Austin Stalking Lawyer

Are You Facing a Stalking Charge in Texas?

Stalking is engaging in unwanted, repeated behavior that threatens or causes fear in another person. A stalking conviction in Texas carries severe consequences, including potential prison time and fines. Let our skilled criminal defense team provide you with a clear understanding of stalking under Texas law, including the penalties and defenses, so that you are armed with the knowledge needed to tackle these charges.

Choose a Skilled Stalking Lawyers in Austin

Facing allegations of stalking? The path ahead may appear overwhelming. However, you need not tackle it alone. Cofer & Connelly boasts years of experience in helping Texas clients resolve criminal charges, including stalking and other related sex crimes. To arrange a consultation with a stalking attorney, get in touch with Cofer & Connelly, PLLC, at (512) 991-0576 or online.

About Texas’ Stalking Law

Under Texas Statutes Section 42.072, stalking is defined as a repeated behavior where you, on more than one occasion and as part of the same planned behavior specifically aimed at another person, knowingly engage in activities that you understand, or should understand, will be seen as threatening by the other person. This can include threats of bodily harm or death to the person you're targeting, to their family or household members, or to someone they're in a dating relationship with. It also covers threats to commit a crime against that person's property.

For your actions to be considered stalking, they must make the other person feel certain negative emotions or fear for their safety or the safety of their loved ones. Specifically, the law states that your actions must cause the other person, their family members, or someone they are dating to fear for their safety, to worry that a crime will be committed against their property, or to feel harassed, abused annoyed, upset, embarrassed, tormented or offended.

Moreover, under this Texas law, these feelings are not just based on how the targeted person feels. Your actions would be considered stalking if they would make a reasonable person feel fear for their own safety or the safety of others, worry about crimes against their property, or feel tormented or harassed.

The court can decide that different types of behavior you engage in on multiple occasions can be seen as part of the same planned behavior or scheme, even if those behaviors seem different. This means that a variety of actions, when done as part of the same plan and targeted at the same person, can be considered stalking.

Lastly, the law recognizes that relationships and property have broad meanings. It includes not just traditional relationships and physical property, but also pets and assistance animals. Essentially, the law protects a wide range of potential victims.

Penalties for Stalking Charges in Texas

In Texas, the penalties for stalking depend on the classification of the offense. If you are found guilty of stalking, it is typically classified as a third-degree felony. However, if you have a prior conviction for stalking or a similar offense, it may be elevated to a second-degree felony.

As a third-degree felony, stalking can lead to a prison sentence ranging from 2 to 10 years and may also include a fine of up to $10,000. If the offense is classified as a second-degree felony, perhaps due to a prior conviction, the prison time increases significantly. You could face 2 to 20 years in prison, with the same maximum fine of $10,000.

It's important to note that these are the standard penalties for stalking offenses, but certain circumstances and details of the case can lead to variations in sentencing. Additionally, Texas courts sometimes offer alternatives to incarceration, especially for first-time offenders or lower-level crimes. These alternatives may include probation, community service, or participation in treatment programs. The aim of these alternatives is often to address the underlying issues that led to the criminal behavior, with the hope of reducing the likelihood of another offense.

Potential Defenses to Stalking Charges

One defense to stalking might be proving a lack of intent or knowledge. If you didn't know that your actions were unwelcome or didn't intend to threaten or instill fear, this might be used in your defense. Another approach could be arguing that there was no credible threat, suggesting that your actions wouldn't be seen as genuinely threatening by a reasonable person.

Mistaken identity can also be a defense if you can show that you were not the person who engaged in the alleged behavior. In some cases, asserting your right to freedom of expression might be relevant, especially if your actions were a legitimate part of exercising free speech, as long as they didn't cross into threatening territory.

Additionally, you might argue unintentional presence, meaning any encounters with the person were coincidental or unintentional, not part of a pattern meant to cause fear or distress. Each situation is unique, so some of these defenses may not apply in your situation.

Role of a Stalking Lawyer in Austin, TX

If you're charged with stalking, a criminal defense lawyer is your ally. Their first step will be to closely review the details of the accusation and the evidence against you. They'll develop a defense strategy tailored to your case, potentially challenging the prosecution's evidence or the credibility of witnesses. Your lawyer will also handle the legal procedures on your behalf, ensuring you understand your rights and the legal process ahead. They might negotiate to reach a plea agreement favorable to you or work towards having the charges reduced or dismissed. Ultimately, their job is to stand up for your rights and aim for the best outcome based on the specifics of your case and the available defenses.

Frequently Asked Questions About Stalking

What constitutes stalking in Texas?
Stalking involves repeatedly engaging in behavior that you know, or should know, threatens someone and makes them feel fearful or harassed.

Is one instance enough to be charged with stalking?
No, the behavior must occur on more than one occasion and be part of a directed and planned course of conduct.

What behaviors are considered stalking?
Behaviors include any that threaten bodily harm, death, or property damage, and cause the targeted person to feel fear, harassed, or annoyed.

Does the victim need to be physically harmed for it to be stalking?
No, physical harm is not necessary. The fear of harm or feeling harassed is enough.

Can I be charged with stalking if I didn't intend to scare anyone?
Yes, if your actions are seen as threatening and cause fear or distress, intent may not matter.

Does stalking only apply to threats of physical violence?
No, it also includes threats to property and actions causing someone to feel harassed or alarmed.

Does the victim's perception matter in stalking cases?
Yes, how the victim perceives your actions is significant, but so is how a reasonable person would perceive them.

Contact Our Austin Stalking Attorneys Today

If you're facing stalking charges, the path ahead can feel daunting. You don't have to face it alone. Cofer & Connelly has years of experience in helping clients in Texas resolve criminal charges such as stalking or other sex crimes on the most favorable grounds possible. Contact Cofer & Connelly, PLLC by calling (512) 991-0576 or contacting us online for a consultation with a stalking lawyer. Our team is ready to provide the guidance and defense you deserve.

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