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When Can Accusations of Harassment Lead to Stalking Charges?

Posted on in Criminal Defense

Collin County criminal defense attorney stalking

There are multiple activities and behaviors that can lead to a person facing criminal charges, and sometimes, these can arise out of relationship problems, disagreements between family members, or other situations where a person acts in a way that offends or threatens someone else. In some cases, a person who allegedly commits these types of actions may face charges of harassment, but in more serious situations, they may be accused of stalking. This is a felony offense in Texas, and a conviction can result in severe penalties, so those who have been accused of this crime should be sure to understand the laws that affect them and the best defense strategies against these types of charges.

The Differences Between Harassment and Stalking

The Texas Penal Code defines harassment as actions that are deliberately meant to annoy, torment, abuse, alarm, or embarrass someone else. These actions may include repeatedly calling someone on the phone or sending text messages or emails, as well as messages sent through other types of electronic communication, such as social media. Harassment may also involve threatening to injure or harm a person, their family members, or their property; making false reports that a person’s loved ones have suffered serious injuries or been killed; or any forms of communication that involve obscene comments or requests.

A single instance of harassment is a Class B misdemeanor in Texas, and a conviction may result in a jail sentence of up to 180 days, as well as a maximum fine of $2,000. Harassment will be charged as a Class A misdemeanor if a person had previously been convicted of harassment or violating a restraining order in a family violence case, or if the alleged acts of harassment were committed against a minor under the age of 18 with the intent of causing the child to commit suicide or suffer serious bodily harm. A Class A misdemeanor conviction can result in a jail sentence of up to one year, as well as a maximum fine of $4,000.

The charges against a person may be elevated to stalking if they are accused of committing acts of harassment on more than one occasion. Stalking charges may also apply if, on more than one occasion, a person allegedly engaged in conduct that caused a person to fear that they, their family members, or other people living in their household were at risk of bodily injury or death. Stalking offenses may also involve alleged threats that a person will damage someone’s property, including their physical belongings or their pets.

Stalking is a third-degree felony, and a conviction may result in a jail sentence of 2-10 years, as well as a maximum fine of $10,000. A second stalking conviction is a second-degree felony, and a conviction may result in a jail sentence of 2-20 years and a $10,000 fine.

Contact Our Collin County Stalking Defense Lawyers

If you are facing accusations of stalking or harassment, the Law Offices of Biederman & Burleson P.L.L.C. can provide you with high-quality legal representation. We will help you determine the best defense strategies that will allow you to avoid a conviction or minimize your potential criminal consequences. Contact our experienced Plano criminal defense attorneys today at 469-333-3333 to arrange your complimentary consultation.

 

Sources:

https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/PE/htm/PE.42.htm

https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/PE/htm/PE.12.htm

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