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California Stalking Laws

Stalking is a crime in all states, characterized as a pattern of malicious and willful behavior rather than a one-time event, which often is charged against estranged partners and spouses. California stalking law defines the crime as repeated harassment that creates a credible threat of harm. Victims of stalking typically seek restraining orders (also called "orders of protection") to keep offenders away.

Below are the basic elements of California's stalking law. See Details on State Stalking Laws to learn more.

Code Section Penal 646.9
Stalking Defined as Willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly follows or harasses another and makes credible threat with intent to place another in reasonable fear for own safety or safety of his/her immediate family 646.9(a)
Punishment/Classification 1 year in county jail and/or $1,000; if probation granted or sentenced suspended, counseling required. However, court, upon showing of good cause, may find that counseling shall not be imposed. 646.9(j); if convicted of spouse or child abuse felony (273.5) or violation of protection order (273.6) or making terroristic threats (422), subject to 1 yr. or $1000 or both or 2, 3, or 5 yrs. in state prison
Penalty for Repeat Offense If stalks when there is a temporary restraining order, injunction, court order against the same party, is punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for 2, 3, or 4 yrs. 646.9(b) Every person who, having been convicted of a felony under this section commits second/subsequent violation of section shall be punished by imprisonment in state prison for 2, 3 or 5 yrs. 646.9(c)(2)
Arrest or Restraining Order Specifically Authorized by Statute? Restraining order may be valid for up to 10 years. 646.9(k)
Constitutionally Protected Activities Exempted? Constitutionally protected activity is not included within the meaning of "course of conduct" 646.9 (f). Section does not apply to labor picketing. 646.9(i)

Note: State laws are constantly changing -- contact a California criminal attorney or Family Law Attorney, or conduct your own legal research, to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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