Stalking / Cyberstalking
When a person engages in a pattern of behavior that includes following and repeatedly attempting to contact another individual to the points that the other party feels threatened by the attention, the activity may constitute stalking. While the crime of stalking often refers to attempted physical contact, similar conduct exhibited online is referred to as cyberstalking.
A person who engages in alleged stalking and cyberstalking behavior can face criminal charges in Texas. In virtually every case, stalking or cyberstalking charges are based solely on the accusations of the alleged victim, which means a person may be arrested despite having no criminal intent.
Lawyer for Stalking / Cyberstalking Arrests in Georgetown, TX
Have you been charged with alleged stalking or cyberstalking in Central Texas? No matter how confident you are in your innocence, do not say anything to authorities without legal counsel. Contact Price & Twine, PLLC as soon as possible.
Michael J. Price is an experienced criminal defense attorney in Georgetown who represents clients accused of domestic violence offenses in Killeen, Leander, Round Rock, Taylor, Temple, and many surrounding areas of Williamson County and Bell County. Call (512) 354-1880 today to have our lawyer provide a complete evaluation of your case during a free, confidential consultation.
Texas Stalking / Cyberstalking Information Center
- What is the difference between stalking and cyberstalking?
- How are these crimes classified under state law?
- Where can I learn more about stalking and cyberstalking in Georgetown?
Stalking / Cyberstalking Charges in Williamson County
Texas Penal Code § 42.072 states that commits a stalking offense if he or she, on more than one occasion and pursuant to the same scheme or course of conduct that is directed specifically at another person, knowingly engages in conduct that:
- constitutes the offense of harassment under Texas Penal Code § 42.07, or that the alleged offender knows or reasonably should know the other person will regard as threatening bodily injury or death for the other person, bodily injury or death for a member of the other person’s family or household or for an individual with whom the other person has a dating relationship, or that an offense will be committed against the other person’s property;
- causes the other person, a member of the other person’s family or household, or an individual with whom the other person has a dating relationship to be placed in fear of bodily injury or death or in fear that an offense will be committed against the other person’s property, or to feel harassed, annoyed, alarmed, abused, tormented, embarrassed, or offended; and
- would cause a reasonable person to fear bodily injury or death for himself or herself, fear bodily injury or death for a member of the person’s family or household or for an individual with whom the person has a dating relationship, fear that an offense will be committed against the person’s property, or feel harassed, annoyed, alarmed, abused, tormented, embarrassed, or offended.
Under Texas Penal Code § 42.07, an alleged offender commits the offense of harassment if he or she, with intent to harass, annoy, alarm, abuse, torment, or embarrass another, does any of the following:
- initiates communication and in the course of the communication makes a comment, request, suggestion, or proposal that is obscene;
- threatens, in a manner reasonably likely to alarm the person receiving the threat, to inflict bodily injury on the person or to commit a felony against the person, a member of the person’s family or household, or the person’s property;
- conveys, in a manner reasonably likely to alarm the person receiving the report, a false report, which is known by the conveyor to be false, that another person has suffered death or serious bodily injury;
- causes the telephone of another to ring repeatedly or makes repeated telephone communications anonymously or in a manner reasonably likely to harass, annoy, alarm, abuse, torment, embarrass, or offend another;
- makes a telephone call and intentionally fails to hang up or disengage the connection;
- knowingly permits a telephone under the person’s control to be used by another to commit an offense under this section; or
- sends repeated electronic communications in a manner reasonably likely to harass, annoy, alarm, abuse, torment, embarrass, or offend another.
Cyberstalking is not specifically established as a crime in the Texas Penal Code, but such offenses are usually prosecuted as harassment crimes under Texas Penal Code § 42.07(a)(7). Electronic communications under this subsection are defined as “a transfer of signs, signals, writing, images, sounds, data, or intelligence of any nature transmitted in whole or in part by a wire, radio, electromagnetic, photoelectronic, or photo-optical system.” The term includes:
- a communication initiated by electronic mail, instant message, network call, or facsimile machine; and
- a communication made to a pager.
Stalking / Cyberstalking Penalties in Georgetown
Harassment is a Class B misdemeanor punishable by up to 180 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,000. If an alleged offender has been previously convicted of this crime, any subsequent offense is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and/or a fine of up to $4,000.
Stalking is a third-degree felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000. If an alleged offender has been previously convicted of this crime, any subsequent offense is a second-degree felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000.
A stalking offense can also be classified as a second-degree felony if an alleged offender has been previously convicted of an offense under any of the following laws that contains elements that are substantially similar to the elements of a stalking offense:
- the laws of another state;
- the laws of a federally recognized Indian tribe;
- the laws of a territory of the United States; or
- federal law.
Texas Stalking / Cyberstalking Offense Resources
Information on Stalking | Texas Attorney General — On this section of the attorney general’s website, you can find information on stalking crimes. Get answers to frequently asked questions, learn what to do if you are being stalked, and read about important safety measures. Elsewhere on the website, you can also find information about victims’ rights and resources.
Cyber stalking: An Analysis of Online Harassment and Intimidation — Read this article published in the International Journal of Cyber Criminology that examines cyberstalking. The article compares cyberstalking to traditional offline stalking, discusses the internet as a medium for online predatory behavior, and talks about the typology, etiology of cyber stalking and victims. The article concludes by reviewing the legal and social issues of cyberstalking.
Price & Twine, PLLC | Georgetown Stalking / Cyberstalking Defense Attorney
If you were arrested in Central Texas for allegedly committing a stalking or cyberstalking offense, it is in your best interest to immediately seek legal representation. Price & Twine, PLLC aggressively defends individuals all over Williamson County and Bell County, including Benton, Georgetown, Cedar Park, Harker Heights, Hutto, and several other nearby communities.
Georgetown criminal defense lawyer Michael J. Price can determine all applicable mitigating factors and defenses that can possible lead to your criminal charges being reduced or dismissed. He can review your case and discuss all of your legal options with you as soon as you call (512) 354-1880 or submit an online contact form to schedule a free initial consultation.