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What Constitutes Stalking?

What Constitutes Stalking?

Legally, stalking is classified as criminal behavior across the nation. Women are more likely to be victims of stalking, with about 1 in 6 women reporting the experience, according to the CDC. Although there are many cases of stalking by strangers, stalkers tend to be people already acquainted with the victim, usually an ex-lover or ex-spouse. It is a behavior characterized by obsession and intimidation.

According to Texas State Law, stalking consists of repeated behavior towards a specific person. This offense is done in a manner meant to be threatening and cause fear in the victim. This fear may include thoughts of potential harm to the victim or those close to the victim, in addition to feelings of humiliation, helplessness, and isolation.

Technology has led to new forms of stalking, such as repetitive, unsolicited communication by phone, text, email, or social media. About 25% of victims report being stalked by means of the internet. Stalking behavior, whether direct or indirect, is persistent despite the victim's clear unwillingness and attempts to ignore the perpetrator.

Other behaviors that accompany stalking include:

 
  • Constant surveillance of the victim.

  • Breaking and entering.

  • Harassment or blackmail.

  • Attempts to collect the victim's information by looking through private records.

  • Contacting people who know the victim.

  • Sending unwanted gifts.

  • Appearing wherever the victim is without a plausible reason.

 

Because stalking is a third-degree felony, the offender will be arrested and serve time in prison if convicted. Sentences will depend on a variety of factors, like the extent to which distress affected the victim and the seriousness of the behavior involved, but it can generally involve up to 10 years in prison.

If stalking is repeated after the first sentence, it will become a second-degree felony. The victim may also request a restraining order against the offender, which if violated, will result in a fine or imprisonment, depending on the details of the violation.

Facing Criminal Charges in Austin? Get the Right Representation

If you’re facing criminal charges in Austin, our criminal defense attorneys are prepared to fight for your rights. We’ve seen both sides of criminal cases and know how prosecutors think. Put this experience on your side for a much-needed edge in the face of your arrest or charges.

Don’t face the prosecution alone. Contact Smith & Vinson Law Firm at (512) 359-3743 for a free case consultation today.

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