Stalking: Too Close For Comfort
By: Dee Wampler
A person commits the crime of stalking if they, through their course of conduct, harass or follow another person with the intent of harassing that person. It is unlawful to make credible threats, especially if there is a course of conduct. Especially forbidden would be a person 21 years or older stalking a person 17 years of age or under.¹
If a person acts unreasonably to cause another person to fear for their life or that would serve no other legitimate purpose that might cause a reasonable person to suffer substantial emotional distress, it is a class A misdemeanor unless there is a prior criminal record.
Whether substantial and emotional distress occurs is left to the jury or for their commonly understood meanings.²
7.5 million people are stalked every year in the United States, over 85 percent of stalking victims are stalked by someone they know. Whereas one in five are stalked by a stranger.
The highest rate of stalking occurs between persons 18 to 24 years of age.
Many stalking victims are stalked for five years or more (11 percent) and 46 percent of all stalking victims experience at least one instance of unwanted contact per week.
²State v. Baker, 40 SW3d 392 (Mo.App. 2001)
At the Law Offices of Dee Wampler & Joseph Passanise, Dee Wampler draws from more than four decades of legal experience in defending clients accused of an array of crimes throughout southwestern Missouri, including Springfield, St. Louis and Kansas City. As a Springfield native, Mr. Wampler understands the nuances of the Missouri court system, but he is an equally formidable criminal trial attorney in high-profile federal cases involving serious charges. His work has earned him recognition across the country and even internationally. Several nationally syndicated television shows, including “Saturday Night with Connie Chung,” “Inside Edition” and ABC’s “Primetime” have featured his cases, and Missouri Lawyers Weekly has showcased his work approximately 20 times.