It is possible to be accused of stalking by anyone at any time, but when you are in the process of ending a relationship or have recently done so, actions tend to be misunderstood and could be construed as harassment or stalking. Even if your intentions are good, your former significant other might have concerns that get blown out of proportion. Likewise, if things ended on poor terms, your ex might be looking for a way to exact revenge or pay you back in some way. Regardless how things ended and what is realistically happening, you need to know how to protect yourself if you are accused of stalking.
Take Staking Charges Seriously
Stalking is an extremely serious charge. It is illegal in all 50 states and can result in a felony or misdemeanor charge. When the court is determining whether or not a person is guilty of stalking, they will examine a number of different things. If any of the following has occurred, stalking could be charged:
- Driving past the person’s home, school, or place of employment
- Following the person
- Monitoring the person’s communication via social networking, computer, or cell phone
- Sending unwanted messages or gifts
- Placing a tracking device on the person’s vehicle without his or her permission
- Secretly taking video footage or photographs of the person
- Gathering information about the person even if the information is a matter of public record
- Contacting the person’s friends, neighbors, co-workers, or family members
- Threatening to hurt the person, or his or her friends, family, and other loved ones
- Damaging the person’s property
Felony stalking charges require escalated behavior, including:
- Second charges of stalking
- Stalking in conjunction with another offense
- Stalking after a restraining order or order of protection
- Stalking with threat to harm
- Stalking that causes serious emotional distress
Obviously, if you are committing any of these actions regarding your ex, you need to stop immediately. If you believe you are not guilty of these actions or anything perceived as stalking, but your ex has made it clear he or she does not want to be near you, it is important to take this request seriously. Despite what you think, a charge of stalking could be levied against you.
It is also important to realize that a spiteful ex could lure you into stalking. If your ex is seeking revenge, he or she might attempt contact with you, but lie to law enforcement and say you initiated the contact. If you are going through a bad breakup, you are better off ignoring any requests to spend time alone with the person. If you must get together, do so in a public location and bring a neutral party with you. Also make a note of the date, time, and discussion during the meeting. You might even consider videotaping the meeting if you think it will later cause a problem.
Stalking charges must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. If your ex is proven to be dishonest or to have intentionally created a misleading situation, your attorney can use that to build your case. Likewise, if there were extenuating circumstances regarding your proximity to your ex and he or she misinterpreted your presence, charges are also unlikely. However, you must do everything you can to protect yourself.
If a bad breakup has escalated into accusations of stalking or domestic violence, take it seriously. Whether you have pushed too hard or if your ex is the one creating problems, you need the protection of an attorney. Contact David Lindsey, Denver criminal law attorney to schedule a free consultation to discuss the specifics of your situation.