Have you been accused of being a stalker? Perhaps you have strong romantic feelings for someone or are concerned about that person. Human relationships can be confusing to navigate, and what may seem like innocent behavior to you could lead to a criminal charge of stalking.
If you are facing stalking charges, you may be wondering what the law defines as stalking. You may think you were doing nothing wrong. Perhaps you were trying to help someone. Perhaps you were only attempting to mend a broken relationship. Perhaps you were genuinely interested in developing a friendly relationship. But law enforcement may see your behavior as going beyond innocent and healthy. Learn what constitutes stalking in Tennessee and what you should do about any charges you face.
Definition of stalking
Behaviors that may count as stalking include:
- Following someone
- Showing up at a person's workplace, home or school uninvited
- Sending unwanted gifts, letters or electronic correspondence
- Secretly tracking someone with a GPS device
- Calling a person on the telephone
According to Tennessee harassment laws, stalking involves continuous or repeated harassment of a person that causes fear, terror or intimidation.
A pattern of behavior
If you visit or contact a person once, it would generally not be enough to support a conviction of stalking. The behavior must be repeated that results in the other person feeling apprehensive. As few as two separate events may be enough to get you charged with stalking.
The effect on the subject of your behavior is critical
The consequences of your behavior also play an important role regarding a potential charge. If your accuser feels afraid or in danger because of your actions, law enforcement may pursue charges against you. In most cases, stalking is a misdemeanor offense. But under certain circumstances, stalking behavior can be charged as a felony.
What to do about a stalking charge
If you find out that you are being charged or investigated for stalking, you should talk to an attorney as soon as you can. You should also avoid talking to your accuser during this time. In addition, do not speak with the police or investigators without your attorney. As with every other criminal charge, there are defenses, so get an experienced defense advocate on your side.