Is stalking a sex crime? You might think the answer is “no,” but in some cases, you could be required to register as a sex offender if you are convicted of stalking. Why? It depends on your motivation for committing the crime.
Under California Penal Code Section 646.9, stalking is any sort of willful conduct that is directed at a specific person that serves no legitimate purpose other than to seriously annoy, alarm, torment or terrorize that person. None of this sounds like a sex-related crime, so how could you end up having to register as a sex offender for a stalking conviction?
Punishment for Stalking (PC 646.9)
Stalking is a “wobbler” offense in California, meaning you could be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony for stalking depending on the circumstances of your case.
If you are convicted of misdemeanor stalking under PC 646.9, you face up to 364 days in county jail and fines of up to $1,000. The judge in your case could also issue a restraining order prohibiting you from making contact with the victim for a certain amount of time.
A felony stalking conviction carries a sentence of 16 months, 2 or 3 years in jail. In addition, you could be required to register as a sex offender for the rest of your life pursuant to California Penal Code Section 290. Sex offender registration is not automatically part of your sentence for felony stalking. Instead, it will be up to the judge in your case to determine whether he or she thinks registration is necessary.
Sex Offender Registration for Stalking
So, how does a judge in California determine if sex offender registration should be a part of your sentence? The judge looks at one important factor of your felony stalking conviction.
To be required to register as a sex offender for felony stalking, a judge must find that you committed the offense as a result of sexual compulsion or for the purposes of sexual gratification. If the prosecution cannot prove your motivation for stalking was sexual compulsion or gratification, you will not likely be required to register as a sex offender for life. That is why it is extremely important that you hire an attorney who can attempt to use valid legal defenses to the stalking charge and raise reasonable doubt that you meet the elements required of this crime that would require you to register as a sex offender under PC 290.
Contact the Sex Crimes Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich Today
If you or a loved one is facing stalking charges, you are facing potential jail time and the requirement to register as a sex offender. That is why you should contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer to help you fight these charges. At Wallin & Klarich, our experienced criminal defense attorneys have more than 35 years of experience successfully defending our clients accused of stalking. Our lawyers can help you obtain the best possible outcome in your case.
With offices in Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Victorville, West Covina, Torrance and Los Angeles, you can find a dedicated Wallin & Klarich stalking attorney available near you no matter where you work or live.
Call us now at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation. We will be there when you call.