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What Is Stalking In Massachusetts?

Posted on : March 23, 2022, By:  Tom Kokonowski, Esq.
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Criminal penalties for stalking are somewhat new, with legislation banning this group of dangerous behaviors in the 1990s. However, if you are successfully prosecuted for stalking, you face harsh consequences. Here’s what to know about stalking and how to get legal help from an experienced Massachusetts criminal defense attorney.

Massachusetts Stalking Laws

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts defines stalking as “willfully and maliciously engaging in conduct that seriously alarms or annoys a specific person and would cause reasonable person to suffer substantial emotional distress and makiing threats with the intent to the place person in fear of death or bodily injury.”

Stalking Examples

Behaviors that constitute stalking typically don’t draw alarm on their own, however, when they become repetitive and targeted, they may be considered stalking. In some cases, a person may be unaware that they are engaging in this type of illegal behavior and are surprised to find that they’re facing criminal charges for what they believed was innocuous.

The below actions may be considered stalking:

  • Making repeated phone calls or sending multiple texts to someone, especially if they ask you to stop and you do not
  • Following someone and showing up at places they frequent, like their school or place of employment
  • Sending gifts, letters, and other mail that is unwanted and the recipient has expressed the desire for you to cease
  • Using hardware or software like GPS trackers, recording devices, and spyware to monitor a person’s actions
  • Communicating with a person’s family, friends, co-workers, and other acquaintances in hopes of finding out information or passing along a message

Stalking Penalties

If you are convicted of stalking in Massachusetts, you could face the following penalties:

  • Up to five years incarceration in a state prison or two-and-a-half years in a house of corrections
  • Up to a $1,000 fine
  • Both jail time and a fine

If you are charged with violating a protective order along with stalking, you face a mandatory minimum sentence of one year incarceration. Regardless of the circumstances of your case, the judge cannot order less than one year.

Call a Massachusetts Criminal Defense Lawyer Now

It’s crucial that you act immediately after being arrested for stalking to protect your reputation, career, relationships, and your future. Everything is on the line after being charged with a crime. Get help from experienced criminal defense attorney Thomas Kokonowski by calling 413-585-9200 (Northhampton), 413-549-0022 (Amherst), or 413-737-9700 (Springfield).