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Aggravated Stalking in Illinois: Understanding the Legal Landscape
Stalking is a serious offense in Illinois, but the state law also recognizes a more severe form of stalking known as “aggravated stalking.” This offense includes additional elements that make it more serious than standard stalking charges. In this article, we will delve into what constitutes aggravated stalking under Illinois law, the penalties for conviction, and potential legal defenses.
Illinois Statutes on Aggravated Stalking
720 ILCS 5/12-7.4 – Aggravated Stalking
The Illinois statute that governs aggravated stalking is 720 ILCS 5/12-7.4. According to this statute, a person commits aggravated stalking when they stalk another person and:
- Cause bodily harm to the victim.
- Confine or restrain the victim.
- Violate a protective order, such as an order of protection, civil no contact order, or stalking no contact order.
For the full text and most current details, you can read the statute here: 720 ILCS 5/12-7.4 – Aggravated Stalking.
Key Components of Aggravated Stalking
- Stalking Behavior
At its core, aggravated stalking includes the same elements as standard stalking, which involves following or surveilling someone without their consent, usually with the intent to cause them emotional distress.
- Additional Aggravating Factors
What distinguishes aggravated stalking from simple stalking are the additional elements that heighten the offense. These can be physical harm to the victim, confinement, or a violation of a court-issued protective order.
The prosecution must prove that the offender not only committed the stalking behavior but also intended to cause the additional harm or legal violations that make the offense “aggravated.”
Penalties for Aggravated Stalking in Illinois
Aggravated stalking is generally considered a Class 3 felony in Illinois, which comes with severe penalties:
- Imprisonment: 2 to 5 years
- Fines: Up to $25,000
- Probation or conditional discharge: Up to 4 years
However, these penalties can vary depending on prior criminal history, the presence of a deadly weapon, and other circumstances.
Possible Legal Defenses
- Lack of Intent: If it can be proven that the defendant had no intent to cause harm, then the aggravated stalking charge may be reduced to a lesser charge or dismissed entirely.
- Consent: If the defendant can prove that the supposed victim gave consent for the behaviors in question, then a conviction is less likely.
- Mistaken Identity: As with any criminal charge, proving that the accused is not the person who committed the offense is a valid defense.
- Inadequate Evidence: A lack of evidence that sufficiently proves all elements of the offense can result in dismissal of the charges.
- Violation of Rights: If the evidence was obtained in a manner that violated the defendant’s constitutional rights, it might be deemed inadmissible, weakening the prosecution’s case.
The Importance of Retain Qualified Legal Representation
Given the severity of the penalties involved and the complexity of the legal definitions, anyone charged with aggravated stalking should seek legal representation immediately. An experienced attorney can evaluate the evidence, develop a strong defense strategy, and advocate for the best possible outcome.
Aggravated stalking is a serious offense under Illinois law, with strict penalties for those convicted. The offense involves not only stalking behavior but also additional elements that make it more severe, such as physical harm or legal violations. With imprisonment, hefty fines, and long-term legal repercussions at stake, understanding the law and securing competent legal representation is crucial for anyone facing these charges. For any legal concerns related to aggravated stalking, consult our experienced attorney and refer to the most current version of the Illinois Aggravated Stalking statute.
Aggressive Chicago Criminal Defense Lawyer with Decades of Experience
Over the past two decades, David L. Freidberg has gained a dearth of knowledge on the Illinois Compiled Statutes Criminal Code, evidence, rules of criminal procedure, and the U.S. Constitution. David L. Freidberg strives to combine his training, experience, skills, and passion for serving vulnerable communities to provide clients with unparalleled representation. To schedule a free consultation, contact The Law Offices of David L. Freidberg 24/7 at (312) 560-7100 or toll free at (800) 803-1442.
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