It was the summer of 1989 an up-and-coming actress named Rebecca Schaeffer was in her West Hollywood apartment rehearsing lines for potentially the biggest role of her career: The Godfather 3. She’d only recently moved to Los Angeles, but was already making a name for herself. This new role would only boost her star power. Then, there was a knock at the door. Rebecca answered it and was greeted by a young man who introduced himself as Robert John Bardo. He enthusiastically showed her an autographed photo and letter her fan club had sent to him months earlier. After a brief conversation, the actress asked the young man to leave. And never return. Moments later Bardo did return. Except, when Rebecca answered the door this time she was greeted by the small caliber handgun Robert John Bardo shot her with at point blank range.
Rebecca’s death shocked the nation. This particular case set off a firestorm that would ultimately lead to the country’s first comprehensive set of laws concerning stalking. Today, California has some of the strictest regulations and penalties for stalking.
Unfortunately, for every Robert John Bardo living in the South California, there are twice as many innocent or wrongfully accused individuals facing stalking charges. So, if you’ve been accused of stalking or are currently being held on such charges, how can you avoid a potential conviction?
Read some of the following suggestions and contact the Law Office of Michael L. Guisti to schedule an in-depth consultation.
Stalking By Design, or by Accident?
As you can imagine from the story above, being accused of stalking is as complex as it is serious, especially in the Southland. But these types of cases pose a number of challenges for both prosecutors and defenders alike. Ultimately, the key to any successful stalking case concerns your intentions.
Generally speaking, under the law, in order for you to be found guilty of stalking you must have deliberately and maliciously followed or threatened an individual on a number of occasions, with the full knowledge that your actions would lead that person to be in fear of their safety. The language under California Penal Code 646.9 is even more explicit and raises a number of questions and possible defenses when it comes to stalking charges.
So what does that mean for you? Of course each case is unique, but the following are some of the possible defenses you may be able to employ:
- Mistaken Identity. For as outlandish as it may sound, many people every year are accused of stalking when in fact they weren’t even close to the accuser – physically, emotionally, or through technology (the Internet). Simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time can land a person in hot water when it comes to stalking regulations.
- Falsely Accused. If you have had difficulties with your accuser in the past, there is always the chance they are using this as a way to create additional trouble for you. On the other hand, your accuser may have taken something you did or said out of context and now views your actions as threatening.
- The Threat Was Not Possible. Depending on the situation, it may have been simply impossible for you to harass the accuser in question. If were physically indisposed at the time – in jail, in the hospital – then the credibility of the threat can be called into question.
Get The Information And Representation You Need – Now
Despite being part of the legal landscape for decades now, stalking convictions remain tricky and often times controversial. To successfully fend off such charges you need a criminal defense attorney that is fully versed in stalking laws. Schedule an appointment with the Law Office of Michael L. Guisti to discuss your case today.
We appreciate the seriousness of these charges and are prepared to help you regain your reputation and even your freedom. For more information, contact us at (714) 707-2797.