Note: If you or a family member are the victims of domestic violence, call National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or your local police department.
Every state, including Missouri, now has a law on the books addressing the crime of stalking; but it's a relatively new crime category. It is not a single act but rather a pattern of malicious behavior, such as repeatedly showing up at someone's house, or making frequent phone calls, for the purpose of intimidating them or causing actual fear for their safety.
While we often think of stalking in the context of celebrities who are harassed by photographers and fans. However, the vast majority of stalking cases are related to domestic conflicts or child custody situations. For example, a stalker might make threatening phone calls to an ex-spouse or repeatedly show up at a former partner's place of employment.
According to Missouri law, stalking is "when any person purposely and repeatedly engages in an unwanted course of conduct that causes alarm to another person when it is reasonable in that person's situation to have been alarmed by the conduct." For the purposes of Missouri's stalking law, "alarm" is the fear of physical harm and "repeated" is two or more related incidents.
Missouri law states that law enforcement will provide an immediate response to a call about stalking if:
If any of the above factors exist, the victim may be provided with transportation to a shelter or medical facility (depending on the circumstances and whether the perpetrator is arrested). If it is determined that stalking has indeed occurred, then the victim may petition for a temporary protective (or restraining) order against the perpetrator while the case proceeds. Temporary protective orders can last up to 15 days.
Learn more about Missouri stalking laws by reviewing the following table. See FindLaw's Domestic Violence section for related content.
|Code Section||455.01, et seq.|
|Stalking Defined as||Purposely and repeatedly harasses or follows with intent of harassing another adult|
|Punishment/Classification||Class A misdemeanor|
|Penalty for Repeat Offense||If within 5 years: Class D felony|
|Arrest or Restraining Order Specifically Authorized by Statute?||Restraining order issued upon filing petition|
|Constitutionally Protected Activities Exempted?||Yes|
Note: State laws are constantly changing -- contact a Missouri domestic violence attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
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Missouri Stalking Laws: Related Resources
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