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Fort Worth Stalking Lawyer

What is Stalking?

Stalking in Texas is an allegation that a person acted more than once and in same course of conduct in a manner that put the victim in fear of damage to their property, bodily injury, or death. This is generally a third degree offense, unlike the similar charge of harassment which is generally a misdemeanor. Stalking is codified under Penal Code 42.072.

Stalking charges generally require a course of action that goes beyond phone calls and texts, although those could rise to the level of stalking depending on the content of the communication. The prosecutor, court, and potentially a jury, will look at what the accused’s thoughts were. The mental state requirement for stalking is knowingly.

In Texas, stalking is defined as intentionally and repeatedly following, harassing, or threatening another person in a manner that would cause a reasonable person to feel alarmed or to suffer emotional distress. This can include physical actions such as following someone or showing up at their home or workplace, as well as online actions such as sending threatening messages or posting harassing content about the person on social media.

Stalking Statute in Texas Under Review [2022]

If you have been charged with stalking you need to make sure the attorney you are considering hiring is up to speed on recent challenges to the stalking statute. The Second Court of Appeals in Fort Worth handed down Ex Parte Charles Barton which draws the statute into question. The State is appealing but at the moment stalking cases are in flux depending on what the alleged conduct was. Additionally, the state has filed a Petition for Discretionary Review on Griswold. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Penal Code 42.072 is unconstitutional. The court noted the statute “suffers from a fatal flaw of vagueness because the disjunctive series of the terms ‘harass, annoy, alarm, abuse, torment, embarrass, or offend’ leaves the electronic communications subsection open to various ‘uncertainties of meaning,’” and “the term ‘reasonably likely’ does not create a ‘reasonable person’ standard sufficient to cure the failure of the subsection to specify whose sensitivities were offended.”

Stalking in Texas

Sam Houston State University did a study on stalking in Texas and found that over 18% of 700 randomly selected Texas residents said they were victims of stalking. Other interesting facts they published included:

  • Stalking victims are most likely to be under 35 years of age.
  • Men (16%) and women (19.9%) were about equally likely to be stalked.
  • Over 50% of stalking victims were acquainted with their stalkers.

What does it mean to act “Knowingly” under Texas Law?

The nature-oriented definition of knowingly is as follows: A person acts knowingly, or with knowledge, with respect to the nature of his conduct or to circumstances surrounding his conduct when he is aware of the nature of his conduct or that the circumstances exist.

In Texas, stalking is defined as intentionally and repeatedly following, harassing, or threatening another person in a manner that would cause a reasonable person to feel alarmed or to suffer emotional distress. This can include physical actions such as following someone or showing up at their home or workplace, as well as online actions such as sending threatening messages or posting harassing content about the person on social media.

How Our Fort Worth Stalking Lawyer Can Help

Stalking is generally a third degree felony, punishable by 2-10 years in prison.

Third degree felony in Texas
Third degree punishment range in Texas

Stalking can be enhanced to a second degree felony with a 20-year cap if the person has been previously convicted of stalking.

Due to these potentially severe punishments, anyone facing charges should reach out to a Fort Worth stalking lawyer for legal assistance.

stalking in texas

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About the Author Board Certified Lawyer Benson Varghese

About the Author

Benson Varghese is the managing partner of Varghese Summersett. He is a seasoned attorney, highly esteemed for his comprehensive knowledge and expertise in the field. He has successfully handled thousands of state and federal cases, ranging from misdemeanor driving while intoxicated cases to capital offenses, showcasing his commitment to preserving justice and upholding the rights of his clients. His firm covers criminal defense, personal injury, and family law matters. Benson is also a legal tech entrepreneur. Benson is a go-to authority in the legal community, known for his ability to explain complex legal concepts with clarity and precision. His writings offer a wealth of in-depth legal insights, reflecting his extensive experience and his passion for the law. Not only is Benson an accomplished litigator, but he is also a dedicated advocate for his clients, consistently striving to achieve the best possible outcomes for them. His authorship provides readers with valuable legal advice and an understanding of the complexities of the criminal justice system. CriminalPersonal InjuryFamily Law Contact
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