Note: If you or someone you know is the victim of domestic violence, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233), the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence 24 Hour Helpline at 1-800-494-8100, or your local police department.
Stalking isn't a single occurrence, but is defined as a pattern of malicious behavior that causes another person to fear for their safety or experience extreme apprehension. State stalking laws all have their own definitions of what exactly constitutes stalking, but they tend to be fairly similar to one another.
The majority of stalking cases involve domestic violence or disputes between romantic or domestic partners (often after a divorce or break-up). The specific acts that are considered stalking depend on the context and whether it is a recurring pattern. For instance, repeatedly showing up at your ex-girlfriend's workplace to intimidate her -- even if it just involves driving by her office window slowly and then leaving -- may be considered stalking.
Penalties range from fines to prison sentences for particularly serious violations or repeat offenses. When someone makes a valid stalking (or domestic violence) complaint, the court may order protective order requiring the alleged stalker to avoid all contact for a specified period of time. See Stalking and Domestic Violence and Domestic Violence Restraining Order FAQs to learn more.
Rhode Island Stalking Law at a Glance
Rhode Island's stalking statute is fairly straightforward and relatively severe. Even first offenses may be charged as felonies, with a maximum five-year prison sentence and/or a fine of up to $10,000 per offense.
See the following chart for additional details about Rhode Island's stalking laws. See FindLaw's Domestic Violence section for related articles and resources.
|Code Section||11-59-1 & 2|
|Stalking Defined as||Any person who: (1) harasses another person; or (2) willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly follows another person with the intent to place that person in reasonable fear of bodily injury, is guilty of the crime of stalking|
|Punishment/Classification||Felony: maximum 5 yrs. in prison and/or maximum $10,000 fine|
|Penalty for Repeat Offense||-|
|Arrest or Restraining Order Specifically Authorized by Statute?||-|
|Constitutionally Protected Activities Exempted?||Yes|
Note: State laws may change at any time through the decisions of higher courts, the enactment of new legislation, or through other means. You may want to contact a Rhode Island domestic violence attorney or criminal defense attorney, or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
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Rhode Island Stalking Law: Related Resources
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