In Delaware, "stalking " is a specific criminal offense found in the penal code. Stalking refers to a clear, repetitive pattern of intentional unwanted, harassing, or threatening behavior directed toward another person that causes fear of personal safety or that of immediate family members. Delaware defines stalking as:
"Any person who intentionally engages in a course of conduct directed at specific person which would cause a reasonable person to fear physical injury to himself, to a friend/associate, to family member, to a member of his/her household, or to third person and whose conduct induces such fear."
Highlights of Delaware’s stalking laws are summarized in the chart below. For additional information and resources, see the links at the end of this article.
|Code Section||Tit. 11 §1312A|
|Stalking Defined as||Any person who intentionally engages in a course of conduct directed at specific person which would cause a reasonable person to fear physical injury to himself, to a friend/associate, to family member, to a member of his/her household, or to third person and whose conduct induces such fear. (1312A(a))|
|Punishment/Classification||If commit the crime of stalking by engaging in a course of conduct which includes any act(s) prohibited by a then-existing court order or sentence, shall be sentenced minimum of 6 months. (1312A(f)); Stalking is a Class A misdemeanor, unless conduct induces fear in victim, then Class F felony; or unless perpetrator is 21 or older and victim is under 14, then Class F felony; or unless conduct induces threat of death or serious physical injury, then Class D felony; or perpetrator possesses deadly weapon during act and induces fear in victim, then Class C felony|
|Penalty for Repeat Offense||If convicted of stalking within 5 years of prior conviction, shall receive minimum 1 year sentence (1312A(g))|
|Arrest or Restraining Order Specifically Authorized by Statute?||No|
|Constitutionally Protected Activities Exempted?||No. Lawful picketing is an affirmative defense; also conduct that occurs in furtherance of law enforcement activities or to private investigators, security officers or private detectives. (1312A(c) and (d))|
Any person in a dangerous emergency situation that requires immediate intervention should call 911 for assistance.
If you believe you are the victim of stalking or domestic violence, you may consider contacting local law enforcement about how to open a criminal case and pursue a protective order. Defendants charged with stalking or related crimes may want the assistance of an experienced Delaware criminal defense attorney.
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