Stalking is defined as the purposeful and repeated following and harassment of an individual. Harassment refers to any act or behavior towards another that is calculated to disturb or upset, or which the victim finds threatening. There are many forms of stalking and harassment, including cyberstalking (stalking a person over the internet), celebrity stalking, workplace stalking, and workplace harassment. The penalties for stalking or harassment can be harsh, and vary depending on certain circumstances, such as the intensity or frequency of the act.
A person convicted of stalking or harassment can face substantial fines, community service, probation, mandatory counseling programs, restraining orders, or even jail or prison time. If you have been charged with stalking or harassing another, then it is important to know that you have rights in this situation, and a lawyer can ensure those rights are protected, as well as provide you with representation in your case.
What is Considered Harassment in Texas?
Under Texas Penal Code § 42.07, a person commits harassment if, with intent to harass, annoy, alarm, abuse, torment, or embarrass another, they do the following:
- initiate communication and in the course of the communication makes a comment, request, suggestion, or proposal that is obscene
- threaten, in a manner reasonably likely to alarm the person receiving the threat, to inflict bodily injury on the person or commit a felony against the person, a member of the person's family or household, or the person's property
- convey that another person has suffered death or serious bodily injury through a false report which they know to be false
- call someone repeatedly, make repeated telephone calls anonymously or send repeated electronic communications in a manner reasonably likely to harass, annoy, alarm, abuse, torment, embarrass, or offend another
- make a telephone call and intentionally fail to hang up or disengage the connection
- knowingly permit a telephone under the person's control to be used by another to commit certain offenses
What are the Penalties for Harassment?
Harassment is a Class B misdemeanor punishable by 180 days in jail and up to $2,000 fines. However, it can become a Class A misdemeanor punishable by one year in jail and $4,000 fines if:
- the defendant was previously convicted of harassment
- the offense was committed against a child under 18 years old and involved repeated and harassing electronic communications with the intent that the child:
- commit suicide
- engage in conduct causing serious bodily injury to themselves
- the defendant previously violated a temporary restraining order or injunction
What Constitutes Stalking in Texas?
A person commits stalking if they knowingly and repeatedly engage in conduct that does the following:
- constitutes harassing, or that they know or reasonably should know the victim will regard as threatening
- cause a reasonable person, the victim, a member of the victim’s family or household, or the victim’s dating partner to:
- fear bodily injury or death
- fear that an offense will be committed against their property
- feel harassed, annoyed, alarmed, abused, tormented, embarrassed, or offended
What are the Penalties for Stalking?
Stalking is a third-degree felony that carries penalties of two to 10 years in prison and up to $10,000 fines. If a defendant was already convicted of stalking or a crime that involved elements similar to stalking, they may get a second-degree felony charge punishable by two 20 years in prison and $10,000 fines. It is a serious crime that involves serious punishments, so let’s review how stalking is defined in Texas.
Are You Facing Stalking or Harassment Charges?
Aside from the steep penalties a stalking or harassment conviction can bring, there are also additional consequences that can affect you long into the future if you have been found guilty of such charges. The conviction could remain on your criminal record indefinitely, which can affect your future chances at obtaining a job, purchasing a home or car, or applying for secondary education. At Alband, Lane & Balderama, we work hard to help people avoid consequences like these by providing them with strong defenses in their criminal cases.
Contact us today by calling (817) 997-4366 for your stalking or harassment case, and we will provide you with honest, dedicated representation that can increase the likelihood of a case outcome that is greatly in your favor.
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