Is stalking a crime? Yes, stalking is an offense which falls under the violent crimes classification. Stalking may also be considered a serious offense based on certain facts and circumstances, and the state’s stalking statutes.
Stalking as a Violent Crime
Stalking is considered a violent crime even if the term violent crime is used only to define offenses that involve force and/or injury such as sexual assault, homicide, and domestic violence. This is because stalking may also put the victim’s safety at risk based on the stalkers actions and intentions.
Stalking Definition in Each State
Stalking as a crime is defined differently in every state. Some states categorize the offense as a general intent crime, while others as a specific intent crime. Each state’s stalking statutes also differ in terms of standard of fear ad level of fear requirement. Some states also require proof of threat or evidence that the stalker possesses serious threat to the victim’s safety.
Stalking Classification and Punishment
Some states immediately consider stalking as felony. In other states, the presence of aggravating factors makes the crime a felony offense, but remains a misdemeanor if a first offense. It is only in Maryland wherein stalking is classified as misdemeanor at all times.
The punishment for stalking often includes jail time and fines. Repeat offenders are also ordered by the court to undergo psychological counseling. A no-contact order may also be imposed, which if violated by the convicted, could result in additional charges.
Getting an Attorney
The Law Offices of Steven R. Adams suggests that anyone accused of stalking should seek help from a defense lawyer for violent crimes. Guilty or not, you should get someone knowledgeable as the statute in each state is different and also difficult to understand.
Stalking can be a minor or serious crime based on your state’s stalking statutes and other factors. But because each state’s law on stalking encompasses a wide scope of legal definitions, you should get help from an attorney who specializes in your area’s statutes when accused.