Jealousy, rejection, and curiosity, are all emotions that can trigger the worst in a person. There is no crime in feeling any of these things, but when they spark behaviors that make others feel uncomfortable, the boundary begins to be a bit murky. We all have a right to our privacy and when others' behavior begins to interfere with our day to day life, frightening us, making us feel that our rights are being challenged, or causing our loved ones to feel fear or terror, a crime may be in the offing. Another defining factor of an incident of stalking is when the person's behaviors are unwanted.
What Comprises Stalking?
Today, there are real-life relationships and there are virtual relationships. Sometimes the virtual becomes a real-life relationship. In any of these cases, when one party wants to put the relationship on hold or end it altogether, the other party may not accept it. How the latter party behaves will determine if he or she is committing the act of stalking.
The age of the internet has led many people to establish relationships online in social media groups, online forums, through dating sites, and in scores of other ways. When those relationships begin moving into real life possibilities, one or the other may decide to keep their interaction online. Sometimes, the other person struggles to accept this decision.
Also, in real-life romantic relationships, if there is a shift the relationship and one party breaks it off, the party who wants the relationship to continue as before may begin obsessing. When this happens, problems begin. The obsessed party may wonder what the other person is doing and who he or she is seeing. Curiosity grows into a need to control and soon, the obsessed party develops a habit of surveying the former partner and this may take him or her close to the other party's home or place of work. It is not illegal to be near someone's home or work, but there are behaviors that are NOT legal.
Three Characteristics of Misdemeanor Stalking Behavior
- Repeatedly following someone or waiting near his or her place of employment or other social places.
- Creating a reasonable fear or threat of harm through your actions.
- Knowing (or should have known) his or her behavior was causing fear—even if it was not intended.
These occasions can translate into a gross misdemeanor charge of stalking.
When is Stalking a Felony?
When the charges are more serious, such as when a person becomes a repeat offender or violates police or court orders to stay away from someone, felony charges could result. Another circumstance where a felony charge may be levied is when someone pesters, follows, contacts or spies on police officers who were part of the criminal case and does so to seek retaliation. Those found guilty of Class C Felony charges may be punished with up to five years in jail and/or $10,000 in fines.
Stalking happens between strangers and between family members, between celebrities and impulsive fans, or in any number of relationships. People who think they have been wronged sometimes take matters into their own hands. Though their actions may seem harmless to them, it can be terrifying to their victims.
If you have been accused of stalking, it can create just as many problems personally as it can legally. To fight your charges and preserve your reputation, contact Steve Karimi today. He has extensive experience as a prosecutor. The charges against you must be proven and with Karimi Law Office attorneys working on your behalf to disprove these charges, you improve your chances of emerging without a conviction.