A person can commit the crime of stalking several ways. He may do so if he purposely, knowingly, or recklessly engages in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for his or her personal safety or the safety of a member of that person’s immediate family, and the person is actually placed in such fear.
A person also commits stalking if he purposely or knowingly engages in a course of conduct targeted at a specific individual, which the person knows will place that individual in fear for his or her personal safety or the safety of a member that person’s immediate family.
A person can also commit stalking if, after being served with a protective order (a restraining order) or an otherwise lawful court order to have no contact with someone, that person purposely, knowingly, or recklessly engages in one act of certain conduct.
A “course of conduct” as used here means two or more acts over a period of time, no matter how short, which shows a continuity of purpose. Such acts often include:
- Threatening the targeted person or a member of that person’s family
- Following, approaching, or confronting that person or that person’s family
- Appearing in close proximity to a place where that person or a member of that person’s family may be found
- Causing damage to the residence or property of that person or a member of that person’s family
- Placing an object on that person’s property or that of a member of that person’s family
- Causing injury to a pet that belongs to that person or a member of that person’s family
- Any act of communication
Stalking is a class A misdemeanor for the first offense (a possible sentence of 12 months at the House of Corrections), and it is a class B felony (a possible sentence of 3½ to 7 years at the New Hampshire State Prison) for a second offense.
A person who feels they are the victim of stalking may seek a protective order preventing someone from having any contact whatsoever with them. This occurs through a civil petition most often brought in the district court. A person who has an order issued against them after a stalking petition is filed may face serious consequences. That person will be limited in where he can go and what he can do, and he will not be able to possess a firearm. Also, if a person violates such an order, that person will be in contempt of court.
If you are charged with stalking or are facing a stalking petition, you need an experienced and effective criminal defense attorney to represent you immediately. Because stalking can be a misdemeanor or felony-level charge, a person convicted of it may be sent to the House of Corrections or the New Hampshire State Prison. The criminal defense lawyers at Wilson, Bush & Keefe have the proven record of success to defend you when you need it the most.