What Is Considered Stalking ?
Stalking is a criminal offense and person charged with stalking can be jailed for a number of years. However, what is considered as stalking?
The definition of stalking varies from one state to another but it can be defined as an act wherein the perpetrator repeatedly tries to contact or makes contact with the victim or the victim's family even when the victim does not want it.
The contact can be in any form -- letters, emails, sending gifts, lying in wait for the person near his or her home or workplace and/or through the telephone. Remember, stalking is not same as unwanted attention. Rather it is more than that. When a person is being stalked, he or she should feel a presence of credible threat and this threat should be present repeatedly each time the perpetrator tries to forge a line of communication.
Even when a person makes repeated obscene comments or gestures with the intent of harassing someone, it is considered as stalking. These comments can be made in public, personally, over the telephone or directed at someone.
Although free speech is an argument most stalkers put forth, nearly 48 states in the United States have changed stalking laws to overcome this particular hurdle. Although the legal nuances in each of the 48 states is different when it comes to stalking, most courts convict the perpetrator when stalking is proven based on the stalking statute.
Just like the definition of stalking varies from state to state, so does the punishment. However, it is viewed in all states as a criminal offense and the person is punished for this crime when proven guilty.
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