Understanding Illinois Stalking Crimes
Stalking is considered a domestic violence crime in Illinois. There are several different offenses that are considered stalking crimes. Sometimes the line between legal, yet annoying and offensive behavior, and behavior that is illegal and considered stalking can be hard to determine.
What is Stalking?
Stalking is when you follow someone or put him or her under surveillance more than once and you threaten, or cause, him or her to fear being physically harmed, sexually assaulted or confined. Stalking does not have to be done in person.
Illinois has a cyberstalking crime that covers behavior online and over cell phones. You can be charged with cyberstalking even if you have never spoken to the victim.
Difference Between Stalking Order and Stalking Crime
Illinois allows victims of stalking to seek a protective order, sometimes called a stalking order. The order is served on the alleged stalker by law enforcement. The order requires the person to not follow or place the victim under surveillance and requires that the stalker not make any contact or come near the victim.
A stalking order is a civil case, not a criminal case. However, having a stalking order against you can trigger a criminal investigation. If you break a stalking order you are also committing a separate crime—even if your actions would not otherwise be criminal.
Consequences for Stalking
A first offense of stalking or cyberstalking is a Class 4 felony. You face a maximum of three years in prison and a $25,000 fine. For a second stalking offense you are guilty of a Class 3 felony. The maximum penalty is five years in prison and a $25,000 fine.
You can be charged with aggravated stalking if you physically try and harm or restrain the victim or if you act in violation of an order of protection or stalking order. Aggravated stalking is also a Class 3 felony.
If you are convicted of a stalking crime you will not be able to own or even possess a gun. Stalking is considered a violent crime. If you have a conviction you may have difficulty in getting a job, finding housing, or doing anything that requires a background check.
If you have been accused or charged with a stalking crime, you need to speak with a Wheaton criminal defense attorney right away. Do not talk to anyone about your case until you speak to an attorney. You need to understand all of your options. Call Davi Law Group, LLC today to schedule a consultation at 630-580-6373.