Stalking is never a good thing. Whether you’re a man or a woman, having someone follow you around is never a good feeling.
There are many nightmare stories of people becoming victims of stalkers. Once you become the victim yourself, the level of oppression can make you fear for your life.
If you’re in Michigan, what can you do? What anti-stalking laws in Michigan can you recourse to? In this guide, our Lansing criminal attorneys give you everything that you need to know about Michigan stalking laws.
What You Need to Know about Stalking
What is stalking? What penalties can people get from stalking? How do you protect yourself from people stalking you? Here’s what you have to know about your rights.
- What is Stalking?
Before we even talk about protecting yourself from stalking, we need first to understand what is stalking. By definition of the Michigan Penal Code Section 750.411h, stalking is:
“…a willful course of conduct involving repeated or continuing harassment of another individual that would cause a reasonable person to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed, or molested and that actually causes the victim to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed, or molested.”
In this definition, the “willful course of conduct” is a series of two or more acts that have the same purpose. If someone continues to create undue contact that causes emotional distress, this is an act stalking and harassment.
There are many different reasons for stalking. Many of which connect to the stalker’s perception of relationship towards their victim. It becomes a fixation and can be a heavy burden to the victims.
Even if you’re not the type to file a lawsuit, it’s imperative to protect yourself from harm by putting stalkers behind bars.
- Who Can Be Victims of Stalking?
The people involved in stalking as either stalkers or victims can be anyone. One in six women are victims of stalking, while one in every 19 men become victims too. Almost 30% of stalking victims tend to get emotional or psychological injuries from these events.
As for stalkers, it can be anyone who knows you. Most stalkers are people who have a level of connection with their victims. They can be a casual acquaintance, a former lover, or even total strangers.
As long as someone builds a level compulsion to follow you to the point of harassment, it’s stalking.
- Stalking Classifications, Punishment, and Fines in Michigan
In the eyes of Michigan anti-stalking laws, there are two types of stalking with different classifications. They are misdemeanor stalking and felony aggravated stalking. While they sound different, they are under the same 750.411 statute.
Misdemeanor stalking is punishable by jail time no more than one year in prison. There will also be a fine of not more than $1000, which can serve together with the jail time. It will likewise merit a restraining order for the victim if the request happens.
It changes into a felony for two different conditions. They are:
- If the victim is a minor below 18 years old during the time of the misconduct
- The stalker is five years older or more than the victim
If the case meets both conditions, then it is an automatic felony and is punishable with jail time no more than five years. There will also be a fine of no more than $10,000 or both.
The court may also ask to put the stalker under a probation for a period not more than five years. More court orders can soon follow, which include:
- A reasonable distance away from the victim
- Refrain from any contact with the victim
- Undergo social, psychological or psychiatric evaluation, whichever applies
Continuous actions that lead to occurrences that classify under the definition of stalking becomes rebuttable presumption. If the victim asks a person to discontinue a particular course of conduct that harasses, frightens, threatens, molests, or intimidates, reasonable failure to comply is also stalking.
Felony Aggravated Stalking
Under the Michigan Compiled Law is statute 750.411i, or felony aggravated stalking. Aggravated stalking is punishable with jail time of no more than five years, a fine of not more than $5,000, or both.
If the victim is below 18 years old and the stalker is five years older or more during the time of the misconduct, the charge is more serious. The punishment becomes imprisonment of not more than 10 years, a fine no more than $15,000, or both.
You can also file a civil case against your stalker. This will allow you to get fines and compensation for damages and legal fees.
Understanding Michigan Anti-Stalking Laws for Your Protection
Stalking is illegal not only in Michigan but everywhere.
If you are a victim of stalking, notify the police nearby. Get an anti-stalking protection order for you and your family. File a civil action against the stalker, together with a criminal case to sue them for damages.
Where you can, hire a Michigan criminal lawyer to help you. Experts in the criminal defense field know how to make an airtight case. We will help put your stalker behind bars while you also receive appropriate compensation.
Know your rights. Talk to an expert lawyer to see how Michigan anti-stalking laws can protect you.