Police Officer Charged With Stalking And Burglary
A recently issued arrest warrant for stalking and burglary charges was made against a Dallas law enforcement officer with cancer. Law enforcement eventually arrested the man at his estranged wife’s house, who has alleged that the man was stalking and harassing her for several months. The man also made comments on social media that made the woman fear for the safety of herself and her children. Additionally, the man broke into his wife’s house and took photographs of the woman. The officer is on administrative leave pending an administrative investigation by law enforcement. Stalking in the state of Texas is classified as a felony that can result in very severe penalties. A stalking conviction can damage an individual’s reputation as well as result in significant fines and even imprisonment.
What is Stalking?
Stalking charges can be made in a variety of situations. In many cases, when a person who engages in behavior that could frighten another individual, a charge of stalking could be made. Texas law defines stalking as behavior that:
- Occurs on more than one occasion.
- Is specifically directed at one person.
- Places a person in fear of death or bodily injury.
A stalking charge can also be made if a person fears for the bodily injury or death of a family member or romantic partner. In order to convict an individual of stalking, prosecution must also prove that a person was able to reasonably determine that the behavior in question would cause an average person to become intimidated or afraid.
In some cases, a person who is charged with stalking is at risk of being charged with related offenses including arson, assault, criminal mischief, harassment, terroristic threats, or theft. As a result, a person can be convicted of any of these charges in addition to stalking. Additionally, a person may also be issued a criminal trespassing or restraining order. In addition to these various penalties, a person might also face difficulty with possessing a firearm and become ineligible for certain types of professional licenses.
Potential Consequences of a Stalking Charge
A basic stalking charge in the state of Texas is classified as a felony of the third degree. These charges can result in individuals facing up to 10 years in prison as well as a fine of up to $10,000. The resulting penalties can be even more severe if an individual has already been charged with stalking. For repeat offenses, a stalking charge is elevated to a second-degree felony which is punishable by a maximum of 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
Defenses to Stalking Charges
There are some defenses that individuals are often able to raise in response to stalking charges. Some potential defenses include the following:
- Mistaken identity.
- The victim initiated contact.
Contact a Denton Criminal Defense Attorney
If you have been charged with stalking, a skilled criminal defense will fight for the best results possible. Contact Wheeler Law Office today.
(image courtesy of Ran Berkovich)