What is Stalking?
Stalking is defined as a prolonged, intrusive method of harassment with obsessive, methodological, threatening, or sociopathic tendencies. Stalking can take place in a variety of circumstances ranging from physical stalking to virtual stalking. Physical stalking can include the inappropriate following, monitoring, or encroaching with regard to a victim. Online stalking can include harassment through email, the illicit collection of data or media belonging to another individual, or the unauthorized access of an individual’s computer network or server.
Stalking vs. Harassment
The primary difference between Stalking and harassment is the individual legality within each of the behaviors contributory to the charge itself. For example, while harassment is a crime, activity that could potentially be classified as stalking is not always criminal in nature. In many cases, the conglomeration of events and activities in which an individual participates is the gauge of a Stalking charge.
For example, photographing an individual without their consent without any intended harm varies in its legality. The photographing of an individual without their respective consent for illicit means – the intent to harass, stalk, threaten, or frighten – can institute fear for personal safety in a Stalking victim.
Stalking Offense Profile
Legal Jurisdiction: Criminal Law, Privacy Law, Cyber Law
Type of Crime: Misdemeanor or Felony – varies upon the nature of the crime
Criminal Code: Varies upon the location of the crime, including the applicable country, nation, state, or province
Range of Punishment(s): Fines, probation, associated penalties, or incarceration – varies upon case details
Duration of Punishment(s): Varies upon case details
Applicable Punishment(s): Varies upon individual intent, criminal record, criminal history, and the victim(s) involved. The methodology, severity, intent, and premeditation involved in a Stalking charge will typically dictate the severity of any or all punitive recourse.
Stalking Allegations: Terminology and Associated Offenses
The following are commonly associated with charges of Stalking:
Harassment: A claim brought forth by an individual who contends that they were the victim of unsolicited, unwelcomed, uninvited, offensive, and inappropriate advances or speech considered to be intrusive or threatening in nature. Cyber-Stalking: The act of unlawfully, illegally, and harmfully collecting or amassing an individual’s private information with regards to the internet, a computer, or alternative electronic network. This can include hacking into a computer, spying, trespassing, or collecting personal data.
Trespassing: Illegal and Unlawful encroachment onto the private and personal property belonging to another individual.
Invasion of Privacy: The unsolicited, unapproved, and illegal violation of the personal space and domain belonging to another individual.
The Stalking Arrest Process
In the event that the prospect exists in which an individual is at risk for or has been arrested as a result of a Stalking charge, it is of the utmost importance that they are aware and mindful of the basic legality associated with the criminal justice system. Individuals who have been served documentation in the form of an arrest warrant displaying a Stalking charge, or have been arrested by law enforcement, are encouraged to cooperate with the arresting officers regardless of personal belief with regard to the charges.
Individuals under arrest will be given the opportunity to consult with legal specialists subsequent to the arrest process. Resisting or fleeing from a Stalking arrest can result in harm, injury, and additional penalties.
The Preparation of a Stalking Defense
In the event that an individual has been arrested on a Stalking charge, they are encouraged to observe the behavioral protocol of the arrest process. Individuals are encouraged to consult with attorneys specializing in criminal law and, if possible, those who focus on privacy law. In the construction of a defense, the individual may be asked to provide the following:
The nature of the Stalking allegation in question
The biographical information with regard to any and all victims
Any previous arrests and/or convictions
Evidence and witness testimony
A detailed account of the details surrounding the event in question
The inclusion of the name(s) of individuals involved
The arrangement for bail or bond.