If you have been arrested for stalking, talking to us is the first step toward a solution. Don't wait until it's too late to hire a good Chicago stalking lawyer. Schedule an in-office consultation with our Chicago criminal defense attorneys. Our phone number is (312) 466-9466.
It cannot be disputed that there are obsessed individuals who stalk and strike fear into others who are sometimes the object of their affection. But the legislature has responded by passing an extremely broad stalking statute that fails to understand the subtleties of relationships between men and women.
The statute says that a person commits the offense of Stalking when he 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) transmits a threat of immediate or future bodily harm, sexual assault, confinement or restraint; 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. 720 ILCS 5/12-7.5.
This language would suggest that an over-active suitor is not breaking the law if he or she does not say or do something threatening. But courts have held that the "threat" does not have to be related to the instances of following, the person pressing charges does not have to testify that she was afraid of the conduct in the statute, ("immediate or future bodily harm, sexual assault confinement or restraint"). See People v. Nakajuma, 294 Ill.App.3d 809, 691 N.E. 2d 153 (4th District, 1998). In that case the defendant was alleged to have grabbed the hand of a clerk and to have followed her around a store, then parked outside the store on more than one occasion and parked near the clerk's home. But he never communicated a threat of any kind. Nevertheless, he was convicted, and the appellate court held that the "defendant's persistent and unwelcome conduct placed [the complainant] in reasonable apprehension of bodily harm.
The reality is that situations like a "secret admirer" or a boyfriend trying to make up with his ex-girlfriend run a very real risk of being deemed a "stalker" for doing nothing more threatening than being "persistent" in their efforts to see the object of their affection.
Anyone being questioned about an alleged stalking should invoke their right to remain silent and ask for a lawyer. Even telling the police "I was just trying to talk to her" or words to that effect will be used against the accused in a court of law.
There are a number of ways to defend an accusation of stalking. A defendant can argue that the accuser invited the contact; he or she can deny that he was present to follow the victim but was instead there for another purpose, or they can deny he followed the accuser at all. There are other possibilities as well. To figure out which defense is right for you, call the Law Office of Steven R. Hunter today for an office consultation.