At times, the line between legal behavior, and behavior that is illegal and considered stalking can be hard to determine.
In Illinois, there are several different offenses that are considered stalking crimes. Stalking falls under a domestic crime in Illinois, and is generally charged as a Class 4 felony.
What is Stalking?
Stalking is knowingly engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to (1) fear for his or her safety or the safety of a third person; or (2) suffer emotional distress.
Knowingly and without lawful justification following or surveilling someone on two or more occasions and threatening or placing someone in reasonable apprehension can lead to a stalking charge too.
Physical contact is not a requirement of the charge. Following someone, staying within the line of sight of a person, or making unwanted calls can all lead to a stalking charge.
What is Cyberstalking?
Cyberstalking is similar to stalking but requires the use of electronic communications to harass someone else. You can be charged with cyberstalking even if you have not spoken to the victim. Today, this can be as simple as repeatedly threatening someone over text, email or social media.
What is Aggravated Stalking?
Aggravated Stalking is generally charged as a Class 3 felony. A person may be charged with aggravated stalking when he or she commits stalking and:
- Causes bodily harm to the victim;
- Confines or restrains the victim; or
- Violates a temporary restraining order, order of protection, a stalking no contact order, or a civil no contact order.