Yes, Stalking Can Be a Crime of Domestic Violence in Illinois
Stalking is a serious issue that affects millions of people worldwide. In Illinois, stalking is considered a crime of domestic violence when committed against a person who is a family or household member of the stalker. In this blog post, we will discuss when stalking is considered a crime of domestic violence in Illinois and what to do if you are being charged with stalking.
According to the Illinois Domestic Violence Act of 1986, stalking is defined as engaging in the course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for their safety or the safety of their family or household members. This course of conduct can include following, monitoring, harassing, threatening, or communicating with the victim, either directly or indirectly.
When stalking is committed against a family or household member, it is considered a crime of domestic violence in Illinois. Family or household members can include spouses, former spouses, parents, children, stepchildren, siblings, and individuals who currently or previously have lived together or have a child in common.
What Are The Possible Punishments For Stalking In Illinois?
Stalking charges can have severe consequences, including fines, jail time, and a permanent criminal record. If you are being charged with stalking, it is essential to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney. A criminal defense attorney can help you understand the charges against you, develop a defense strategy, and represent you in court. It is crucial to take stalking charges seriously, even if you believe the accusations are unfounded.
The possible criminal punishments for stalking as domestic violence in Illinois can include:
- Class 4 Felony. If the stalking incident involves no prior convictions for the same or similar offenses, it can be charged as a Class 4 felony. A Class 4 felony in Illinois can carry a prison sentence of one to three years and fines of up to $25,000.
- Class 3 Felony. If the stalking incident involves a prior conviction for the same offense or any similar offenses, or if it is committed in violation of an order of protection or restraining order, it can be charged as a Class 3 felony. A Class 3 felony in Illinois can carry a prison sentence of two to five years and fines of up to $25,000.
- Aggravated Stalking. If the stalking incident involves any aggravating factors, such as the use of a deadly weapon, it can be charged as aggravated stalking. Aggravated stalking is a Class 3 felony, and the punishments are the same as those for a Class 3 felony.
- Supervision. In some cases, the court may impose a supervision sentence. Supervision is a form of probation where the offender must follow certain conditions, such as completing counseling or community service and avoiding further criminal activity.
It’s important to note that the punishments for stalking as domestic violence can vary depending on the case’s specific circumstances and the judge’s discretion. The victim may also seek a civil restraining order or order of protection against the offender, which can impose additional restrictions and consequences.
What Do I Do If I Am Charged With Stalking In Illinois?
If you are being charged with stalking, gathering evidence to support your defense is essential. This evidence can include the following:
- Witness statements
- Surveillance footage
- Text messages
- Other communication records.
Your criminal defense attorney can help you identify and collect this evidence.
To prove stalking in a domestic violence case, the prosecution must show that the defendant engaged in a course of conduct directed at the victim that would cause a reasonable person to fear for their safety. The prosecution must also show that the defendant knew or should have known that their behavior would cause the victim to fear for their safety.
About the Author:
Andrew M. Weisberg is a former felony prosecutor who now serves as a defense attorney in the greater Chicago area. He has extensive experience handling all types of criminal cases, from sex offenses and domestic violence to retail theft-related crimes, murder, and drug crimes. His work has been recognized by Avvo, Expertise, National Trial Lawyers, and others, and he has been featured on countless news outlets for his experience and knowledge in criminal law.