Stalking an individual is nothing to joke about. In fact, it is a criminal act.
Millions of women and men across the U.S. and throughout the world have experienced this nightmare. A stalking victim may be afraid to leave home or even go to work, a favorite restaurant, etc.
“What if ___ is there?”
“Have I been followed this entire time?”
“Can you walk with me? I’m worried my stalker might be around.”
What is important is to find safety as soon as possible and file a protective order to keep you, your family, and your loved ones safe.
What Is Stalking?
Louisiana law defines stalking as “the intentional and repeated following or harassing of another person that would cause a reasonable person to feel alarmed or to suffer emotional distress.”
Any unwanted contact with an individual can be considered stalking. A stalker can physically follow someone around. Electronic communications (social media messages, text messages, phone calls, etc.) can be used to follow or harass, as well as unwanted gifts, or threats. This is especially true if it is a repeated behavior and/or puts a person, family member, or loved one in immediate danger or harm.
Louisiana prohibits the use of any electronic tracking devices to determine the location or movement of a person without consent. A person who tracks another individual can be legally charge as a stalker.
Who Are Considered Victims of Stalking?
Men and women alike can be victims of stalking. It does not matter the race, gender, sexuality, etc. Women, however, are statistically more likely to be stalking victims. According to SPARC (The Stalking Prevention, Awareness, and Resource Center ), 1 in 6 women and 1 in 17 men could be victims of stalking.
Most stalking victims know their offender. The perpetrator could be an ex-boyfriend, an ex-girlfriend, an ex-spouse, coworker, friend, or anyone they have encountered on a familiar level. Maybe it was a person they passed in the grocery store, or someone they saw on a run.
How Are Stalking Cases Handled?
Stalking is a criminal offense in Louisiana. This means you must have evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that stalking occurred. Stalking cases are unique, because the course of conduct stalking entails are not criminal acts in and of themselves. The intent behind the actions is what determines the validity of a stalking case, in addition to evidence to those actions.
If you have an intuitive feeling you are being stalked, we recommend filing a protective order as soon possible. Be sure to collect any evidence or communication receipts to best build your case.
If a judge signs off on your request, you will be granted a temporary restraining order from the offender until your trial. The temporary restraining order means the offender cannot by law contact you or approach you. They must remain 500 feet away from you and your loved ones.
As mentioned earlier, gathering as much evidence as possible of stalking is key for winning your case. Because it is a criminal case, you must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that actions by the alleged stalker are within the grounds of stalking behavior.
Remember–contacting, sending gifts, or hiring a private investigator is not a stalking offense. It is the intent behind the actions, along with their actions that constitutes stalking.
Talk with the Gouner Law Office About Your Stalker Case
Our goal is to help victims of stalking receive dedicated representation throughout the case. It may feel impossible to face your alleged stalker in court, but our team wants to help in any way possible, to make you feel safe once again.
For additional assistance, contact these hotlines to help you through this difficult time.
Victim Connect: 855-4-VICTIM (484-2846) National Sexual Assault Hotline: 800-656-HOPE (7233)
Written by Ashley Boudreaux