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What Constitutes Stalking in Tennessee?

 Posted on June 17,2022 in Domestic Violence

Knoxville criminal defense lawyerAllegations of stalking can lead to serious legal consequences. Since many stalking allegation cases involve two parties that are known to each other or have had a close past relationship, understanding the definition of stalking can feel challenging. Sometimes, stalking can occur with no malice, including checking up on someone you are worried about or was a past romantic partner. Other times, stalking and harassment can be made as a direct threat to another person's wellbeing. Understanding how the Tennessee government defines and charges stalking can provide insight into the type of behaviors that are unacceptable in a court of law.

How Tennessee Defines Stalking 

Each state's statutes differ and can define crimes differently. Tennessee has strict stalking and harassment laws. According to the Tennessee statute on stalking, there are three categories of stalking allegations — stalking, aggravated stalking, and especially aggravated stalking. 

Stalking is intentional continued contact or harassment toward an unwilling individual. Stalking can lead the victim to feel threatened, intimidated, and harassed. A person can be charged for willingly engaging in stalking, which is a Class A misdemeanor in Tennessee. However, if the alleged stalker i documented in court as a sexual offender, a stalking offense can be charged as a Class E felony. 

Aggravated stalking, like all other aggravated criminal charges, includes stalking with aggravated behavior. Aggravated behaviors include:

  • Displaying a weapon
  • Stalking a minor
  • Being a repeat offender
  • Making direct threats of bodily harm
  • Engaging in stalking while a protective order toward the victim was in place

Tennessee defines especially aggravated stalking as stalking with repeat offenses against the same individual or causing bodily harm to the victim. Aggravated stalking is a Class E felony. Especially aggravated stalking is a Class C felony. 

Real-World Examples of Stalking

The definitions of stalking are straightforward. However, when you are the individual involved in the act, it can be challenging to fully understand your behavior's consequences. Below are real-world examples of stalking to provide insight into common behaviors that can lead to criminal charges.

  • Repeatedly contacting an ex-spouse or partner, making the partner feel worried or afraid
  • Following a person who has asked you to leave them alone 
  • Leaving objects or personal property at a partner's home after they asked to be left alone 
  • Obsessional cyberstalking, including sending social media messages, texts, or hacking into the victim's social media accounts 

Speak to a Knox County Criminal Defense Attorney 

If you or someone you know has been accused of stalking, it is critical to seek legal representation as soon as possible. Stalking convictions can lead to misdemeanor or felony charges. At Jeffrey Coller, Knoxville Criminal Defense Attorney, our Knox County criminal defense attorney aggressively represents his clients against various criminal charges. We offer a free consultation to help review the unique elements of your case. To contact our office, please reach us at 865-281-1000



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