Stalking: A serious crime and felony in Texas

On Behalf of | May 14, 2019 | Firm News |

Stalking is defined as a pattern of behavior that makes a victim feel endangered, afraid or nervous. It can be that they’re being followed or repeatedly contacted. They might be sent threatening emails or receive threatening phone calls.

Stalking behaviors are illegal, and you can face serious penalties if you are accused and convicted of this crime. With stalking charges, the other party will need to prove that there is a clear pattern of unwanted conduct. This conduct must include threatening, harassing or following another person in a way that makes them fear for their life.

Domestic violence and stalking often go hand-in-hand

Domestic violence and stalking often occur alongside one another. It may be a situation where a domestic partner, estranged spouse or other type of romantic interest continues to pursue another person in a harassing manner. In other cases, stalking may reach a point of intimidating or threatening another party, which then tends to result in an order of protection being filed against the defendant.

What happens if you are served with an order of protection?

If an order of protection is issued against you, you will need to follow the rules of that order closely. This includes staying a certain distance away from the other party, in most cases. The order will state how long it lasts.

If you violate any type of protective order, you could face jail time or other serious penalties.

Texas is particularly harsh on stalking and penalizes it as a third-degree felony. Repeat offenses are classed as second-degree felonies. What’s more interesting is that the threats don’t necessarily have to be made by you. They can be made by another person who is acting on your behalf. That could be a gray area, though, and if someone threatens another person “on your behalf” when you didn’t intend to threaten them, you may be able to defend yourself with some support.

Whether threats are explicit and aimed at a single person or implied against a large group, you could end up facing charges. Your attorney will start by talking to you about what happened. Remember to be truthful with your attorney, so that your attorney is able to do all they can to defend you. Stay quiet if you’re arrested and always ask for your attorney right away, so you don’t accidentally prove your guilt.