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Crimes of Stalking

The crime of stalking is charged under Texas Penal Code § 42.072. Stalking charges frequently arise in the context of domestic violence cases, although the accusation can also involve individuals who have previously dated each other but never lived together.

The definition of "stalking" under Texas law means to act in a way, more than once, that the accused knows or should know will cause the victim to feel threatened. The threat could be to the victim's life, safety or property.

Stalking is a third-degree felony unless there is a prior conviction, in which case it is a second-degree felony. The prior conviction increases the maximum potential prison term for a conviction from 10 years to 20.

If you are charged with the serious offense of stalking, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney in Austin, TX.

Attorneys for Stalking Crimes in Austin, TX

If you were charged with stalking or cyberstalking in Austin or Travis County, TX, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at The Law Office of Kevin Bennett. Attorney Kevin Bennett is experienced in fighting a wide range of violent crimes, many of which arise in domestic relationships between family members or intimate partners.

Kevin Bennett also represents clients on related charges for domestic or family violence, domestic assault, assault by strangulation, child abuse, and violation of an order of protection.

Call (512) 476-4626 for a free consultation to discuss your case.


Why Stalking Charges are So Aggressively Prosecuted

All 50 states, the U.S. Territories and the District of Columbia prohibit "stalking" as a criminal offense. The crime is considered to be very serious because recent studies show that in one of five cases, stalkers use weapons to harm or threaten victims.

Other statistics indicate that stalking is one of the significant risk factors for femicide (homicide of women) in abusive relationships. The victims of stalking report suffering from severe depression, social dysfunction, and anxiety at a higher rate than the general population.

Prosecutors often have a difficult time prosecuting criminal offenses for stalking. Unlike other crimes, stalking involves a serious of acts or a course of conduct committed over a period of time instead of one single and more easily identifiable crime.


The Most Common Examples of Stalking Crimes in Texas

In Texas, the most common examples of stalking crimes include allegations that can take the form of:

  • threats of bodily harm;
  • threats conveyed by the stalker's conduct,
  • threatening mail or electronic communications; 
  • property damage;
  • vandalism;
  • surveillance of the victim;
  • following the victim;
  • harassment;
  • child abuse;
  • animal abuse;
  • burglary;
  • battery; or
  • assault.

Many of these accusations involve conduct that does not necessarily appear to be malicious such as unwanted visits, gifts, cards, or calls.


Cyberstalking Crimes in Texas

Accusations for cyberstalking are on the rise. A recent study found that one in four victims in Texas reports that the stalker uses technology to commit the crime. The use of technology in cyberstalking crimes can involve tracking the victim's daily activities including using social media sites, hidden cameras, computers, and global positioning system devices.


Additional Resources

Information for Victims of Stalking in Texas - Visit the website of the Attorney General of Texas to find information for the victims of stalking crimes.The article defines stalking as a pattern of controlling behaviors intended to intimidate and terrify the victim. The article answers frequently asked questions such as: “How do I know if I’m being stalked?” The article explains the consequences of a violation of Section 42.072 and the ways that a prosecutor can prove the crime of stalking. Find information on related crimes such as terroristic threats. 


This article was last updated on Friday, September 15, 2017.