New York State Stalking Laws

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The following is excerpted from the New York State Penal Code. For information on laws in other states, visit the National Center for Victims of Crime.

Stalking

Penal Code § 120.45. Stalking in the fourth degree. 1999.

A person is guilty of stalking in the fourth degree when he or she intentionally, and for no legitimate purpose, engages in a course of conduct directed at a specific person, and knows or reasonably should know that such conduct:

  1. is likely to cause reasonable fear of material harm to the physical health, safety or property of such person, a member of such person's immediate family or a third party with whom such person is acquainted; or
  2. causes material harm to the mental or emotional health of such person, where such conduct consists of following, telephoning or initiating communication or contact with such person, a member of such person's immediate family or a third party with whom such person is acquainted, and the actor was previously clearly informed to cease that conduct; or
  3. is likely to cause such person to reasonably fear that his or her employment, business or career is threatened, where such conduct consists of appearing, telephoning or initiating communication or contact at such person's place of employment or business, and the actor was previously clearly informed to cease that conduct.

Stalking in the fourth degree is a class B misdemeanor.

Penal Code § 120.50. Stalking in the third degree. 1999.

A person is guilty of stalking in the third degree when he or she:

  1. Commits the crime of stalking in the fourth degree in violation of section 120.45 of this article against three or more persons, in three or more separate transactions, for which the actor has not been previously convicted; or
  2. Commits the crime of stalking in the fourth degree in violation of section 120.45 of this article against any person, and has previously been convicted, within the preceding ten years of a specified predicate crime, as defined in subdivision five of section 120.40 of this article, and the victim of such specified predicate crime is the victim, or an immediate family member of the victim, of the present offense; or
  3. With intent to harass, annoy or alarm a specific person, intentionally engages in a course of conduct directed at such person which is likely to cause such person to reasonably fear physical injury or serious physical injury, the commission of a sex offense against, or the kidnapping, unlawful imprisonment or death of such person or a member of such person's immediate family; or
  4. Commits the crime of stalking in the fourth degree and has previously been convicted within the preceding ten years of stalking in the fourth degree.

Stalking in the third degree is a class A misdemeanor.

NY CLS Penal § 120.55. Stalking in the second degree. 1999. Amended 2003.

A person is guilty of stalking in the second degree when he or she:

  1. Commits the crime of stalking in the third degree as defined in subdivision three of section 120.50 of this article and in the course of and in furtherance of the commission of such offense: (i) displays, or possesses and threatens the use of, a firearm, pistol, revolver, rifle, shotgun, machine gun, electronic dart gun, electronic stun gun, cane sword, billy, blackjack, bludgeon, metal knuckles, chuka stick, sand bag, sandclub, slingshot, [fig 1] slungshot, shirken, "Kung Fu Star", dagger, dangerous knife, dirk, razor, stiletto, imitation pistol, dangerous instrument, deadly instrument or deadly weapon; or (ii) displays what appears to be a pistol, revolver, rifle, shotgun, machine gun or other firearm; or
  2. Commits the crime of stalking in the third degree in violation of subdivision three of section 120.50 of this article against any person, and has previously been convicted, within the preceding five years, of a specified predicate crime as defined in subdivision five of section 120.40 of this article, and the victim of such specified predicate crime is the victim, or an immediate family member of the victim, of the present offense; or
  3. Commits the crime of stalking in the fourth degree and has previously been convicted of stalking in the third degree as defined in subdivision four of section 120.50 of this article against any person; or
  4. Being twenty-one years of age or older, repeatedly follows a person under the age of fourteen or engages in a course of conduct or repeatedly commits acts over a period of time intentionally placing or attempting to place such person who is under the age of fourteen in reasonable fear of physical injury, serious physical injury or death [fig 1] ; or
  5. (Added, L 2003) Commits the crime of stalking in the third degree, as defined in subdivision three of section 120.50 of this article, against ten or more persons, in ten or more separate transactions, for which the actor has not been previously convicted.

Stalking in the second degree is a class E felony.

Penal Code § 120.60. Stalking in the first degree. 1999. Amended 2000.

A person is guilty of stalking in the first degree when he or she commits the crime of stalking in the third degree as defined in subdivision three of section 120.50 or stalking in the second degree as defined in section 120.55 of this article and, in the course and furtherance thereof, he or she:

  1. intentionally or recklessly causes physical injury to the victim of such crime; or
  2. commits a class A misdemeanor defined in article one hundred thirty of this chapter, or a class E felony defined in section 130.25, 130.40 or 130.85 of this chapter, or a class D felony defined in section 130.30 or 130.45 of this chapter.

Stalking in the first degree is a class D felony.

Definitions

Penal Code § 120.40. Definitions. 1999.

For purposes of sections 120.45, 120.50, 120.55 and 120.60 of this article:

  1. "Kidnapping" shall mean a kidnapping crime defined in article one hundred thirty-five of this chapter.
  2. "Unlawful imprisonment" shall mean an unlawful imprisonment felony crime defined in article one hundred thirty-five of this chapter.
  3. "Sex offense" shall mean a felony defined in article one hundred thirty of this chapter, sexual misconduct, as defined in section 130.20 of this chapter, sexual abuse in the third degree as defined in section 130.55 of this chapter or sexual abuse in the second degree as defined in section 130.60 of this chapter.
  4. "Immediate family" means the spouse, former spouse, parent, child, sibling, or any other person who regularly resides or has regularly resided in the household of a person.

"Specified predicate crime" means:

  1. a violent felony offense;
  2. a crime defined in section 130.20, 130.25, 130.30, 130.40, 130.45, 130.55, 130.60, 130.70 or 255.25;
  3. assault in the third degree, as defined in section 120.00; menacing in the first degree, as defined in section 120.13; menacing in the second degree, as defined in section 120.14; coercion in the first degree, as defined in section 135.65; coercion in the second degree, as defined in section 135.60; aggravated harassment in the second degree, as defined in section 240.30; harassment in the first degree, as defined in section 240.25; menacing in the third degree, as defined in section 120.15; criminal mischief in the third degree, as defined in section 145.05; criminal mischief in the second degree, as defined in section 145.10, criminal mischief in the first degree, as defined in section 145.12; criminal tampering in the first degree, as defined in section 145.20; arson in the fourth degree, as defined in section 150.05; arson in the third degree, as defined in section 150.10; criminal contempt in the first degree, as defined in section 215.51; endangering the welfare of a child, as defined in section 260.10; or
  4. stalking in the fourth degree, as defined in section 120.45; stalking in the third degree, as defined in section 120.50; stalking in the second degree, as defined in section 120.55; or
  5. an offense in any other jurisdiction which includes all of the essential elements of any such crime for which a sentence to a term of imprisonment in excess of one year or a sentence of death was authorized and is authorized in this state irrespective of whether such sentence was imposed.

Menacing

Penal Code § 120.13. Menacing in the first degree. 1992.

A person is guilty of menacing in the first degree when he or she commits the crime of menacing in the second degree and has been previously convicted of the crime of menacing in the second degree within the preceding ten years.

Menacing in the first degree is a class E felony.

Penal Code § 120.14. Menacing in the second degree. 1992. Amended 1998.

A person is guilty of menacing in the second degree when:

  1. He or she intentionally places or attempts to place another person in reasonable fear of physical injury, serious physical injury or death by displaying a deadly weapon, dangerous instrument or what appears to be a pistol, revolver, rifle, shotgun, machine gun or other firearm; or
  2. He or she repeatedly follows a person or engages in a course of conduct or repeatedly commits acts over a period of time intentionally placing or attempting to place another person in reasonable fear of physical injury, serious physical injury or death; or
  3. He or she commits the crime of menacing in the third degree in violation of that part of a duly served order of protection, or such order which the defendant has actual knowledge of because he or she was present in court when such order was issued, pursuant to article eight of the family court act, section 530.12 of the criminal procedure law, or an order of protection issued by a court of competent jurisdiction in another state, territorial or tribal jurisdiction, which directed the respondent or defendant to stay away from the person or persons on whose behalf the order was issued.

Menacing in the second degree is a class A misdemeanor.

Penal Code § 120.15. Menacing in the third degree. 1967. Amended 1992.

A person is guilty of menacing in the third degree when, by physical menace, he or she intentionally places or attempts to place another person in fear of death, imminent serious physical injury or physical injury.

Menacing in the third degree is a class B misdemeanor.

Harassment

Penal Code § 240.25. Harassment in the first degree. 1992. Amended 1994.

A person is guilty of harassment in the first degree when he or she intentionally and repeatedly harasses another person by following such person in or about a public place or places or by engaging in a course of conduct or by repeatedly committing acts which places such person in reasonable fear of physical injury.

This section shall not apply to activities regulated by the national labor relations act, as amended, the railway labor act, as amended, or the federal employment labor management act, as amended.

Harassment in the first degree is a class B misdemeanor.

Penal Code § 240.26. Harassment in the second degree. 1965. Amended 1994.

A person is guilty of harassment in the second degree when, with intent to harass, annoy or alarm another person:

  1. He or she strikes, shoves, kicks or otherwise subjects such other person to physical contact, or attempts or threatens to do the same; or
  2. He or she follows a person in or about a public place or places; or
  3. He or she engages in a course of conduct or repeatedly commits acts which alarm or seriously annoy such other person and which serve no legitimate purpose.

Subdivisions two and three of this section shall not apply to activities regulated by the national labor relations act, as amended, the railway labor act, as amended, or the federal employment labor management act, as amended.

Harassment in the second degree is a violation.

Aggravated Harassment

Penal Code § 240.30. Aggravated harassment in the second degree. 1965. Amended 2001.

A person is guilty of aggravated harassment in the second degree when, with intent to harass, annoy, threaten or alarm another person, he or she:

  1. Either
    (a) communicates with a person, anonymously or otherwise, by telephone, or by telegraph, mail or any other form of written communication, in a manner likely to cause annoyance or alarm; or
    (b) causes a communication to be initiated by mechanical or electronic means or otherwise with a person, anonymously or otherwise, by telephone, or by telegraph, mail or any other form of written communication, in a manner likely to cause annoyance or alarm; or
  2. Makes a telephone call, whether or not a conversation ensues, with no purpose of legitimate communication; or
  3. Strikes, shoves, kicks, or otherwise subjects another person to physical contact, or attempts or threatens to do the same because of a belief or perception regarding such person's race, color, national origin, ancestry, gender, religion, religious practice, age, disability or sexual orientation,regardless of whether the belief or perception is correct; or
  4. Commits the crime of harassment in the first degree and has previously been convicted of the crime of harassment in the first degree as defined by section 240.25 of this article within the preceding ten years.

Aggravated harassment in the second degree is a class A misdemeanor.

Penal Code § 240.31. Aggravated harassment in the first degree. 1982. Amended 2000.

A person is guilty of aggravated harassment in the first degree when with intent to harass, annoy, threaten or alarm another person, because of a belief or perception regarding such person's race, color, national origin, ancestry, gender, religion, religious practice, age, disability or sexual orientation, regardless of whether the belief or perception is correct, he or she:

  1. Damages premises primarily used for religious purposes, or acquired pursuant to section six of the religious corporation law and maintained for purposes of religi
  2. Commits the crime of aggravated harassment in the second degree in the manner proscribed by the provisions of subdivision three of section 240.30 of this article and has been previously convicted of the crime of aggravated harassment in the second degree for the commission of conduct proscribed by the provisions of subdivision three of section 240.30 or he has been previously convicted of the crime of aggravated harassment in the first degree within the preceding ten years.

Aggravated harassment in the first degree is a class E felony.

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