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.
Stalking is a behavior characterized by obsession and intimidation.
What Constitutes Stalking in Texas?
Texas law says stalking consists of repeated behavior towards a specific person. Stalking 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, 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
Stalking is a Third-Degree Felony
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.
Second-Degree StalkingIf 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.
Accused of Stalking in Texas?
If you’re facing charges in Austin for stalking, our stalking 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.