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Penalties for Stalking in Texas

In the past, what’s been coined as “stalking behaviors” were not technically illegal because most of the time, no physical harm actually came out of it. Such behaviors include following a former spouse around town, calling someone and hanging up repeatedly, sending the object of an obsession love letters, or tracking a person’s every move.

Stalking is nothing new; people have been doing it for a very long time but in recent years, courts across the country have outlawed various types of stalking behaviors because they have the tendency to intimidate and terrorize victims, and make them fear for their lives.

What Texas Law Says About Stalking

Like many states, Texas has enacted its own anti-stalking laws, which can be found under Section 42.072 of the Texas Penal Code. Under Sec. 42.072, you commit the offense of stalking if “one more than one occasion and pursuant to the same scheme or course of conduct that is directed specifically at another person,” you knowingly engage in conduct that you or the victim will regard as threatening.

Stalking behaviors place the victim in fear of:

  • Bodily injury or death,
  • Bodily injury to the victim’s family or someone they are dating, or
  • Death to the victim’s family or someone they are dating.

Stalking also includes conduct that places the victim, their family, or someone they are dating in fear that it will:

  • Result in damage to the victim’s personal property,
  • Place the victim’s family, or someone they’re dating in fear that you’ll cause bodily injury or death, or
  • Cause the victim, their family or someone they are dating to feel fear, abused, embarrassed, offended, harassed, annoyed, or tormented.

A first stalking offense is prosecuted as a felony of the third degree, punishable by 2 to 10 years in prison and by a maximum fine of $10,000. If the defendant has a previous conviction for stalking, a second offense is a felony of the second degree, punishable by 2 to 20 years in prison and by a fine not to exceed $10,000.

Related: About Texas Family Violence Protective Orders

To fight your stalking charges, contact Dallas Criminal Defense Attorney, Peter Barrett today.