Texas Attorney Defends Clients Accused of Stalking
Lawyer helps defendants fight allegations of harassment in San Antonio, TX and vicinity
Stalking is a legitimate concern for many people who fear that they are being targeted. Much attention has been given to in-person and online stalking. Without warning, you might find yourself facing this type of charge. If you’ve been accused of violating a Texas stalking law, Kevin L. Collins, P.C. in downtown San Antonio is prepared to help. Mr. Collins is a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney who can protect your rights as he fights to protect your reputation and your liberty.
What is stalking under Texas law?
Under Texas law, stalking consists of a ”course of conduct” by one individual toward another that constitutes harassment or behavior that the alleged stalker knows would place a reasonable person in fear. Harassment is defined in the relevant statute as intentional communication meant to “harass, annoy, alarm, abuse, torment, or embarrass another.” To obtain a conviction for stalking, the prosecutor must prove the following elements exist:
- A “course of conduct” — This means there must be a pattern of actions, not an isolated event. The law also mentions a “scheme,” implying there is planning involved.
- “Directed specifically at another person” — A victim must be a specific target, not one of many offended people.
- Intent — The law says the accused actor “knows or reasonably should know” that the conduct would put a person in reasonable fear.
- Reasonable victim — The law does not protect hypersensitive or paranoid individuals who see themselves as victims of attention that healthy individuals would regard as benign, inoffensive or flattering.
Texas law does not differentiate between stalking and aggravated stalking as other some states do. Here, stalking is a third-degree felony, punishable by imprisonment for two to 10 years, along with a fine of up to $10,000. The charge is a second-degree felony if the accused has already been convicted of a similar offense under state or federal law. As a second-degree felony, it would carry a minimum of two years in prison, with a maximum 20-year sentence and a fine as high as $10,000.
These are strict penalties. Fortunately, the burden is on the prosecution to prove all of the statutory elements beyond a reasonable doubt. Various possible defenses exist to a stalking charge, including:
- The actions complained of do not form a pattern, course of conduct or scheme.
- The actions were not directed specifically at the complaining witness.
- The accused did not know, or could not have known, their actions would place a reasonable person in fear.
- The alleged victim’s fear is not reasonable. As your criminal defense attorney, Kevin L. Collins can challenge the prosecution on each element of the case to raise doubt in the minds of the jury members.
Allegations of cyber stalking and stalking minors
With the power of today’s technology, cyber stalking and social media stalking have become more prevalent. Adults can stalk children. Even young minors have the technological ability to bully their peers online. The evidence in these cases can be voluminous and difficult to analyze, so it is important to have a seasoned attorney by your side. Attorney Kevin L. Collins has experience in a wide range of cases, and is ready to provide the best defense for your situation.
Contact a certified criminal defense lawyer for stalking charges in San Antonio
Kevin L. Collins, P.C. defends clients accused of harassment, stalking and cyber stalking throughout the San Antonio area. Please call 210-598-8629 or contact the office online to schedule a consultation.