the place or places where such communication is received.
The term "place" in the statute includes any public or private property occupied by the victim other than the residence of the defendant.
The terms ”harassing” and “intimidating" mean a knowing and willful course of conduct directed at a specific person which causes emotional distress by placing such person in reasonable fear for such person's safety or the safety of a member of his or her immediate family, by establishing a pattern of harassing and intimidating behavior, and which serves no legitimate purpose.
Stalking in Georgia is classified as a misdemeanor. If found guilty or convicted of stalking, a person faces a sentence of up to twelve months in jail. If convicted, a judge may require the defendant to get a psychological evaluation and may order a permanent restraining order to protect the victim.
Aggravated Stalking in Georgia
Stalking is elevated to aggravated stalking in Georgia when a person, in violation of a bond to keep the peace posted pursuant to Code Section 17-6-10, temporary restraining order, temporary protective order, permanent restraining order, permanent protective order, preliminary injunction, good behavior bond, or permanent injunction or condition of pretrial release, condition of probation or condition of parole in effect prohibiting the behavior described in this subsection, follows, places under surveillance, or contacts another person at or about a place or places without the consent of the other person for the purpose of harassing and intimidating the other person.
Aggravated stalking in Georgia is defined by O.C.G.A. §16-5-91. In addition to the statute above defining stalking, aggravated stalking includes the following circumstances.
- The person displays a deadly weapon in the course of stalking
- The victim is less than 18 years-old, and the person is five years older or more than the victim
- The person has been previously convicted of stalking within a seven year time frame
- The person threatens the victim or the victim's family
Aggravated stalking in Georgia is classified as a felony. If found guilty or convicted of aggravated stalking, a person faces a sentence of one up to ten years in prison.
I would like to mention that there are circumstances in which someone does not try to commit aggravated stalking, but is guilty of the offense. If someone is on a special condition of bond or TPO, and they come in contact with the victim of the criminal offense or the filer of the TPO. Even if the victim of the criminal offense or the filer of the TPO consents to seeing that person, the person risks the charge of aggravated stalking in Georgia. If TPO, you'll need a Georgia Civil Lawyer to get it dropped. If a special condition of bond, you'll need a Georgia Criminal Defense Attorney to get the condition changed.
If you or a loved one has been accused of committing crimes against people in Georgia, you need to contact a top-rated Georgia Criminal Defense Lawyer as soon as possible. We can help build your defense strategy and apply whatever Georgia Criminal Defenses your case needs.