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Texas Stalking Laws

The crime of stalking is defined as a pattern of malicious behavior -- such as repeatedly showing up at an estranged partner's house after being told to stay away -- as opposed to a one-time event. While stalking is often associated with repeatedly following or pursuing someone, stalking can also be characterized by less direct actions, such as repeatedly contacting someone through the mail, phone, or internet. In addition, stalking can take the form of unwanted gifts or messages. The pattern of behavior must cause the victim to fear for his or her safety or well-being in order to be considered stalking.

Stalking has been codified as a crime in all fifty states. In Texas, specifically, the law defines stalking as when someone knowingly engages in behavior that someone else would find threatening, and that would cause a reasonable person to be afraid. Stalking is treated as a 3rd degree felony, which means that it is often punishable with a prison sentence. If convicted of another charge of stalking, it is considered to be a 2nd degree felony.

Find out more about Texas stalking laws in the table below, and see Details on State Stalking Laws for a general overview.

Code Section

Texas Penal 42.072

Stalking Defined as

A person commits an offense if on more than one occasion and pursuant to scheme or course of conduct directed at specific person, knowingly engages in conduct that:

  1. Stalker knows/reasonably believes victim will view as threatening;
  2. Causes fear; and
  3. Would cause a reasonable person to fear.

Punishment/Classification

3rd degree felony

Penalty for Repeat Offense

2nd degree felony

Arrest or Restraining Order Specifically Authorized by Statute?

-

Note About Threat

  • Threats can be explicit (saying you are going to kill the victim) or implied (veiled threats, hurting the family pet).
  • Threats have to be aimed at a specific person; they cannot be general threats.
  • Threats may be conveyed by the stalker or by someone acting on behalf of the stalker.

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Note to Victims: If you are being stalked by another person, your first course of action should be to notify law enforcement or your local prosecutor's office. You can request:

  • Each incident be documented
  • A copy of the report from your local law enforcement agency

Keep in mind, stalking is a serious crime and can be accompanied by escalating criminal behavior and even violence. Speak to a Texas law enforcement officer right away if you have questions.

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Texas Stalking Laws: Related Resources

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As you can see, stalking doesn't always happen like it does in the movies. You don't need to be monitoring another person around the clock to be in violation of this law. If you or someone you love has been accused of a stalking crime in Texas, now is the time to seek legal representation. A great first step in that process is to meet with a Texas criminal defense attorney and get a free case review at no obligation.

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