Among the criminal accusations that can leave a person facing the possibility of an extended time in prison is stalking. That is because, here in Wisconsin, when a person is charged with stalking, they are dealing with a felony charge.
Under state law, a stalking offense involving no special circumstances is a Class I felony. So, a conviction on the most basic type of stalking charge in the state can lead to a person facing a prison sentence of up to three and a half years.
Now, some stalking cases involve allegations that special circumstances were present in connection to the alleged stalking. Allegations of certain special circumstances can up the charge level of a stalking charge.
For example, if a stalking offense was committed against an individual under 18 or if access to an electronic record involving personally identifiable information related to the victim was used in furtherance of a stalking offense, the felony level of the stalking offense goes up from Class I to Class H. The maximum prison sentence for a Class H felony conviction is typically six years.
Other special circumstance allegations can lead to even higher felony charge levels. Stalking offenses that involved use of a dangerous weapon or which resulted in the victim or their family suffering bodily harm rise to being Class F felonies. Generally, a conviction of a Class F felony offense carries a maximum possible sentence of 12 and a half years.
Also, if an individual accused of stalking has a past criminal conviction, the stalking charges they are facing could potentially go up to Class H or Class F felony charges, depending on who the victim of the crime they were convicted on was, the nature of the past conviction and how long ago it occurred.
As one can see from this discussion, when a person is accused of stalking, what the ultimate result of their case is can have major ramifications regarding their freedom. So, being in the dark on one's rights and options when facing stalking allegations can put a person in an extremely precarious situation. This is one reason why getting access to quality defense-related legal guidance promptly can be so crucial when facing such allegations.
Sources: Wisconsin State Legislature, "Statutes - 940.32 - Stalking.," Accessed April 11, 2016
Wisconsin State Legislature, "Statutes - 939.50 - Classification of felonies.," Accessed April 11, 2016