Harassment / Stalking
Harassment or stalking allegations can have harsh effects on a person’s life. Accusations can arise from a number of circumstances. A long-term relationship may have ended with miscommunication between both parties, or the alleged victim may be giving false statements. However the situation occurred, harassment or stalking charges are serious under Texas law.
Often harassment or stalking allegations are based solely on the alleged victim. Law enforcement may file charges or make an arrest without the full story. It’s important that you gain legal representation if you or someone you know has been charged with harassment or stalking.
Houston Attorney for Harassment or Stalking in Texas
Have you been accused of stalking or harassing another person in the Harris County area? Do not hesitate when it comes to your rights and reputation. Get in contact with Brian Benken at The Benken Law Firm for trusted legal representation.
Brian Benken is a Texas attorney with a love for criminal defense. He is experienced in harassment, stalking, and cyberstalking cases in Texas criminal courts. Additionally, Brian Benken is compassionate with each and every one of his clients. Start your sturdy defense now with Brian Benken at The Benken Law Firm.
The Benken Law Firm represents those accused of stalking or harassment throughout every part of Harris County including Brays Oaks, Westchase, Greenspoint, and Houston Heights.
Call us now at (713) 223 - 4051 to schedule a free consultation.
Overview for Harassment or Stalking Charges in Texas
- Stalking Charged under Texas Law
- Stalking Penalties
- Harassment Charged under Texas Law
- Harassment Penalties
- Additional Resources
Stalking Charges Under Texas Law
A person is charged with stalking under Texas law if his or her conduct is on one or more occasions and was directed at a specific person. Texas Penal Code § 42.072 states a person is committing the offense of stalking if he or she does any of the following:
- Harassing the alleged victim or their close friends or family with a threat of:
- Bodily injury or death of the alleged victim;
- Bodily injury or death of a family member or close friend of the alleged victim;
- Fear that the alleged offender will cause bodily injury or death for himself or herself;
- That an offense, such as vandalism or arson, is committed against the alleged victim’s property; or
- That an offense, such as vandalism or arson, is committed against the alleged victim’s family, close friends, or intimate partner’s property.
- Causes a reasonable person to feel harassed, alarmed, abused, tormented, annoyed, embarrassed, or offended.
Penalties for Stalking under Texas Penal Code
Those convicted of stalking may face severe and costly penalties. The penalties for stalking are heavily reliant on the alleged offender’s criminal history. If the person is a first-time stalking offender, he or she will face a third-degree felony. The penalties for a third-degree felony include:
- Maximum prison sentence of up to 10 years; and
- Possible fine of up to $10,000.
If the person has a past stalking conviction, he or she may be charged with a second-degree felony. The penalties for a second-degree felony include:
- Maximum prison sentence of up to 20 years; and
- Possible fine of up to $10,000.
What is Harassment under Texas Law?
It is illegal to harass another person, no matter the reason, in the state of Texas. Texas Penal Code § 42.07 states it is an illegal offense for a person to harass, alarm, annoy, abuse, torment, or embarrass another through any of the following means:
- Begins a conversation with the alleged victim and makes obscene comments, suggestions, proposals, or requests;
- Threatens to inflict bodily injury, a felony, or property damage against the alleged victim or their close friends or family;
- Gives a false report or statement, which is known by the alleged offender that it’s false, that another person suffered death or bodily injury;
- Calls the alleged victim or their close friends or family telephone repeatedly for the sole purpose to harass, alarm, annoy, torment, abuse, embarrass, or offend;
- Calls the alleged victim or their close friends or family on the phone and intentionally fails to hang up or disengage the connection;
- Uses another person’s phone to harass, abuse, torment, embarrass, annoy or offend the alleged victim or their close friends or family; and
- Repeatedly sends message by electronic communication to harass, abuse, alarm, embarrass, torment, offend, or alarm another.
Texas law defines the term “electronic communication” as a transfer of signs, signals, writing, images, data, sounds, or intelligence of any nature transmitted in whole or in part by a wire, photoeletronic, radio, or electromagnetic system.
It can also mean communication through electronic mail, network call, instant message, computer, camera, text message, social media platform, or other Internet-based communication tools.
The term “obscene” is defined under Texas law as a patently offensive description or solicitation to commit a sexually explicit act.
Penalties for Harassment Charges in Texas
A conviction of harassment charges can result in harsh legal ramifications. A first-time harassment offender may face a Class B misdemeanor, which is punishable with a maximum prison sentence of up to 180 days in jail, and a possible fine of up to $2,000.
A harassment conviction will be enhanced to a Class A misdemeanor if the alleged offender does any of the following:
- The alleged offender has a prior conviction of harassment;
- The offender repeatedly sent electronic messages to a minor with the intent that the child:
- Commit suicide; or
- Engage in dangerous actions that cause serious bodily injury.
- The alleged offender has previously violated an injunction or temporary restraining order.
A Class A misdemeanor is punishable with a maximum prison sentence of up 12 months in jail, and a possible fine of up to $4,000.
Texas Stalking or Harassment Laws – Visit the official website for Texas legislation and state laws. Find more information surrounding disorderly conduct offenses such as harassment, stalking, cyberstalking, riots, or animal cruelty.
Stalking | Department of Justice – Visit the official website for the United States Department of Justice. Find more information on what the United States government considers stalking, tips for victims of stalking, and gain access to resources for those suffering with a stalker.
Harris County Lawyer for Stalking or Harassment Charges in Texas
If you or someone you know has been charged with harassment, stalking, or a type of domestic violence offense it’s vital that you gain trusted legal representation. Hiring an experienced attorney can significantly increase your chances of reducing or dismissing your charges.
Attorney Brian Benken has over 30 years of practice in Texas criminal courts. Using his skills and resources, Brian Benken can work with you to create a sturdy defense. If you have been charged, this is not the time to be idle. Contact Brian Benken now at (713) 223 - 4051 and schedule a free consultation.
The Benken Law Firm represents those accused of crimes throughout all communities and neighborhoods in Harris County including Alief, Westbury, Houston Heights, and Greenspoint.
Call Brian Benken at The Benken Law Firm or simply submit an online contact form for a free consultation.
This article was last updated on October 12, 2018.