Stalking – The Legal Definition

Stalking.  What is it really?

To be convicted of the crime of stalking, there is actually a lot that the Commonwealth has to prove.  Stalking is defined as:

  • a person willfully (on purpose) and maliciously (meanly or spitefully or with a desire to cause injury or fear) engages in a pattern of conduct or series of acts or a specific period of time directed at another person and that other person is seriously alarmed or annoyed.
  • the behavior causes a reasonable person to suffer substantial emotional distress.
  • and threatens the other person so much so that the other person is placed in imminent (immediate) fear of death or bodily injury.

Stalking does not have to be in person,  it can be done by email, skype, aol, text, chatting, facebook, myspace, regular mail, or telephone.  Basically, if you can communicate on it you can be charged with stalking on it.

What is the punishment for stalking in Massachusetts?

  • not more than five years in prison or a fine of not more than 1000.00 or
  • jail for not more than 2 and 1/2 years and a fine of not more than 1000.00 or both.

Stalking in violation of a Restraining Order carries with it a minimum mandatory sentence of 1 year.  This is a crime for which, if you are convicted you cannot receive probation.  You will receive jail time if convicted.  The punishment is imprisonment from one year to five years in jail or prison.  A minimum mandatory sentence is a sentence that is required to be served if convicted and before any eligibility for parole or good time early release.

Subsequent stalking convictions carry a more serious conviction (subsequent means that you must have been previously convicted of stalking) of carries a minimum mandatory sentence of two years and up to ten years in jail or prison.

To see the full statute click here.

If you have been charged with stalking, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney to defend you.  Stalking can be difficult to prove, and an experienced criminal defense attorney can help.  Please contact Jessica A. Foley at the Law Office of Jessica A. Foley at 866-981-7888 or email.  Emergency phone calls are responded to 24/7.

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