Stalking is a popular word that has caused a variety of misconceptions about what the crime of stalking actually is. While in many cases it does involve following someone, there are many more instances where the crime of stalking can occur. While there is no federal law that makes stalking a crime, every state has outlawed stalking in one way or another.
The following are common elements of stalking that are found in most state criminal statutes:
Stalking can be a variety of actions and behaviors that involves patterns of following, monitoring, watching another person with the intent to harass, threaten, intimidate, or cause some kind of emotional distress. Some examples of stalking include:
A victim should not give in to the pressures of the stalker. The victim should document all evidence, including gifts and voicemail from the stalker. The victim should ensure that all close friends, family, and co-workers are aware of the problem and not be unwittingly charmed by the stalker into giving away personal information. If the problem becomes severe, a restraining order should be sought. If the danger becomes immediate, do not hesitate to call the police.
There are a number of defenses to accusations of stalking. The defenses can include, but are not limited to:
Stalking can be considered as a misdemeanor or felony. Misdemeanor stalking is often referred to as "harassment". Although there are varying degrees of the stalking offense, in most state penal codes the crime of stalking is a felony. The following are common sentencing penalties for the crime of stalking:
If you have been arrested or accused of stalking, you may find the advice of a criminal defense attorney to be extremely helpful. Because of the complex nature of this area of law, the advice of a defense attorney who specializes in this area can be beneficial in determining how best to proceed with your legal problem.
Last Modified: 04-12-2018 08:56 PM PDTLaw Library Disclaimer
We've helped more than 4 million clients find the right lawyer – for free. Present your case online in minutes. LegalMatch matches you to pre-screened lawyers in your city or county based on the specifics of your case. Within 24 hours experienced local lawyers review it and evaluate if you have a solid case. If so, attorneys respond with an offer to represent you that includes a full attorney profile with details on their fee structure, background, and ratings by other LegalMatch users so you can decide if they're the right lawyer for you.