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Illinois Criminal Code of 1961

Article 12: Stalking Crimes

This section of Illinois law discusses the crime of stalking. There are several situations in which the charge of stalking applies. First, if a person acts in a way towards someone that would cause a reasonable person to fear for his safety, he or she can be charged with stalking. In a second situation, the accused must have followed the victim on two separate occasions, placing that person in fear of harm or assault. Lastly, a person who has already been convicted of stalking can be convicted again if they follow or threaten their previous victim. In all of these situations, a conviction can result in a Class 4 felony on a defendants record.

The crime can be upgraded to aggravated stalking when certain circumstances are present. Some examples include situations in which the victim experienced bodily harm or a restraining order was violated. This crime carries a Class 3 felony status.

In the digital age, laws must also account for the possibility of crimes occurring through the medium of the Internet. This section of Illinois law discusses the crime of cyberstalking. If a person contacts another individual through electronic communication and transmits a threat, solicits commission of an act, or causes the individual to fear for his or her safety, that person has committed cyberstalking. A defendant could also be found guilty of this crime if he creates a webpage intended to harass someone else through threats or other forms of verbal assault. Cyberstalking is a Class 4 felony.

Need an Illinois criminal defense attorney? If you've been charged with a stalking crime in Illinois, call our Chicago criminal defense attorneys today at (312) 466-9466 to discuss your case.

The text below comes from Article 12 of the Illinois Criminal Code of 1961. This law may have changed -- please read the important legal disclaimer at the bottom of this page.

Sec. 12-7.3. Stalking.
    (720 ILCS 5/12-7.3)

(a) A person commits stalking when he or she knowingly engages in a course of conduct directed at a specific person, and he or she knows or should know that this course of conduct would cause a reasonable person to: (1) fear for his or her safety or the safety of a third person; or

(2) suffer other emotional distress. (a-3) A person commits stalking when he or she, knowingly and without lawful justification, on at least 2 separate occasions follows another person or places the person under surveillance or any combination thereof and:

(1) at any time transmits a threat of immediate or future bodily harm, sexual assault, confinement or restraint and the threat is directed towards that person or a family member of that person; or

(2) places that person in reasonable apprehension of immediate or future bodily harm, sexual assault, confinement or restraint; or

(3) places that person in reasonable apprehension that a family member will receive immediate or future bodily harm, sexual assault, confinement, or restraint.

(a-5) A person commits stalking when he or she has previously been convicted of stalking another person and knowingly and without lawful justification on one occasion:

(1) follows that same person or places that same person under surveillance; and

(2) transmits a threat of immediate or future bodily harm, sexual assault, confinement or restraint; and

(3) the threat is directed towards that person or a family member of that person.

(b) Sentence. Stalking is a Class 4 felony. A second or subsequent conviction for stalking is a Class 3 felony.

(c) Definitions. For purposes of this Section: (1) "Course of conduct" means 2 or more acts, including but not limited to acts in which a defendant directly, indirectly, or through third parties, by any action, method, device, or means follows, monitors, observes, surveils, threatens, or communicates to or about, a person, engages in other non-consensual contact, or interferes with or damages a person's property or pet. A course of conduct may include contact via electronic communications.

(2) "Electronic communication" means any transfer of signs, signals, writings, sounds, data, or intelligence of any nature transmitted in whole or in part by a wire, radio, electromagnetic, photoelectric, or photo-optical system. "Electronic communication" includes transmissions by a computer through the Internet to another computer.

(3) "Emotional distress" means significant mental suffering, anxiety or alarm.

(4) "Family member" means a parent, grandparent, brother, sister, or child, whether by whole blood, half-blood, or adoption and includes a step-grandparent, step-parent, step-brother, step-sister or step-child. "Family member" also means any other person who regularly resides in the household, or who, within the prior 6 months, regularly resided in the household.

(5) "Follows another person" means (i) to move in relative proximity to a person as that person moves from place to place or (ii) to remain in relative proximity to a person who is stationary or whose movements are confined to a small area. "Follows another person" does not include a following within the residence of the defendant.

(6) "Non-consensual contact" means any contact with the victim that is initiated or continued without the victim's consent, including but not limited to being in the physical presence of the victim; appearing within the sight of the victim; approaching or confronting the victim in a public place or on private property; appearing at the workplace or residence of the victim; entering onto or remaining on property owned, leased, or occupied by the victim; or placing an object on, or delivering an object to, property owned, leased, or occupied by the victim.

(7) "Places a person under surveillance" means: (1) remaining present outside the person's school, place of employment, vehicle, other place occupied by the person, or residence other than the residence of the defendant; or (2) placing an electronic tracking device on the person or the person's property.

(8) "Reasonable person" means a person in the victim's situation.

(9) "Transmits a threat" means a verbal or written threat or a threat implied by a pattern of conduct or a combination of verbal or written statements or conduct.

(d) Exemptions. (1) This Section does not apply to any individual or organization (i) monitoring or attentive to compliance with public or worker safety laws, wage and hour requirements, or other statutory requirements, or (ii) picketing occurring at the workplace that is otherwise lawful and arises out of a bona fide labor dispute, including any controversy concerning wages, salaries, hours, working conditions or benefits, including health and welfare, sick leave, insurance, and pension or retirement provisions, the making or maintaining of collective bargaining agreements, and the terms to be included in those agreements.

(2) This Section does not apply to an exercise of the right to free speech or assembly that is otherwise lawful.

(3) Telecommunications carriers, commercial mobile service providers, and providers of information services, including, but not limited to, Internet service providers and hosting service providers, are not liable under this Section, except for willful and wanton misconduct, by virtue of the transmission, storage, or caching of electronic communications or messages of others or by virtue of the provision of other related telecommunications, commercial mobile services, or information services used by others in violation of this Section.

(d-5) The incarceration of a person in a penal institution who commits the course of conduct or transmits a threat is not a bar to prosecution under this Section. (Source: P.A. 95-33, eff. 1-1-08; 96-686, eff. 1-1-10.)

Sec. 12-7.4. Aggravated stalking.
    (720 ILCS 5/12-7.4)

(a) A person commits aggravated stalking when he or she, in conjunction with committing the offense of stalking, also does any of the following:

(1) causes bodily harm to the victim;

(2) confines or restrains the victim; or

(3) violates a temporary restraining order, an order of protection, a stalking no contact order, a civil no contact order, or an injunction prohibiting the behavior described in subsection (b)(1) of Section 214 of the Illinois Domestic Violence Act of 1986.

(b) Sentence. Aggravated stalking is a Class 3 felony. A second or subsequent conviction for aggravated stalking is a Class 2 felony.

(c) Exemptions. (1) This Section does not apply to any individual or organization (i) monitoring or attentive to compliance with public or worker safety laws, wage and hour requirements, or other statutory requirements, or (ii) picketing occurring at the workplace that is otherwise lawful and arises out of a bona fide labor dispute including any controversy concerning wages, salaries, hours, working conditions or benefits, including health and welfare, sick leave, insurance, and pension or retirement provisions, the managing or maintenance of collective bargaining agreements, and the terms to be included in those agreements.

(2) This Section does not apply to an exercise of the right of free speech or assembly that is otherwise lawful.

(3) Telecommunications carriers, commercial mobile service providers, and providers of information services, including, but not limited to, Internet service providers and hosting service providers, are not liable under this Section, except for willful and wanton misconduct, by virtue of the transmission, storage, or caching of electronic communications or messages of others or by virtue of the provision of other related telecommunications, commercial mobile services, or information services used by others in violation of this Section. (Source: P.A. 96-686, eff. 1-1-10.)

(Text of Section from P.A. 96-328)
    (720 ILCS 5/12-7.5)

Sec. 12-7.5. Cyberstalking.

(a) A person commits cyberstalking when he or she, knowingly and without lawful justification, on at least 2 separate occasions, harasses another person through the use of electronic communication and:

(1) at any time transmits a threat of immediate or future bodily harm, sexual assault, confinement, or restraint and the threat is directed towards that person or a family member of that person; or

(2) places that person or a family member of that person in reasonable apprehension of immediate or future bodily harm, sexual assault, confinement, or restraint; or

(3) at any time knowingly solicits the commission of an act by any person which would be a violation of this Code directed towards that person or a family member of that person.

(a-5) A person commits cyberstalking when he or she, knowingly and without lawful justification, creates and maintains an Internet website or webpage which is accessible to one or more third parties for a period of at least 24 hours, and which contains statements harassing another person and:

(1) which communicates a threat of immediate or future bodily harm, sexual assault, confinement, or restraint, where the threat is directed towards that person or a family member of that person, or

(2) which places that person or a family member of that person in reasonable apprehension of immediate or future bodily harm, sexual assault, confinement, or restraint, or

(3) which knowingly solicits the commission of an act by any person which would be a violation of this Code directed towards that person or a family member of that person.

(b) As used in this Section:

"Harass" means to engage in a knowing and willful course of conduct directed at a specific person that alarms, torments, or terrorizes that person.

"Third party" means any person other than the person violating these provisions and the person or persons towards whom the violator's actions are directed. "Electronic communication" means any transfer of signs, signals, writings, sounds, data, or intelligence of any nature transmitted in whole or in part by a wire, radio, electronmagnetic, photoelectric, or photo-optical system. "Electronic communication" includes transmissions by a computer through the Internet to another computer.

(c) Sentence. Cyberstalking is a Class 4 felony. A second or subsequent conviction for cyberstalking is a Class 3 felony.

(d) Telecommunications carriers, commercial mobile service providers, and providers of information services, including, but not limited to, Internet service providers and hosting service providers, are not liable under this Section, except for willful and wanton misconduct, by virtue of the transmission, storage, or caching of electronic communications or messages of others or by virtue of the provision of other related telecommunications, commercial mobile services, or information services used by others in violation of this Section. (Source: P.A. 95-849, eff. 1-1-09; 96-328, eff. 8-11-09.)

(Text of Section from P.A. 96-686)

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DISCLAIMER: These excerpts from the law are provided for reference purposes only. Visitors to our Chicago criminal defense lawyer website should be aware that Illinois criminal laws have been amended many times and that Illinois crime laws posted on this site may not be current. In addition, Illinois criminal case law defines precedents for legal determinations that are not defined in the original laws.

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