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Stalking of a Minor

Stalking of a Minor

The act of repeatedly harassing a person in a manner that makes a person feel terrorized or frightened is called stalking. Stalking is a misdemeanor under Michigan state code, except in one condition:

If the alleged victim of stalking is under the age of 18 and five years younger than the defendant, then the crime becomes a felony.

Oakland County Stalking Defense Lawyer

A Michigan sex offense attorney can be your biggest ally. Let us be that ally by calling J. Dallo of Dallo Law, P.C.. Our managing attorney J. Dallo has spent years safeguarding the personal liberty and asserting the right to fair treatment in courts for his clients accused of sexual and domestic crimes. He understands how serious the ramifications of conviction, both in the legal and social sense. That is why he will stop at nothing to ensure that no stone is unturned when formulating the best possible defense for your charges.

Schedule your first free consultation with J. Dallo of Dallo Law, P.C. today at (248) 283-7000.
At the consultation Mr. Dallo will review the facts of your case and outline all your available legal options.

Stalking of a Minor

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The Elements of Stalking

Harassment and stalking are often used interchangeably. Under Michigan Penal Code 750.411h, they are not the same thing.

Harassment is defined as unwanted contact and conduct that makes a person feel emotional distress. This distress may come as a result of aggressive comments, repeated unwanted physical contact, or behavior online. In order to charge someone with harassment, the actions committed must not be for a legitimate purpose and must present the “reasonable person” with a state of mental distress.

Stalking is not the same as harassment. Stalking must be intentional and a course of repeated conduct that makes the victim reasonably feel:

  • Terrorized
  • Frightened
  • Intimidated
  • Threatened
  • Harassed or
  • Molested

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Stalking of a Minor

Stalking is a misdemeanor offense in the state of Michigan. However, the charge may be elevated to a felony if there is a large age discrepancy between the alleged victim and the accused. The exact requirements for stalking against a minor are the following:

  • The victim must be 18 years of younger
  • The victim must be 5 or more years younger than the accused

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Aggravated Stalking

In some cases, stalking charges may be elevated to an “aggravated” charge. This carries with it a felony conviction if found guilty, and requires one of the following conditions:

  • At least 1 action is in violation of a restraining order
  • At least 1 action is in violation of a condition of probation or parole
  • At least 1 action constitutes a credible threat to the victim, victim’s family or someone living with the victim
  • The accused already has one stalking conviction

The elevation of a stalking charge to “aggravated” may also be applied to stalking of a minor.

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Penalties for Stalking of a Minor in Michigan

The penalties for stalking and stalking of a minor are laid out in MPC 750.411h. Stalking may result in the following penalties:

  • Up to 1 year in jail and/or
  • Up to a $1,000 fine
  • Aggravated: Up to 10 years in prison and/or
  • Aggravated: Up to a $10,000 fine

However, because stalking of a minor is a felony offense, the penalties are significantly higher:

  • Up to 5 years in prison and/or
  • Up to a $10,000 fine
  • Aggravated: Up to 15 years in prison
  • Aggravated: Up to  a  $15,000 fine

Additional penalties may include:

  • Probation: A convicted stalker may be placed on probation for as much as 5 years. While on probation, the probitant will be required to refrain from contacting the victim, be evaluated and receive psychiatric care and refrain from stalking any person.
  • Sex Offender Registration: Stalking convictions, both aggravated and otherwise, may result in a required registration by the accused to the federal sex offender register. Placement on the sex offender registry has serious negative consequences, severely limiting one’s employment, housing and education possibilities. In addition, registration carries with it a strong social stigma and may impact one’s ability to make connections.

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Defense Strategies for Stalking of a Minor

The following are a few of the most common defenses for stalking charges. Because the key delimiter in a stalking of a minor case is the age discrepancy, the accused will need to show that his or her actions were not stalking.

Lack of Intent: Stalking charges often require proof that the accused intended to engage in a course of conduct that would reasonably cause another person to feel terrorized, frightened, threatened, or harassed. If there is evidence suggesting a lack of intent, it may be used as a defense.

False Accusation: The defense may argue that the allegations are false or exaggerated. This could involve presenting evidence that disproves the alleged stalking behavior or raises doubt about the credibility of the accuser.

No Pattern of Conduct: Stalking laws often require a pattern of conduct. If the alleged behavior was an isolated incident rather than a repeated pattern, it may be used as a defense.

Legitimate Purpose: The defense might assert that the accused had a legitimate purpose for the alleged behavior, such as contacting the person for work, school, or family-related reasons.

Consent: If there is evidence that the alleged victim consented to or welcomed the behavior, it may be used as a defense. However, this defense might not apply in all situations.

Freedom of Speech: The defense may argue that the accused’s actions were protected by the First Amendment right to freedom of speech. However, this defense may have limitations depending on the nature of the alleged conduct. In general, the accused will need to prove that the restrictions within stalking laws are overly restrictive.

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Additional Resources

What is Stalking? | SPARC – Visit the official website for SPARC–the Stalking Prevention, Awareness & Resource Center—to learn more about what stalking is. Access the site to learn what types of behaviors are considered to be stalking, statistics regarding stalking, and resources for victims.

Michigan Stalking Laws – Visit the official website for Michigan Legislature to learn more about the offense of stalking and harassment. Access the site to learn the definition of the two, penalties for committing the crime, penalty enhancements, and more.
File a Personal Protection Order Visit the Oakland County website to file a personal protection order and find information related to personal protection orders. PPOs are also known as restraining orders, and can be used to stop an individual from contacting and stalking you.

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Hire a Stalking of a Minor Defense Lawyer in Oakland County

Dallo Law, P.C. accepts clients throughout the greater Oakland County and Macomb County area including Pontiac, Troy, Waterford Township, Oakland Charter Township, Clarkston, Rochester Hills, Southfield, Clinton Township, Warren, Sterling Heights, Mount Clemens, Roseville, St. Clair Shores, Eastpointe, Romeo, and Utica.

Schedule your first free consultation with J. Dallo of Dallo Law, P.C. today at (248) 283-7000.

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