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Wisconsin Stalking Laws

There can be a fine line between a boyfriend or girlfriend’s extra attention and an invasion of privacy from a soon-to-be ex. Or even worse: unwanted contact from a stranger that starts to feel threatening or dangerous. Fortunately, the Badger State has specific laws in place intended to protect us from stalkers. Here is a brief summary of stalking laws in Wisconsin.

Stalking Statutes in Wisconsin

Most states have enacted laws regarding stalking, and they could differ depending on where you live. Some of Wisconsin’s anti-stalking statutes are highlighted in the chart below.

Code Section

940.32

Stalking Defined as

Actor knows or should know that his intentional conduct causes reasonable person to fear bodily injury to or death of himself or of his immediate family. Acts actually induce such fear

Punishment/Classification

Class I felony: Class H felony: if victim is under 18 or stalker gathered information electronically about victim. Class F felony if stalker used a weapon.

Penalty for Repeat Offense

If within 7 years and against same victim: Class H felony.

Arrest or Restraining Order Specifically Authorized by Statute?

-

Constitutionally Protected Activities Exempted?

Yes, freedom of speech and peaceable assembly

Stalking, generally speaking, is understood as the unwanted pursuit of another person. This can include anything from following a person or showing up at a person's home or workplace to making harassing phone calls, leaving written messages or other objects. Even vandalizing a person's property could fall under Wisconsin’s stalking statute, which defines the crime specifically as intentional conduct a person knows will cause a reasonable person to fear for herself or her family, and creates this fear in the person’s target. Wisconsin also allows for increased punishment if the stalker targets a minor, gathers information about his or her victim online, or uses a weapon.

A large number of stalking victims were once in romantic relationships with the people who are stalking them and many stalking victims are, or may be, victims of domestic violence as well. Therefore, Wisconsin offers multiple kinds of protective orders to protect victims from both stalkers and domestic abusers.

Wisconsin Stalking Laws: Related Resources

Being stalked, by definition, can be a frightening experience, especially when coupled with a threat of violence. If you would like legal assistance with a possible stalking case or filing a protective order, you can contact an experienced Wisconsin criminal law attorney in your area. For more introductory information and resources, you can visit FindLaw’s sections on Criminal Charges and Domestic Violence.

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