Do not take a stalking charge lightly. If you have been charged with stalking, you could also be charged with other related crimes, resulting in additional penalties.
Stalking is classified as a felony offense in Texas, and therefore should be taken seriously. Having a criminal conviction, especially a felony on your record could cause lifelong consequences. If you are convicted, you could be unemployable in many high-level jobs, you could lose out on apartment rentals, and more. You may even be denied for visas and entry into some other countries.
If you have been charged with stalking, you need a skilled Travis County criminal defense attorney on your side. At Granger and Mueller PC, we have over 25 years of experience defending Austin area residents for stalking and other criminal offenses.
What is Stalking?
Texas Penal Code Section 72.072 covers stalking in Texas. It requires that there is more than one incident that demonstrates a course of conduct or scheme that the offender knows or reasonably believes the victim will view as threatening and the behavior causes fear or would cause another reasonable person to fear.
There is no requirement under the statute that the victim suffer actual harm by the offender. In addition, the course of conduct does not have to be against the victim only. You can be charged with stalking also if the victim considers the threats to present the risk of bodily harm or death to a family member or loved one.
Potential examples of stalking include:
● Causing yourself to be where the alleged victim will be at the same time;
● Showing up where the alleged victim’s new love interest works;
● Showing up at the victim’s home, watching for when he or she comes home;
● Repeatedly engaging in conduct that the offender knows will cause the victim to be fearful; or
● Multiple episodes of vandalizing the victim’s property, stealing their mail, sending unwanted gifts, showing up at their workplace, etc.
Previously, stalking was more strictly defined as it had to be the same type of behavior. Now, someone could engage in two totally different activities and, as long as the victim sees them as a threat, the offender could be charged with stalking. For example, someone could show up where the victim is and then later send an email that the victim perceives as threatening. Depending on the circumstances, this could be enough for the state to proceed with a stalking charge.
Penalties for Stalking
For the first offense, stalking is treated as a third-degree felony. A repeat offense will result in a second-degree felony. This means the maximum prison sentence doubles from 10 years to 20 years. Both felonies include a maximum fine of $10,000. If you have a stalking conviction from another state, federal court, U.S. territory, or federally recognized Indian tribe, it will likely also make it a second-degree felony.
Contact an Austin Criminal Defense Attorney
If you or a loved one has been charged with stalking, you need to speak with an experienced Travis County criminal defense attorney right away. Contact Granger and Mueller PC today at 512-474-9999 to schedule an initial consultation.