What Constitutes Stalking, and How Is It Punished in Alabama?
When relationships turn sour or end, sometimes we all do things that we’re not proud of in an effort to get back at, or get back together with, the person we once loved. When contact with someone crosses the line into harassment, then the accused harasser could be charged with stalking, and could face serious criminal penalties. Read about the criminal charges of stalking and their possible jail sentences, below.
There are multiple ways that stalking can be charged as a crime in Alabama: second-degree stalking, first-degree stalking, and aggravated stalking.
- Second-degree stalking is a misdemeanor offense. A person can be found guilty of second-degree stalking where evidence shows that, acting with an “improper purpose,” they intentionally followed, harassed, called, or otherwise initiated communication (such as through social media, email, or text message) with a person, or the friends or family of that person. The behavior must cause mental or emotional harm to the victim, or give the victim good reason to fear that their career is threatened by the accused stalker’s behavior. If the suspected stalker continues to follow, harass, or try to communicate with someone after they have been asked to stop doing so, then the behavior can be charged as a crime. A person convicted of second-degree stalking may face up to six months in jail and up to $3,000 in fines.
- First-degree stalking is a felony offense. A person can be found to have committed first-degree stalking where the prosecutor can prove that they intentionally and repeatedly followed or harassed another person, and that they made threats (either directly or indirectly) that made the followed or harassed person fear for their life or fear serious bodily harm. First-degree stalking can carry a sentence of one to ten years in prison and fines of up to $15,000.
- Aggravated stalking can be charged where the following, harassment, or communication occurred where there was already some type of court order in place, such as a protection order. Both first- and second-degree stalking can be considered aggravated. A conviction for aggravated stalking can result in a prison sentence of between two and 20 years and up to $30,000 in fines.
Make sure that your constitutional rights are protected if you’re charged with a crime in Alabama, and contact the skilled and aggressive Dothan criminal defense lawyers at Smith & McGhee at 334-702-1744.