Becoming enamored with another person happens, especially for college students coming of age.
If that affection evolves to following the person or harassment, the situation becomes very serious. If faced with stalking charges, you have a tough case ahead that comes with complexity.
1. How does Minnesota law define stalking?
Minnesota has statutes in place that prohibit you from harassing another person or behaving in a way that causes the person to feel scared, intimidated or threatened. The unwanted attention must include a pattern of harassing behavior for a period of time. Depending on the situation, the state may consider it domestic violence as well.
2. Will I face misdemeanor or felony charges?
You may get charged with a gross demeanor or a felony. Actions that result in a misdemeanor include an unauthorized entry on a property, sending communications or items both electronically and through the mail, constantly calling or texting the person, and injuring the person whether intentional or not. Felon stalking includes possessing a weapon, harassing someone under 18 years if three or more years older than the victim, impersonating someone else, and targeting victims due to their sexual orientation, age, race, color, religion, or disability.
3. What consequences might I face?
If you get convicted of a gross misdemeanor, it comes with a $3,000 fine and a possible one-year jail term. For a much more serious felony conviction, you may face a $10,000 fine and have to serve a five-year sentence. The law also has steep penalties for people with a proven pattern of stalking, which includes potentially 10 years in jail and paying $20,000 in fines.
Other ramifications of stalking charges include a required mental assessment and having a restraining order filed against you.