Your Complete Guide Missouri Stalking Charges
Stalking is a relatively new charge, and was introduced to stop the repeated harassment of victims with the intention to intimidate them or make them fear for their safety. While for many years stalking was something only the famous had to worry about, it’s now a charge that can be pressed by everyday people.
Of course, what constitutes stalking can be subjective, so how does the state of Missouri define it?
Read on to find out everything you need to know about stalking charges in Missouri.
What Constitutes Stalking in Missouri?
Stalking is defined in Missouri as when someone purposefully and repeatedly engages in an unwanted form of conduct that causes another person alarm. In Missouri, “alarm” is a fear of physical harm and at least two instances of this conduct.
What Happens When Someone Calls Law Enforcement for Stalking?
Missouri states that law enforcement must provide immediate aid to someone if they call about stalking and indicate that there is violence in progress or imminent, if there is a protection order already in place, or if there is a history of past violence between the two parties.
If the above is true, the victim may be provided with transportation to a shelter or medical facility. If stalking has occurred, then they will be able to apply for a restraining order as the case proceeds.
Is Stalking a Felony in Missouri?
Not for a first offense, no. For a first offense, stalking is a class A misdemeanor, which carries a maximum penalty of a year in jail and a fine of up to $2,000.
However, if it is a subsequent charge (repeat offense) within 5 years of the first, it becomes a class D felony, which has a maximum penalty of 7 years in prison.
Why Aren’t There Different Degrees of Stalking Charge?
Stalking is a very specific crime, and so this law was introduced to help victims who felt at risk of physical harm but had no way of pressing charges, often until it was too late. There aren’t different degrees of stalking because there are other charges that can be used instead of, or in addition to, a stalking charge to better cover the crimes committed against someone.
What Should I Do If I Believe I’ll Be Charged for Stalking?
Stalking is a serious charge that will show on your criminal record, and even a first offense may make it difficult or impossible to find employment, even if you avoid any significant jail time. That’s why it’s so important to find a criminal defense lawyer who will fight your case.
That’s exactly what we do, Combs Law Group fights aggressively to ensure your charges are minimized or even dismissed. That’s why we are considered one of the best criminal defense lawyers in St. Louis. Contact us today for a free case evaluation so we can start working on your case as soon as possible.