South Dakota 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 South Dakota's Laws Against Stalking?

In South Dakota, 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 law specifically prohibits the following behavior:

  • Willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly follow or harass another person;
  • Making a credible threat to another person with the intent to place that person in reasonable fear of death or great bodily injury; or
  • Willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly harass another person by means of any verbal, electronic, digital media, mechanical, telegraphic, or written communication.

The stalkers' 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.

Stalking Protective Orders

You may be able to file for a protection order against stalking, physical injury or a crime of violence. A stalking protective order can last for up to five (5) years, and can:

  • Order that the abuser avoid all personal contact with you;
  • Order that the abuser move out of and/or stay away from your home, business, school or other locations;
  • Order that the abuser stop all harassing, threatening and violent behavior;
  • Forbid the abuser from owning, possessing or buying firearms;
  • Grant any other measures that the court sees as reasonable and necessary to protect you.

To file for a stalking protection order, you must go to a South Dakota court in your area and file an application.

Penalties For Stalking

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

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

Code Section 22-19A-1, et seq.
Stalking Definition Willful, malicious and repeated following or harassing or making credible threats with intent of placing in reasonable fear
Punishment Class 1 misdemeanor. If violates protective order or injunction, Class 6 felony. If victim is 12 years or younger, Class 6 felony
Penalty for Repeat Offense Any second or subsequent conviction occurring within 10 years of a prior conviction under this section is a Class 6 felony.
Arrest or Restraining Order Specifically Authorized by Statute? Restraining order issued upon filing petition
Constitutionally Protected Activities Exempted? Yes
Definition of "Harass" "Harasses" means a knowing and willful course of conduct directed at a specific person which seriously alarms, annoys, or harasses the person, and which serves no legitimate purpose.

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

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