What are the Penalties for Stalking?

There are many crimes that a person can commit. Stalking is an offense that has a victim who may be fearing for their life. As such, this type of crime is punished harshly.

If you are facing stalking charges, your life could be affected in many ways. Read on to learn more about stalking and how an Austin criminal defense lawyer can help you with your case.

What the Law Says

Under Texas Penal Code 42.072, stalking refers to a pattern of behavior (that happens on more than one occasion) in which a person engages in threats of harm or death against another person or engages in repeated behavior that causes the victim to feel harassed, annoyed, offended, or embarrassed. When the act causes you to feel concerned for your safety, it is considered stalking.

Stalking may include:

  • Consistently showing up at the victim's school or place of work
  • Consistently following or pursuing the victim
  • Sending multiple texts, emails, or phone calls to the victim
  • Finding ways to be wherever the victim is at the same time
  • Watching the victim from a distance
  • Using GPS to track the victim’s location
  • Sending unwanted gifts to the victim
  • Vandalizing the victim’s property
  • Harassing the victim’s family members or love interests

Penalties for Stalking

Stalking is not a crime that should be taken lightly. A first offense is a third-degree felony, which is punishable by a $10,000 fine and two to 10 years in prison. If this is a person’s second or subsequent stalking charge, then the crime becomes a second-degree felony. The penalties include a $10,000 fine and two to 20 years in prison.

A felony is a serious criminal charge that can affect you for the rest of your life. Employment and housing may be affected. You will also lose some constitutional rights, such as the right to bear arms and serve on a jury.

There are several defenses that your criminal defense lawyer may use to reduce or eliminate your charges. They include:

  • The defendant was not following the victim. The person was simply walking or driving in the same direction as the victim, with no intention to stalk them.
  • The defendant didn't intend to harass, frighten, or annoy the victim. The defendant may have startled the victim by appearing out of nowhere but did not intend to stalk the victim.
  • The victim lied about what happened. Sometimes victims tell lies to get a person in trouble as a form of revenge.
  • The victim identified the wrong person as the offender. The victim may not have remembered what the person looked like, and it is possible that an innocent person could be charged as a stalker.

Contact Our Austin TX Criminal Defense Lawyers Today

Stalking is a serious crime that is often charged as a felony. If you are facing charges, you need someone on your side who can provide you with aggressive representation.

Contact an Austin criminal defense lawyer from Granger and Mueller PC for a solid defense so you can get a favorable outcome. To schedule a consultation, call (512) 474-9999 or fill out the online form.