August 14, 2013 By Wallin & Klarich

A skilled California criminal defense lawyer can present several potential defenses to a stalking charge including:

  • The threat was not credible.
  • A reasonable person would not have become fearful after getting the threat.
  • The threat could not be realistically or reasonably executed.
  • You were exercising your free speech such as participating in a rally or a protest.
  • You were mistakenly identified.
  • You were falsely accused by someone with an ulterior motive or by an individual such as a former spouse or partner who wanted to get back at you.

Evolution of California Stalking Laws


California’s stalking law was enacted after the murder of Los Angeles actress Rebecca Schaeffer, who was killed by her stalker in 1989, and the brutal physical assault on actress Theresa Saldana by a drifter that occurred in 1982. During the mid- to late-1980s, four women in Orange County were also murdered by former partners against whom they had restraining orders. In 1990, California became the first state in the country to pass a law against stalking (California Penal Code Section 646.9). After Schaeffer’s murder, California Legislature also enacted Vehicle Code Section 1808.21, which states that stalking victims or victims of criminal threats may request confidentiality in their DMV records.

Over the last two decades, California’s stalking laws have evolved. In the first three years in which the stalking law was enacted, stalking was a misdemeanor punishable by one year in county jail when no restraining order was in place. Now, a first-time stalker can be hit with a felony charge. If convicted of a felony, you can be sentenced to up to three years in a state prison. If a restraining order is in place, the sentence could be increased to four years in prison. If you have a prior felony stalking conviction, you could face up to five years in prison.

Man Charged with Stalking CNN News Anchor Anderson Cooper

A 40-year-old man was charged Aug. 8 with stalking and threatening CNN anchor Anderson Cooper. According to a UPI news report, the man, who has been identified as a psychiatric patient, is facing felony first-degree menacing and misdemeanor harassment and stalking charges. The man was apparently observed yelling obscenities and threats at Cooper. According to court papers, the alleged stalking and harassment began as early as 2008. Prosecutors said the man was told on numerous occasions to stop calling Cooper.

Why Wallin & Klarich

Stalking charges can have serious legal, professional and personal consequences. If you have been accused of stalking, it is crucial that you seek the counsel and guidance of an experienced California criminal defense attorney who will thoroughly review the charges against you, examine the evidence and work diligently to achieve the best possible outcome in your case.

If you are facing a stalking charge, the attorneys at Wallin & Klarich can help you. Our attorneys have more than 30 years of experience defending clients facing stalking charges and other criminal charges. Call (888) 280-6839. We will get through this together.

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