Changes Coming to Illinois Stalking Laws in 2019
Regardless of your intent, you could commit a stalking offense under Illinois law. Sometimes stalking is a part of domestic violence charges, while other times it is a standalone charge. Stalking charges can affect every part of your life, from your career and living arrangements to your relationships with both family and friends.
In this day and age, stalking can occur in many forms, which is why Illinois’ stalking law has been updated to reflect that.
What is Stalking?
According to the Illinois Criminal Code of 2012, stalking occurs when a person knowingly engages in conduct toward a specific person and knows that the conduct would cause the person to:
- Fear for his or her safety;
- Fear for the safety of another; or
- Experience other emotional distress.
The law also states you can be charged with stalking if on two separate occasions you follow another person or place them under surveillance and:
- Transmit a threat of immediate or future bodily harm or sexual assault; or
- Make that person reasonably fear immediate or future bodily harm or sexual assault.
Stalking can include actions such as:
- Following a person;
- Unwanted phone calls;
- Sending unwelcome emails;
- Harming a victim’s pet; or
- Vandalizing a victim’s property.
Sentencing For Stalking Charges
In Illinois, stalking is classified as a Class 4 felony for a first offense and Class 3 felony for a second offense. A first-time stalking offender can face one to three years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines. A second or subsequent offense can carry up to five years in prison and $25,000 in fines.
Changes to Illinois Stalking Law
Beginning in 2019, the stalking law will include unwanted social media messages. It will also state that a workplace, place of worship, or a school can be named as a stalking victim, and allows authorized agents of those places to be petitioners in stalking cases.
Contact a Naperville, IL Stalking Defense Attorney
While actions that lead to a stalking charge may involve innocent intent, you must prove that in order for charges to be dropped. Stalking charges are taken very seriously in Illinois, which is why you want a knowledgeable St. Charles, IL stalking defense lawyer by your side. At Donahue & Sowa, we understand how stressful it can be if you are unjustly accused of stalking, and we will work to get your charges dropped. Call our office today at 630-505-5200 to set up a free consultation.