What is Stalking?
Stalking is the act of knowingly or recklessly engaging in a course of conduct targeted at a specific person which would cause a reasonable person to fear for their own personal/family safety.
Legally, Stalking also includes violating a restraining order with any of the following behaviors:
- Threatening the safety of the victim or their immediate family member.
- Following or confronting the victim or an immediate family member.
- Appearing or being in close proximity to the victim’s residence, place of employment, or school.
- Damaging the victim’s property either directly or through a third party.
- Causing an injury to a victim’s pet.
- Any act of communication specified in the restraining order against the perpetrator.
If a person is under the assumption they are a victim of Stalking, they may seek relief by filing a civil petition in District Court. It is up to the defendant to bear the “Burden of Proof” to obtain a restraining order. What this means is the defendant has to come up with definitive proof they are being Stalked in order for the court to issue the restraining order.
If an officer or court has probable cause to determine a restraining order is being violated, the perpetrator can be arrested without a search warrant.
A first time offender is guilty of a Class “A” misdemeanor.
However, if the offender has a prior Stalking conviction in any state in the prior 7 years, the offense is upgraded to a Class “B” felony which will almost always carry some type of jail time with it.