Note: If you or a loved one is the victim of stalking, domestic violence, or otherwise feels threatened, call 911 or your local police department right away.
Overview of Tennessee Stalking Laws
Stalking is not a one-time offense, but rather a pattern of malicious behavior that causes fear or apprehension in another individual. To "stalk" someone is to repeatedly show up at someone's house uninvited, for example, with the intention of antagonizing or causing fear in another person. It may also include following someone in your car, making phone calls, sending emails, or any other kind of contact done repeatedly and with malicious intent.
Therefore, the court must see a pattern of behavior beyond just a single event in order convict someone of stalking. Tennessee statute defines stalking as:
...a willful course of conduct involving repeated or continuing harassment of another individual that would cause a reasonable person to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed, or molested, and that actually causes the victim to feel [terrorized, frightened, etc.].
Stalking often has to do with domestic violence cases or other instances of domestic discord. For instance, a woman who gets remarried after a bitter divorce but is repeatedly and maliciously contacted by her jealous ex-husband may contact the authorities to report stalking.
The details of Tennessee stalking laws are listed in the following table. See FindLaw's Domestic Violence section for related articles and resources.
|Stalking Defined as||Intentionally and repeatedly follows or harasses in a manner that causes fear|
|Punishment/Classification||Class A misdemeanor|
|Penalty for Repeat Offense||If within 7 years: Class E felony. If within 7 years and the same victim: Class C felony|
|Arrest or Restraining Order Specifically Authorized by Statute?||-|
|Constitutionally Protected Activities Exempted?||Yes, following another during course of a lawful business activity|
Note: State laws are constantly changing. We make every effort to ensure that laws are current, but you also may consider contacting an attorney or conducting your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
Types of Harassment Under Tennessee Statute
For a first offense, a stalker will be charged with a Class A misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to 11 months and 29 days in jail (one year or more is considered a felony) and a fine of up to $2,500. Under Tennessee law, "aggravated stalking" may be charged if the stalker displays a deadly weapon; the victim is a minor; the stalker has previously been convicted of stalking; makes a credible threat to the victim; or was under a restraining order at the time.
Research the Law
Tennessee Stalking Laws: Related Resources
Contact a qualified attorney.