In Texas, stalking is a serious crime. In fact, it’s considered so
serious that it is classified as a third-degree felony. That means if
you are accused of and convicted for this offense, you could be looking
at years in prison and steep fines.
How Does Texas Define Stalking?
Stalking is generally defined as engaging in the same type of offensive
conduct against an individual on more than 1 occasion. So let’s
say you’ve met someone you really like and enjoy hanging out with.
You’ve called them once to express your feelings and desires for
them. If the person considers what you said to be alarming, abusive, or
embarrassing, they could report you to law enforcement for harassment.
You still want to see and talk to this person you met, so you call and
text them a couple more times. Again, if they find your communication
harassing, you could be accused of another crime. However, since this
is the second time you’ve contacted the person in an offensive way,
the charge elevates from harassment to stalking.
The law is specific about the type of behavior that would be considered stalking.
Under statute 42.072, a person is considered to be stalking someone else
if they engage in behavior that they know:
- Is considered a harassment offense or that the other person will find threatening;
- Will cause the other person to fear bodily injury, death, or damage to
their property, or will make that person feel harassed, annoyed, alarmed,
abused, tormented, embarrassed, or offended; and
- Would make a reasonable person fear bodily injury or death, or feel harassed
When it comes to behavior that threatens bodily injury or death, you could
be violating the stalking law not only if the person you’ve communicated
with fears this but also if their family or dating partner is afraid for
their own safety. So if you’ve met someone who says they don’t
want to meet up with you, and you send them a couple of text messages
on more than 1 occasion threatening to hurt their brother unless they
meet with you face-to-face, you face stalking charges.
What Are the Penalties for Stalking?
As mentioned earlier, stalking is a third-degree felony.
If you are convicted of stalking, you could face:
- Between 2 and 10 years in prison and/or
- A fine of up to $10,000
However, let’s say you were previously convicted of stalking, whether
the alleged offense happened in Texas or another state. In that situation,
the charge goes up to a second-degree felony.
In Texas, a conviction for second-degree felonies include:
- Between 2 and 20 years in prison and/or
- A fine of up to $10,000
Schedule a Free Consultation with Jerry Loftin & Associates
Our attorneys understand the seriousness of criminal charges and potential
conviction penalties. That is why, if you’ve been accused of stalking
or committing another crime, such as
assault and family violence, we will work aggressively toward a favorable outcome on your behalf.
Get started with your case in Fort Worth by calling us at (817) 429-2000 or
contacting us online.