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Do You Know What Federal Law Says About Stalking? Probably Not… (Pt 1)

A man using a camera to take a picture of a woman while she photographs other things.
Following someone around, watching them or taking their picture might be stalking, but there’s a lot more to it than that!

When most people hear the word ‘stalking’ they tend to think of a peeping tom. Or someone who follows another person around from place to place (the common assumption is that it’s a man following a woman around), showing up at their workplace and while they’re out running errands. Always watching from a distance, but always close enough to make their presence known. 

However, what many people don’t realize is that the act of following someone around from place to place (which can be terrifying enough as it is) is only part of stalking. In many cases, stalking also includes acts of violence against that person or against others who are close to them.

What does it mean to stalk someone?

Stalking someone is really a power play. It’s usually done to incite fear in the victim. In stalking someone, the perpetrator is making them aware that you know where they live and work, and that you can show up wherever they are, at any time, and find them. There is a lot of implied threat in that information, even if it’s never verbalized.

They have no idea what (if anything) you’re going to do, or when you’re going to do it, but they know you’re there, watching them, waiting, entirely in control. And it terrifies them. This is exactly what a stalker wants. However in many cases stalking also includes harming the person being stalked, or their vulnerable loved ones and household animals. Michigan law makes that very clear. 

Does our federal law say anything about violence from stalkers?

Absolutely! 18 U.S. Code § 2261A defines stalking as following someone with the intention of harassing them, threatening them, intimidating them, injuring them, or killing them. And believe it or not, those threats are also covered under this federal law if they are made against the victim’s:

  • Spouse or intimate partner 
  • Immediate family members
  • Pets
  • Service animals

So following someone around in a way that they perceive to be threatening, and then intimidating their child or spouse counts as stalking under the federal law. Or following them around and then assaulting or injuring their spouse counts as federal stalking. And following them around and then killing their pet cat or maiming their service dog would also count as stalking.

Federal stalking charges need a certain kind of criminal defense attorney

Join us next time, for a look at what the consequences of a federal stalking charge could be, and how federal stalking charges differ from state of Michigan charges. Until then, we want to remind you of how serious these charges are. Especially if the charges were filed by the feds! Facing charges in a federal court is a whole different kettle of fish, and not just any criminal defense attorney can handle them! If you have questions, call us at 866 7NoJail. 

Being able to defend a client in a federal court requires a defense attorney with a great deal of skill, experience, and specific knowledge of the federal court system. Our aggressive criminal defense attorneys have decades of experience defending people against charges in both state and federal courts around Michigan. We’ve been doing this since last century and we’re very good at it, which is exactly what you need if you’re up against the feds! 

Call us at 866 766 5245 for help.

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