Is Stalking a Crime in Texas?

man with handcuffs behind back

When people think of stalking, they may picture a mysterious person hiding in the shadows and watching them without their knowledge. However, it’s important to understand that there are numerous ways someone can be charged with this offense. Unfortunately, many people who are charged with stalking don’t realize their behavior warrants criminal charges. As such, familiarizing yourself with what warrants this offense, the penalties, and how Houston criminal defense attorneys can help you during these times is critical. The following blog explores what you should know about these matters.

What Constitutes Stalking?

In Texas, stalking is a more serious form of harassment, which is also a crime. Essentially, someone can be charged with this offense if they knowingly, repeatedly, and specifically target an individual. Elements of stalking include:

  • Threatening the person, their loved ones, or their property
  • Causes the target or their loved ones to fear for their safety
  • Causes the target or their loved ones to feel harassed, intimidated, or tormented

Due to the broad nature, stalking can take many different forms. This can include repeatedly calling a target, showing up at their place of work, vandalizing property, sending unwanted presents, or following them around to different locations.

What Penalties Does Texas Impose for This Offense?

In Texas, stalking is an elevated harassment charge. As such, a first-time offender will face a third-degree felony for their actions. This carries a penalty of two to ten years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

However, if you have already been convicted of a stalking offense and are charged for a second time, it will elevate to a second-degree felony charge, which increases the potential jail time to two to twenty years in prison.

What Can I Do to Help My Case if I’m Charged?

If you are charged with stalking, the most important thing you can do to help improve your chances of a favorable outcome is to contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible. Not only can they examine the circumstances to determine what potential defenses may be applicable to your case, but they can help fight to ensure your rights are protected throughout this process.

It’s also critical to cease all communication and contact with your accuser immediately. Any attempt at talking to them or showing up at their home or workplace can be held against you and make it seem like you are trying to intimidate them. You should do everything in your power to avoid them.

Facing any criminal charges can be scary, but being labeled as a stalker can take a serious toll on your life. At the Gonzalez Law Group, our dedicated legal team will work to help you through these challenging times. Connect with us today to explore your options for these matters.