Man facing judgeThis is the next post in a series of articles addressing defending against stalking or harassment charges in Austin, Texas. The previous article discussed how to respond after being served with a protective order. In this post, I will discuss how one should respond to a criminal stalking or harassment charge when the allegations are either exaggerated or completely fabricated by the accuser. Because Texas courts must take such accusations seriously, it is essential for anyone faced with allegations based on false claims to vigorously defend themselves. An experienced criminal defense attorney will assist you in presenting your case. If you have been charged with stalking or harassment, contact my office today to speak with a lawyer.

Stalking and harassment are serious criminal offenses and should not be taken lightly. Texas courts treat these allegations seriously, given the potential impact on victims from such crimes. Unfortunately, however, it is not uncommon for stalking or harassment charges to be based on false information. In some instances, an accuser may make false allegations of stalking or harassment against an ex after a nasty break-up or dispute out of vengeance to harm the reputation or otherwise cause trouble for the accused. This often occurs in situations involving a divorce or child custody dispute. The accuser may be attempting to gain an unfair advantage over the other party in the custody matter. For obvious reasons, if the accused is subject to a protective order or is criminally convicted of stalking or harassment, the judge in the divorce case would likely consider that fact when making a custody determination. In some cases, the person may lose custody altogether or be limited to supervised visitation with a child.

I cannot overstate the need to take any criminal allegations seriously, even (and especially) those based on fabricated information.  People often believe that they will be able to simply explain to a judge that the information was untrue and resolve the issue. However, as discussed before, a court must take the accusations seriously and a proper defense to the allegations will be required. A stalking or harassment charge may result in the court granting an Emergency Protective Order against the accused. The issuance of a protective order or a criminal conviction could have serious consequences. The accused may lose his or her place of residence, be prevented from seeing or spending time with children, lose professional credentials, be prohibited from possessing firearms, or face difficulty obtaining employment.

Given the potential negative impacts that may result, it is essential to retain an experienced criminal defense attorney to defend against false charges as soon as possible after the charges are levied. A lawyer will immediately being an investigation into the claims and begin gathering evidence to refute the allegations. Objective evidence, such as work records showing time periods during which the accused on a jobsite, may help dispute claims of stalking during the same time period. Other evidence, such as text records memorializing friendly conversations, may demonstrate behavior inconsistent with the accuser’s claims. In any case, experienced counsel will understand how to investigate the claims, locate evidence and effectively present it to a judge or jury in your defense.If you have been falsely accused of harassment or stalking and need assistance, then contact my office today to speak with an Austin criminal defense lawyer. I have devoted my practice to criminal defense since 1995. My office also serve the cities of Rollingwood, Round Rock, Elgin, Jonestown, Manor, Bee Cave, Lago Vista, Sunset Valley, Lakeway, Creedmoor, Georgetown, Cedar Park, Leander, and San Marcos, Texas. Call today to speak with an attorney.