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What Is Considered “Stalking” in Tennessee?

Posted on in Criminal Defense

Knoxville stalking charges defense lawyer

Stalking has taken on a variety of forms, especially with the emergence of social media. Stalking used to be just physical, but now it can take on digital forms as well. While you may have seen versions of stalking on television and in the movies, these are usually not an accurate depiction of the reality of stalking. The act of stalking can be as dramatic as the TV shows, but it is typically more reserved and secretive. The state of Tennessee describes three levels of stalking to omit any discrepancies that may exist.

Definition of Stalking

According to Tennessee law, stalking is defined as “a willful course of conduct involving repeated or continued harassment of another individual that would cause and actually did cause a reasonable person to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed, or molested.” This definition is long and detailed to recognize all possible offenses. The act is a Class A misdemeanor for first-time offenders but becomes a Class E felony if the stalker is registered as a sexual offender at the time of the incident. Class A misdemeanors may require less than a year in jail or a fine of up to $2,500. Class E felonies can result in one to six years in prison in addition to a fine of up to $3,000.

Aggravated Stalking

Aggravated stalking can occur in a variety of situations, and a person can be charged with this offense if one of the following factors is involved in the alleged offense:

  • The alleged stalker displayed a deadly weapon at the time of the incident(s).
  • The alleged victim was a minor and at least five years younger than the alleged offender at the time of the incident.
  • The alleged perpetrator had a history of stalking within the last seven years of the current offense.
  • A credible threat was allegedly made to the victim or family members of the victim which created a fear of death or bodily injury.
  • The alleged offender was prohibited from contacting the victim under an order of protection at the time of the incident.

Aggravated stalking is considered a Class E felony.

Especially Aggravated Stalking

Especially aggravated stalking has the same requirements as stalking and aggravated stalking with a few additional stipulations. A person committing especially aggravated stalking must have done one of the following:

  • Committed stalking or aggravated stalking after being previously convicted of the offense involving the same victim.
  • Committed stalking or aggravated stalking and caused serious bodily harm, either intentionally or recklessly, to the victim or to family members of the victim.

This is considered a Class C felony, punishable by 3-15 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.

Contact a Knoxville Criminal Defense Attorney

Stalking is taken very seriously by the state of Tennessee and will result in harsh consequences for convicted offenders. If you have been accused of any form of stalking, a skilled legal defense is crucial. At the law firm of Jeffrey Coller, Knoxville Criminal Defense Attorney, we work hard to ensure that those falsely accused do not suffer for a crime they did not commit. If you have been accused of stalking, contact a Campbell County stalking defense attorney at 865-281-1000 for a free consultation.  

Sources:

https://advance.lexis.com/api/document/collection/statutes-legislation/id/50J2-V4R0-R03M-S49R-00008-00?cite=Tenn.%20Code%20Ann.%20%C2%A7%2039-17-315&context=1000516

https://web.utk.edu/~scheb/overview.html 

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