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Stalking Laws (PC 646.9) in California

California Penal Code 646.9(a): Stalking

Legal Definition: Any person who willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly follows or willfully and maliciously harasses another person and who makes a credible threat with the intent to place that person in reasonable fear for his or her safety, or the safety of his or her immediate family is guilty of the crime of stalking.

In order for a conviction of a violation of PC 646.9(a) to be secured, the prosecution must substantiate the following factors with robust evidence:

  • The accused, with willful and malicious intent, engaged in harassment or persistently followed another individual
  • A credible threat was made with the purpose of instilling a reasonable fear for the safety of the target person or their immediate family.

These requirements are crucial in establishing the guilt beyond reasonable doubt and upholding the principle of justice. Our seasoned expertise in legal matters ensures accurate interpretation and evaluation of the provided evidence.

What does this mean?

A credible threat is one that instills reasonable fear for the safety of the target and their immediate family, and is capable of being carried out by the maker of the threat. Such threats can be communicated orally, in writing, electronically, or may be implied by a pattern of conduct or a combination of statements and conduct. Harassment is defined as knowingly and willfully engaging in a course of conduct that seriously annoys, alarms, torments, or terrorizes a specific person, without any legitimate purpose.

A course of conduct refers to two or more acts that occur over any duration of time, demonstrating a consistent intent. The determination of whether a stalking charge is appropriate depends on the circumstances of the case, therefore, it can involve various means of communication such as messages, writings, and phone calls. The number of instances required to properly charge someone with the crime of stalking will be assessed on a case-by-case basis, ranging from a single incident to multiple incidents totaling five hundred or more phone calls. Rest assured that this analysis is conducted with expertise and experience to establish a solid foundation of trustworthiness and authority.


Stalking is a wobbler crime, meaning it can be charged as a misdemeanor or as a felony, based on the level of the contact with the victim, your criminal history, and the specific facts of your case. If you are convicted of this charge as a misdemeanor, you could be sentenced to up to one year in County Jail. If you are convicted of this offense as a felony, you could be sentenced to upwards of 16 months, two or three years in State Prison. You would be required to serve 50% of that sentence.
Stalking, however, is not a serious or violent felony, and therefore not a Strike offense under the Three Strike’s Law. However, because this is a crime of repeated harassment, it will affect your legal status for immigration purposes, as well as any professional license you may hold. You likely could also be hit with a stay away or Criminal Protective Order to not contact the victim under any circumstances, or it would be a new law violation (PC 273.6).

Common Defenses

  1. Statute of Limitations
  2. Insufficient Evidence
  3. Violation of your Rights
  4. Mistake of Fact

These charges entail highly specific facts. Occasionally, individuals may exhibit over-dramatic tendencies, misunderstand, or misinterpret your words. In such situations, it is common to attempt contacting them again to rectify any existing confusion, but this approach can inadvertently exacerbate the issue with repeated calls. As experienced professionals, our expertise grants us the authority to navigate these circumstances with precision and ensure optimal resolution. Rest assured that, with our trustworthy guidance, we will effectively address any misunderstandings or concerns that may arise.

Call Today

Being implicated in a stalking case can be an unexpected and unsettling ordeal, especially when faced with charges under PC 646.9. The common narrative surrounding stalking often evokes images of shadowy figures and relentless harassment. Yet, legal definitions can encompass actions far removed from these extreme scenarios, leading to surprising and unwarranted accusations.

Why Choose Inland Empire Criminal Defense?

  • Specialized Defense for Stalking Charges: Our PC 646.9 Ontario criminal defense attorney brings unparalleled expertise to the table, with a proven track record of successfully defending clients against stalking and related charges. Our approach is thorough, challenging any discrepancies and advocating vigorously for your rights.
  • Holistic Legal Support: Beyond legal defense, we prioritize your peace of mind and understanding of the process. From the initial free consultation through every stage of your case, we ensure you’re fully informed and supported, making your journey through the legal system less daunting.
  • 24/7 Accessibility: Recognizing the emotional toll and urgency of stalking charges, we’re here for you at any time. Your concerns and questions are paramount, and our dedicated team is committed to providing answers and reassurance when you need it most.

Start Building Your Defense Today

Facing allegations under PC 646.9 requires a defense that’s as comprehensive as it is compassionate. Inland Empire Criminal Defense is equipped to offer both, ensuring your case is handled with the attention and expertise it deserves.

Engage With Expert Legal Representation

Don’t navigate the complexities of a stalking charge alone. Contact Inland Empire Criminal Defense for a defense rooted in expertise, dedication, and a deep commitment to achieving the best possible outcome. Call us at 909-939-7126 to begin your defense journey. Our office in Ontario, CA, is strategically located to serve clients across the Inland Empire, offering top-tier legal services tailored to your needs.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

Does the attorney offer confidential consultations?

Absolutely, Inland Empire Criminal Defense prioritizes your privacy and confidentiality. Every consultation with our attorney is conducted with the utmost discretion, ensuring your information remains secure and private.

Does the attorney offer payment plans?

Yes, understanding the financial pressures that can come with legal representation, our attorney offers flexible payment plans. This approach ensures that quality legal defense is accessible for all our clients in Riverside, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles Counties.

Is the consultation free?

Yes, Inland Empire Criminal Defense offers free consultations. This is part of our commitment to providing accessible and transparent legal services to residents of Riverside, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles Counties.

Are the consultations in person or only over the phone?

We offer both in-person and over-the-phone consultations to accommodate your preferences and needs. Whether you’re in Riverside, San Bernardino, or Los Angeles County, we ensure that you can access our legal services in the way that suits you best.

Is the office open on weekends?

Our office is typically closed on weekends. However, we do make exceptions for meetings by special arrangement. Our commitment is to be as accommodating as possible to meet the unique needs of our clients in Riverside, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles Counties.

Does the attorney serve all of California?

Our legal services are specifically tailored to residents of Riverside, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles Counties. For cases outside these areas, we recommend consulting to find appropriate legal assistance. Our focused approach allows us to provide specialized defense catering to the unique legal landscape of these counties.

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