You have an admirer. It could be some text messages, flowers, or a message on a dating site. And all three of those instances are legal, generally speaking. But what if it rises above that to become potentially dangerous? What about unwanted contact that starts to feel threatening or dangerous? Fortunately, Louisiana has laws designed to protect citizens from stalkers. This is a brief introduction to stalking laws in Louisiana.
Stalking Statutes in Louisiana
State laws regarding stalking will differ depending on where you live. The chart below highlights some of Louisiana’s anti-stalking statutes.
|Stalking Defined as||Willful, malicious, and repeated following or harassing with intent to place in fear of death or bodily injury.|
|Punishment/Classification||Maximum 1 year jail and $1000 fine. If had dangerous weapon: fine $1,000 and/or jail 1 year. If stalking and protective order for same victim, or criminal proceeding for stalking victim or injunction: jail 90 days minimum and 2 years maximum and/or fined maximum $5,000. If victim under 18, maximum 1 year and/or $2000 fine. Note: anyone over 13 who stalks a child 12 and under and is found to have placed child in reasonable fear of death or bodily injury of family member shall be punished by 1 year minimum, 3 years maximum in jail and/or $1,500 minimum, $5,000 maximum fine|
|Penalty for Repeat Offense||If 2nd within 7 years: jail minimum 180 days and maximum 3 years and/or fined maximum $5,000. If 3rd or subsequent within 7 years: jail minimum 2 years and maximum 5 years and/or fined maximum $5,000|
|Arrest or Restraining Order Specifically Authorized by Statute?||-|
|Constitutionally Protected Activities Exempted?||Yes.|
Let's pause here to define just what constitutes stalking. In general, stalking is defined as the unwanted pursuit of another person. This can include following a person, showing up at a person's home or workplace, making harassing phone calls, leaving written messages or other objects, or even vandalizing a person's property. By definition, these actions must continue over time to constitute stalking.
In most cases, the alleged stalking will be considered in connection with other actions to get the full picture. Repeated harassing or threatening behavior toward another person often needs to be viewed in context. Is the aggressor a stranger, slight acquaintance, current or former intimate partner, or anyone else? All these factors will come into play.
Sadly, many stalking cases coincide with incidents of domestic violence, as a considerable number of stalkers were once in romantic relationships with the people they are stalking. Whether or not you are familiar with someone who may be stalking you, Louisiana offers multiple kinds of protective orders for victims to keep their stalkers away.
Related Resources for Stalking Laws:
Being stalked can be a frightening experience. If you would like legal assistance with a possible stalking case, you can contact an experienced Louisiana criminal law attorney to schedule a consultation. For more introductory information, you can visit FindLaw’s sections on Domestic Violence and Criminal Charges.
Contact a qualified attorney.