Crime Overview Stalking

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Stalking is defined as the crime of intentionally and repeatedly following or harassing another person, attempting to contact a person or watching a person. It can also include threatening, by either express or implied methods, with the intent to place the threatened person in reasonable fear or death or bodily harm. Aggravated stalking can be charged when the suspect is under a temporary restraining order, injunction against trespass, or similar order.

Stalking has also been defined as the obsessive behavior of one person toward another, wherein the stalker willfully and repeatedly engages in a course of harassing, alarming, tormenting or terrorizes the victim.

Stalking is an unusual form of criminal activity because it is generally composed of a series of actions which, taken individually, are not illegal. For example, sending someone flowers, calling or emailing them, sending love letters, waiting for someone at their home or place of work are not in and of themselves criminal activities. Yet if some or all of these actions are engaged in repeatedly, especially with the intent to scare or threaten the target, a charge of stalking could be brought.

Until the enactment of anti-stalking laws, the victims of stalking had little legal recourse until and unless their stalker actually acted on their threats, and assaulted or injured the victim. Police had little power to arrest anyone who was behaving in a threatening way, if that person refrained from making good on those threats.

Although celebrities or public figures are sometimes stalked by fans, most cases of stalking involve people who know each other and who may have been involved with one another as friends or as romantic partners.

Each state has different laws concerning the specific act of stalking, but there are also other criminal statutes that can be used to deter or prosecute stalking, including laws against harassment and assault.

If you have been accused of stalking, whether you are guilty or not, you should hire a criminal lawyer or attorney to help you with your case. Criminal lawyers and attorneys represent individuals who have been charged with crimes by arguing their cases in courts of law. A criminal lawyer or attorney will typically have a private practice concentrating on criminal law. There are many things to look for when hiring a criminal lawyer or attorney. A good criminal attorney will be familiar with important stalking laws of the state in which the crime took place, as well as with federal and state constitutions.

Criminal lawyers and attorneys will also be familiar with local court customs and procedures. They will spend significant amounts of time on your case, and they will hire and manage investigators, and they will research and gather vital information from prosecution witnesses. Whether or not they are convinced of your innocence, they will do their best to defend you in a court of law if your case goes to trial. Until that time, they will walk you through the legal process.

If you are ready to contact a criminal lawyer or attorney, visit the website of the American Bar Association and use their lawyer locator to search for a suitable criminal lawyer or attorney in your area.