What Constitutes Stalking?

Categories of Stalking

No matter what state you are in, stalking is prohibited. Stalking is defined as the intentional, repeated following of an individual for the purpose of harassing them with express or implied threats of violence or death. The definitions tend to vary slightly from state to state in terms of what stalking is. Some states include aspects like lying in wait, surveillance, or ignoring warnings from police officers.

In California, the stalking law makes it illegal to follow, harass, and threaten another person. To violate this statute, the threat must put the alleged victim in reasonable fear for his or her safety. The impact of stalking can be quite traumatic for the victim. See some staggering stalking statistics from the Stalking Prevention, Awareness, and Research Center below:

  • 46% of stalking victims fear not knowing what will happen next
  • 29% of stalking victims fear the stalking will never stop
  • 1 in 8 employed stalking victims lose time from work due to their victimization and more than half lose 5 days or more
  • 1 in 7 staking victims move due to their victimization

According to the Stalking Prevention, Awareness, and Resource Center, an estimated 6-7.5 million people are stalked in a one-year period in the U.S. Furthermore, nearly one in six women and one in seventeen men have experienced stalking victimization at some point in their lifetime. About half of all victims of stalking indicate that they were stalked before the age of 25. Most stalking victims are stalked by someone they know, and many victims are stalked by a current or former intimate partner or acquaintance. When we look at the motivations behind stalking, we see a few commonalities, including the following:

  • Rejected stalker

Some stalkers are motivated to do what they do because they have been rejected by someone who they wanted a relationship with or they have recently experienced a breakup. They might stalk as a way to salvage the relationship or stay close to their victim. They could also be angry or want revenge.

  • Predatory stalker

Predatory stalkers tend to be malicious and have mal intent for their victim. The most common scenario in these cases would be a female victim and a male stalker, but the dynamic can vary. It might start with voyeurism and turn into a stalking situation and in extreme cases, turn into sexual assault.

  • Hitmen

Hitmen are the most dangerous type of stalker because they are specifically hired to injure or murder another person. They are a unique type of stalker in the sense that they are usually hired by a criminal organization.

  • Political stalker

Like the name would suggest, political stalkers are motivated by political beliefs. It is common for this type of stalker to target those who either agree or disagree with their views, and can pose a danger to those people.

  • Resentful stalker

Some individuals begin to exhibit stalker-like behavior when they feel they have been mistreated. These stalkers often suffer from mental illness of some kind. For them, stalking can be a way to get revenge for what they feel was mistreatment.

  • Intimacy seeker

Intimacy seekers are typically attempting to establish or assert a loving relationship with their victims, who are receiving unwanted attention. Intimacy seekers often have a false idea that their victim is in love with them, and they tend to put their attention towards public figures or people in positions of power.

Common Stalking Tactics

No matter what type of stalker this situation might fall under, there are a few common approaches that we see in the majority of stalkers in court. For one, approaching the victim and showing up in places where the victim did not invite them is a common tactic. It is also common for a stalker to send unwanted telephone calls, text messages, watching or following from a distance, and spy on the victim with a camera or GPS. Other common tactics include:

  • Leaving strange or threatening items for the victim to find
  • Watching, following, or tracking a victim
  • Sneaking into the victim’s home or car, scaring them, and making them aware the stalker has been there

What Is the Punishment for Stalking?

As you can see, there are many different types of stalking, and the punishment for each will depend on the severity of the crime. You can be charged with a felony or a misdemeanor depending on the individual factors of the case. Misdemeanor stalking is punished by a term of one year in county jail, a fine of up to $1000 or both, and a fine of imprisonment. If you’re convicted of felony stalking, the penalty can include a term of up to five years in prison, a fine of up to $10,000, or both as well as imprisonment.

If you are being accused of stalking or are in a similar situation, do not hesitate to reach out to The Law Office of Brian C. Andritch. Give us a call at (559) 484-2112 or contact us online for the criminal defense support you need!

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