Being accused of or charged with stalking is nothing to take lightly. It can ruin your life. In some cases, people don’t even realize that their actions are considered stalking. In fact, they may not be doing anything they consider to be wrong, and then, seemingly, out of nowhere they’re facing charges for stalking, even though it wasn’t something they had any idea they were doing. This begs the question, “What is considered stalking?”
Stalking essentially comes down to the following factors:
- Is there a pattern of behavior? A stalker’s actions are not always illegal on their own, but it’s the fact that they establish a pattern of behavior that often matters. Examples of the types of behaviors that can be considered stalking include doing any of the following two or more times:
- Placing unwanted calls to a person
- Sending unwanted text messages to someone
- Attempting to give a person an unwanted gift
- Contacting someone on social media despite them telling you to stop or blocking you
- Approaching someone or their family/friends in person without their consent
- Tracking someone via surveillance or in person without their permission
- Threatening someone
- Who is the stalker targeting? Generally, a stalker only targets one specific person. However, in many cases, the stalker will also contact people who know that person, such as the person’s co-workers, friends, and family. For someone accused of stalking, this can be distressing. Suddenly, their every attempt to contact their accuser, either directly or indirectly, will come into question. Even if it didn’t seem like stalking to them at the time, when every attempt to make contact is added up and examined, is that how it’s going to look to the authorities? Or will it look like stalking?
- Does a stalker’s behavior cause the victim fear or distress? In some cases, it can be difficult to understand why a stalker’s actions are considered scary or a source of distress. For example, if a stalking victim receives an expensive piece of jewelry from their stalker as a gift. The jewelry itself isn’t scary, but because of the nature of the relationship between the victim and the stalker, receiving the jewelry from their stalker can be scary for the victim. What if the victim moved to a new residence to escape the stalker and that’s where the jewelry was delivered? Suddenly, they no longer consider their home a safe space because their stalker knows where they live.
What Is the Difference Between Stalking and Cyberstalking?
Cyberstalking is a form of stalking. The only difference is that stalking can take place in person or online and cyberstalking only takes place online. Actions that are considered cyberstalking include but are not limited to:
- Hacking into someone’s computer, phone, email, or social media accounts
- Sending someone harassing/threatening/lewd emails, text messages, or social media messages
- Making harassing, lewd, or threatening phone calls or voicemails
- Repeatedly tagging someone in social media posts
- Tracking someone’s online activity (especially if it involves the use of tracking software)
- Secretly recording someone by hacking into their phone, home security system, or laptop camera
- Repeatedly commenting on or liking a person’s social media posts
What Happens if Someone Files a Restraining Order Against Me?
If someone files a restraining order against you, the following may happen:
- You could be forced to leave your residence (and may only be given enough time to grab a few possessions)
- You may be subject to travel restrictions
- The restraining order may appear on your record for up to 5 years
- You may be required to participate in a yearlong anger management program (you must pay to participate in the program, and it is expensive)
Charged with Stalking? Violate a Restraining Order? You May Still Have Options!
If you have been charged with stalking or violated a restraining order, your best option may be hiring an experienced defense attorney. You need someone who knows what they’re doing, has a history of success, and is willing to give their all fighting for your rights.
At the Law Office of Nabiel C. Ahmed, we’ve been helping clients overcome their legal difficulties for over 10 years, including:
- Getting cases against clients dismissed
- Successfully appealing clients’ convictions
- Getting charges against clients dropped with no jail time
For more information about our firm and what we’ve done to help our clients, visit our client testimonials page.
To schedule a consultation, call us at (510) 907-6600 or fill out our online contact form. We offer flexible payment plans. Se habla español!