To be terrorized, in any form, by another person is a life-altering experience. It can completely change the way you view and approach the world. Stalking can range from petulant harassment to fear for one’s safety. With such a wide variance in incidents, what, if any, type of stalking is classified as civil harassment? What can you do to remain safe?
The short answer: Yes, the court recognizes stalking as an act of civil harassment. The civil court of California takes into account two forms of stalking:
- When the aggravator decides on a course of action that can cause the victim to feel intimidated, frightened, terrorized, or fearful for their safety and the safety of any member of their household.
- When the victim feels all the mentioned items above.
- When the aggravator causes the events mentioned above.
- When the aggravator threatens the victim with intent to cause serious bodily harm or the victim believes the aggravator will do something to cause their death or the death of any member of the household.
If you are the victim of a stalker, there are legal steps you can take to maintain the safety of yourself and your family. The first thing you should do is consult an experienced civil harassment attorney who can guide you through the entire process so you don’t have to worry about any legal minutia.
The next thing you should do is file a civil harassment restraining order. This will ensure the aggravator can’t continue to harass you or cause you to feel unsafe. If they continue to bother you or intensify their approach, they can be arrested and sent to prison or face hefty fines.
Types of civil harassment restraining orders:
- A temporary restraining order (TRO): This lasts for 20 to 25 days. A judge will put it in place before your court hearing date, if they deem it necessary.
- A permanent restraining order: This isn’t actually permanent (it lasts 5 years), but it prevents your aggressor from any contact with you or members of your household.
- A criminal protective order (stay-away order): If the aggressor has escalated their stalking by committing an act of violence, the district attorney will file a criminal charge against them. This will initiate a separate criminal case and, if found guilty, will be put into place for 3 years.
Contact Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP
If you are the victim of stalking, it’s important to deal with your aggressor now before it escalates to anything more dangerous. Our civil harassment attorneys have over 15 years of legal experience handling cases like yours, and we are ready to do the same for you. We are dedicated to protecting your rights and will do what we can to help you become safe once again.