Whether you are interested in someone who doesn’t seem to reciprocate your feelings or you are having trouble letting go after a relationship has ended, you may be treading on thin ice if you are unaware of the different behaviors that count as stalking. To protect you from being charged with a crime, you should understand the laws about stalking in New York.
It may not be stalking if you have tried a few times to ask out someone in your social group or even attempted to find out more about the person you are interested in. As FindLaw explains, stalking falls within a set of repeated, unwanted behaviors that make the target feel afraid. The following behaviors are common:
- Discreetly following the person whenever possible, such as home from work, to the gym, to school and while running errands
- Repeatedly sending the person phone calls, text messages, emails and posts on social media
- Damaging personal property belonging to the target, such as keying a car or uprooting plants from a flower garden
- Making threats or implying that the person will be harmed for not complying with the alleged stalker’s wishes or returning to the relationship
You may be aware that stalking often occurs after a relationship involving domestic violence has ended. While you may not be a violent person, you could still face misdemeanor charges if the court determined the other person had reasonable cause to fear for his or her safety or suffered emotional damage as a result of your alleged stalking behavior. You might face felony penalties for a subsequent charge or if a weapon was involved. Because the issue can be complex, this information should not replace the advice of a lawyer.