How to Deal With Stalking—Texas Penal Code
If you’re a female person, the odds are that you’ve experienced what it means to be harassed at least once in your lifetime. Whether you’re at work, in your home, at the gym, on the street, or are simply trying to surf the Internet in peace, a small part of you is probably on alert for harassment.
Much like sexual harassment, stalking seems to happen to women more often than men. According to the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS), 16% of women and 5% of men have experienced stalking in their lifetime.
Stalking Laws in Texas
In Texas, stalking is covered by the Texas Penal Code, which is the principal criminal code of that state. The Code was originally enacted in 1856 and went through revisions in 1973, which were primarily based on the American Law Institute’s Model Penal Code.
The Texas Penal Code defines stalking in the following words:
“Someone commits the offense of stalking if on more than one occasion the individual knowingly engages in conduct (including following another person), that the offender knows, or a reasonable person would believe, the other person will regard as threatening. This may include bodily injury or death for the person, their family or home members, or their property.”
What to Do if You Are Being Stalked in Texas?
- Notify law enforcement
- Keep a log
- Get a protective order
- Record phone conversations
- Take photos of the stalker
- Save all correspondence
- Tell everyone
Notify Law Enforcement
You should take the issue seriously and report all stalking incidents to the police. Provide the police with the evidence of the stalking that occurred, including recorded phone calls, written correspondence, and screenshots of social media messages. Don’t forget to request a copy of the report from your local police station.
Keep a Log
List the names and addresses of the individuals that have witnessed the stalking incidents. Write a detailed description of each incident, including the time and location where it took place.
Get a Restraining Order
By getting a restraining order against the stalker, you can be sure that he or she will be banned from harassing you or causing you harm in any other way, including stalking.
If you’re the victim of domestic violence and require formal protection from your current or ex-spouse, the court can issue a protective order, which differs from a restraining order. When an abuser violates a protective order, they can face serious criminal charges.
Record Phone Conversations
Tell the stalker to stop calling and hang up on them. Write down the time and date you’ve received those harassing phone calls, record them if you can, and enclose them as evidence to the police.
Take Photos of the Stalker
Take pictures of the stalker if you can do so in a safe manner. Write down the time, date, and place of each photograph.
Save All Correspondence
If you save or make a copy of everything that you receive from the stalker, including letters, cards, and gifts, this will be beneficial proof for the police. Try to touch the evidence as little as possible to preserve the stalker’s fingerprints.
Let your family, friends, colleagues, neighbors, or fellow students know about the stalker in your life. They can help to keep you safe and make you feel that you’re not alone. What’s more, they can testify to the police if they witnessed the stalking.
Legal Penalties for Stalking in Texas
If the offender gets convicted of stalking, they are looking at a third-degree felony offense. If the defendant was previously convicted of stalking in Texas or another state, penalties would be lifted to a second-degree felony.
A first offense can result in a prison sentence of two to ten years and a maximum fine of $10,000. A second offense comes with a prison sentence between two and twenty years and a maximum fine of $10,000.
Types of Stalkers
Based on the stalker’s level of familiarity with the victim, we recognize four main types of stalkers:
Type of Stalker
Tell Your Stalker to Stop With the Help of DoNotPay
If you’re being stalked, it can feel like a dark cloud is looming over you. Don’t keep it a secret. Remember that it’s not your fault. Most importantly, don’t ignore the issue and think the stalking may get resolved by itself—it probably won’t. Our app can help you take some formal steps against your stalker.
Follow these simple instructions:
- Open the DoNotPay app in your web browser or on your iOS device
- Go to Relationship Protection to start the conversation with our chatbot
- Click on Explore Relationship Services
- Choose Safety and Stalking, then select Let’s Do It
- Confirm that you need help with Stalking
- Give answers to the chatbot’s questions
DoNotPay’s next step will depend on whether you’re dealing with online or in-person stalking.
For in-person stalking, our app will create a cease and desist letter on your behalf. This letter serves a few crucial purposes as it:
- Asks the stalker to stop their behavior immediately
- Acts as evidence that you’ve tried to resolve the problem yourself
- Warns the stalker of the legal action you will take against him or her if the stalking doesn’t end
Online stalking or cyberstalking can be just as frightening and distressing as in-person stalking. To safeguard you from the online stalker, DoNotPay will:
- Contact the social or digital media platform that the stalker used for stalking purposes
- Report the stalker for online stalking to the website’s owners, which will put the harasser’s account under investigation
- Request the stalker to be blocked, so that they’re prevented from reaching out to you again
The World’s First Robot Lawyer That Ticks Things Off Your To-Do List
Our lives have gotten much busier than we, mortal humans, have the capacity to deal with. Thankfully, this is where technology comes to our aid.
The DoNotPay app has been designed with one credo in mind, and that is to automate a whole bunch of manual, time-consuming chores and processes while saving you a great deal of money, time, and effort.
DoNotPay is a great resource if you need help with:
- Dealing with credit card issues
- Challenging traffic tickets
- Tracing scammers behind robocalls
- Contesting parking tickets
- Getting protection from stalking and harassment
- Disputing speeding tickets
- Managing bills you can’t pay
- Setting up a DMV appointment fast
- Obtaining refunds for delayed or canceled flights
- Canceling subscriptions or memberships
- Skipping the queue when calling with customer service
- Suing individuals and companies in small claims court