Stalking under the Texas Penal Code

stalking

This article offers details on the Texas Penal Code provisions on stalking. Read up on stalking to better understand what it is and what to do if you become a victim.

What exactly is Stalking?

According to Texas Penal Code 42.072, it is unlawful for someone to engage in a pattern of recurrent activity aimed at an individual that would reasonably cause that person to feel afraid. Threats from a stalker may involve harming the target, threats of death, or harming an individual who is part of his or her family or home.

The Typical Behavior of Stalkers:

A person who is stalking may use actions or threats meant to frighten their victim. This is to keep them under control. 

An obsessive stalker may be experiencing either obsessive love or obsessive hatred. An ongoing stalking relationship might last for days, weeks, or years. 

The act might include sending harassing correspondence, following the target, watching them, verbally threatening them, or conveying threats through the stalker’s actions. 

Who may be a Target of Stalking?

The majority of stalking happens among known individuals. Less than one-quarter of women and around one-third of men are the targets of stranger stalking. The most frequent instances in which an intimate partner of a woman may stalk her are while in a relationship, after it ends, or both times.

If I know the Individual, is it still stalking?

Absolutely. A stalker might be a stranger, a friend, or a past lover. But most stalking victims are pursued by someone they know, such as a current or past partner, a friend, or a relative. 

How can I tell if someone is stalking me?

A stalker might: 

  • Follow the victim or members of the victim’s household, 
  • Vandalize the property of the victim 
  • Vandalize the victim’s automobile, hurt a pet, or shatter windows in their house to cause property damage, 
  • Making frequent phone calls, emails, text messages, and social media posts 
  • Sending unwelcome presents, 
  • Drive by or park close to the victim’s residence, place of business, and other sites they are acquainted with, 
  • Awaiting someone’s arrival or departure at specific locations, 
  • Looking distantly at the victim, 
  • Using GPS or other technologies to follow their target covertly. 

What if the victim of stalking is less afraid and more irritated and angry?

Individuals’ responses to stalkers vary. Some people may appear irritated or furious. And some people may downplay or reject the stalking while concealing their dread.  

What are some signs that someone is afraid?

When confronted with stalking, a victim’s behavior may alter. They may alter their everyday commute, avoid going out, and do other activities. 

Victims may also experience isolation, anxiety, nervousness, tension, and melancholy. 

What should I do if someone is stalking me?

Inform the prosecutor’s office, local law enforcement, and everyone else in the area. The police should be notified of all incidents, and you should ensure that each can be proven. Order a duplicate of the report. Record all correspondence, phone conversations, and textbook transmissions made by the spy. Record all phone conversations.

Furthermore, it would be best to record everything in a diary with dates—describing the experience and other details. Take note of the connections between any substantiations since this might help you with any further actions.

Speak with your original county or quarter attorney to get a defensive order. Many legitimate help organizations are happy to assist you in carrying out a defense order.

Although telling everyone nearby can seem unsettling, it is not! People close to you may be aware of effects that you are unaware of and can help keep you safe. Ask them questions so you can record each time they encounter the spy and report it to you.

Note: Stalking is a pattern of malicious behavior.

 Texas views stalking as an ongoing criminal activity rather than a singular incident.

This pattern of behavior might entail direct physical acts or interactions, like persistently trailing someone on the street, or indirect actions or interactions, such as continually getting in touch with someone by phone, social media, emails, or other kinds of engagement.

These messages must always be unwanted and undesirable by the recipient, who must be concerned about their safety or general well-being.

Texas Stalking Laws

According to Texas’ stalking statutes (Section 42.072 of the Texas Penal Code), it is unlawful for someone to engage in a pattern of behavior that they know—or should know—would make another person feel intimidated or afraid.

A person constantly knocking on the door of an estranged romantic partner would be a legitimate basis for worry or concern and may be viewed as threatening, for example, if the estranged partner had insisted that the individual leave them alone.

Remember that stalking cannot be considered the same as sexual harassment, which frequently includes activities in the workplace and is a civil, not a criminal, complaint.

Threats of stalking might be explicit or implicit.

What is an explicit threat?

Victims may allege that the person stalking them threatened them with physical harm or death or that a loved one or pet received a violent threat.

What is an implicit threat?

Instead of making an explicit threat, this might entail a hint of damage (for instance, “I won’t be pleased with this, and you don’t know what I will do”).

A stalking charge might follow in any scenario.

In Texas, stalking is a third-degree felony.

According to Texas law, stalking is a serious offense since it frequently results in other violent and dangerous offenses. Because of this, stalking is a third-degree crime in Texas.

An individual risks a jail term of between two and ten years and a monetary penalty as high as $10,000 if found guilty of stalking as a third-degree felony.

The offense is a second-degree felony, which is more severe if a stalking allegation involves a repeat violation. A second-degree felony in Texas carries a penalty of 2 to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

Conclusion:

The Texas Penal Code 42.072 outlaws stalking, a pattern of persistent behavior intended to make a person feel terrified. Threats of death, injury to family or home, or harm to the target are all examples of this.

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