It’s not unusual for stalking charges to accompany charges of domestic assault. It’s also not uncommon for someone to be charged with stalking if they violate a restraining order that accompanied domestic violence allegations or conviction.
Stalking isn’t itself a violent offense. However, an allegation can result in serious charges.
Michigan law defines stalking as two or more actions at different times that “would cause a reasonable person to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed, or molested” and that causes the alleged victim to feel that way.
Examples of stalking
Stalking involves “unconsented contact.” This can include things like:
- Following someone or appearing where they can see you
- Unwanted telephone calls, texts, emails or other communications
- Approaching or confronting someone in either a public or private space, including their home or workplace
- Delivering things to someone
Stalking is a misdemeanor under Michigan law, but it can land a person behind bars for as long as a year and result in a $1,000 fine.
Examples of aggravated stalking
Aggravated stalking is a more serious crime. It’s a felony that could result in five years in prison and a fine of as much as $10,000.
Allegations of any of the following actions can lead to aggravated stalking charges:
- Violation of an injunction or restraining order
- Violation of parole, probation or other release conditions
- Credible threats either to the alleged victim or family or household member
A person may also be charged with aggravated stalking even if their alleged actions didn’t meet the aggravated stalking requirements but they have a previous conviction for stalking.
Stalking charges don’t have to involve an intention to frighten or harm someone
Too often, people find themselves charged with stalking because they were just trying to patch things up with a former spouse or romantic partner, apologize, explain themselves and “make things right.” Unfortunately, they often end up making the situation worse.
If you’ve been charged with stalking or aggravated stalking, it’s crucial that you take the matter seriously. If you’re facing these charges, or even if someone has threatened to go to law enforcement to report your actions as stalking, it’s important to stop your actions immediately and to seek legal guidance as soon as possible.