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Montana Stalking Laws

Stalking refers to a pattern of malicious behavior that may include repeatedly showing up at an estranged partner's house or otherwise causing fear or apprehension in the other person. It is not a one-time event. Stalking charges typically involve divorced or estranged couples, in addition to celebrity stalkers, and often result in restraining orders against offenders.

What Are Montana's Laws Against Stalking?

In Montana, the essence of stalking is that one person repeatedly acts towards another person in a way that would cause a reasonable person to experience substantial emotional distress or fear of being injured or killed.

The stalker's actions can be as overt as making repeated threats to harm you or your family or as innocuous as simply showing up in the parking lot of your workplace every day and waiting for you.

Examples of Stalking in Montana

This list is just a sample of possible types of stalking or harassment.

  • Watching or following;
  • Approaching a victim;
  • Drive-bys;
  • Threatening phone calls or hang ups;
  • Sending or delivering hate mail;
  • Sending or delivering love notes;
  • Electronic stalking using a modem, fax, etc. to deliver a message;
  • Vandalizing a vehicle or home;
  • Placing or delivering an unwanted object(s) (ex: red bows, stuffed animals, or strange or unusual items such as coyote head, false teeth, tarot cards, etc.);
  • Placing or delivering unwanted objects(s) that have symbolic message (ex: black roses, dead animals, feces, etc.);
  • Assaulting the victim;
  • Showing up at the victim's work place;
  • Making false accusations.

Penalties For Stalking

Montana stalking laws charge first offenses as misdemeanors, and the state automatically issues a restraining order upon conviction.

Learn more about Montana's stalking laws in the following table. See Stalking in FindLaw's criminal charges section for additional details.

Code Section 45-5-220 ; 45-1-206
Stalking Definition Purposely and knowingly causes another distress or apprehension by repeatedly following or harassing, threatening, or intimidating
Punishment Jail maximum 1 year and/or fine maximum $1,000. If victim under protection of a restraining order: jail maximum five (5) years and/or fine maximum $10,000 and medical costs, counseling, and other costs incurred by the victim. Note: perpetrator may have to pay medical, counseling and other costs.
Penalty for Repeat Offense Jail maximum five (5) years and/or fine maximum $10,000
Arrest or Restraining Order Specifically Authorized by Statute? Restraining order issued upon presentation of credible evidence.
Constitutionally Protected Activities Exempted? Yes

Note: State laws are constantly changing -- contact a Montana domestic violence attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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