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South Carolina Stalking Laws

A little extra attention can be flattering, but what if a little extra becomes more than you want, and the attention starts to feel threatening or dangerous? Fortunately, the Palmetto State has laws intended to protect people from stalkers. Here are the basics of stalking laws in South Carolina.

Stalking Statutes in South Carolina

While most have laws regarding stalking, they can differ on the specifics of what kind of behavior they prohibit and how they are enforced. The chart below highlights some of South Carolina’s anti-stalking statutes.

Code Section

South Carolina Code of Laws 16-3-1700. et. seq.: Harassment and Stalking

Stalking Defined as

Pattern of words or conduct that causes fear of death, assault, bodily injury, criminal sexual contact, kidnapping, or property damage to victim or victim's family member. Aggravated stalking is stalking accompanied by an act of violence

Punishment/Classification

Misdemeanor punishable by maximum fine of $1,000 and/or maximum prison term of 1 year. If injunction or order: misdemeanor punishable by maximum fine of $2,000 and/or maximum prison term of 2 years. Aggravated stalking is a felony punishable by maximum fine of $5,000 and/or maximum prison term of 5 years. Engaging in aggravated stalking when there is an injunction or order: felony with maximum fine of $7,000 and/or maximum prison term of 10 years. Note: Other criminal and civil remedies may be available.

Penalty for Repeat Offense

Stalking: If within 7 years, considered felony with maximum fine of $5,000 and/or maximum prison term of 5 years. Aggravated stalking: If within 7 years, considered felony with maximum fine of $10,000 and/or maximum prison term of 15 years

Arrest or Restraining Order Specifically Authorized by Statute?

Restraining order authorized, police may arrest someone for violating a restraining order without a warrant

Constitutionally Protected Activities Exempted?

Constitutionally protected activity is not included within the meaning of "course of conduct"

While statutory language can vary, stalking is generally defined as the unwanted pursuit of another person. This can include following a person to work, showing up at a person's home, making harassing phone calls, or vandalizing a person's property. Many stalking victims had previous romantic relationships with their stalkers and have been, or may be, victims of domestic violence as well. If you have been the victim of stalking of domestic abuse, South Carolina offers protective orders that can help protect you from harm.

Related Resources for Stalking Laws:

Stalking, and the legal process of trying to protect yourself from a stalker can be a frightening and confusing experience. For more articles and resources on this topic, you can visit FindLaw’s sections on Criminal Charges and Domestic Violence. If you would like legal assistance with a possible stalking case or filing a protective order, you can contact a South Carolina criminal law attorney.

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