Stalking is the act of a person who, on more than one occasion, follows, pursues, or harasses another person, and actively engages in conduct that causes the victim to believe the offender will cause physical harm or mental distress to them. This is behavior that is repetitious, deliberate and usually intended to make the target feel intimidated or frightened. Stalking can involve someone following another person home from work, calling or texting the other person repeatedly or taking photographs of the other person without his or her permission.
Typically, stalking is considered a misdemeanor in Missouri. However, it becomes a felony charge when the person accused of stalking was previously convicted of a similar crime within the past five years.
The stalking statutes do not apply to activities of federal, state, county, or municipal law enforcement officers conducting investigations of violation of federal, state, county, or municipal law.
565.225. Stalking, First Degree:
1. As used in this section and section 565.227, the term “disturbs” shall mean to engage in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that serves no legitimate purpose and that would cause a reasonable person under the circumstances to be frightened, intimidated, or emotionally distressed.
2. A person commits the offense of stalking in the first degree if he or she purposely, through his or her course of conduct, disturbs or follows with the intent of disturbing another person and:
(1) Makes a threat communicated with the intent to cause the person who is the target of the threat to reasonably fear for his or her safety, the safety of his or her family or household member, or the safety of domestic animals or livestock as defined in section 276.606 kept at such person’s residence or on such person’s property. The threat shall be against the life of, or a threat to cause physical injury to, or the kidnapping of the person, the person’s family or household members, or the person’s domestic animals or livestock as defined in section 276.606 kept at such person’s residence or on such person’s property; or
(2) At least one of the acts constituting the course of conduct is in violation of an order of protection and the person has received actual notice of such order; or
(3) At least one of the actions constituting the course of conduct is in violation of a condition of probation, parole, pretrial release, or release on bond pending appeal; or
(4) At any time during the course of conduct, the other person is seventeen years of age or younger and the person disturbing the other person is twenty-one years of age or older; or
(5) He or she has previously been found guilty of domestic assault, violation of an order of protection, or any other crime where the other person was the victim; or
(6) At any time during the course of conduct, the other person is a participant of the address confidentiality program under sections 589.660 to 589.681, and the person disturbing the other person knowingly accesses or attempts to access the address of the other person.
5. The offense of stalking in the first degree is a class E felony (a term of years not to exceed four years), or in some cases is a class D felony (a term of years not to exceed seven years).
565.227. Stalking, second degree, penalty
1. A person commits the offense of stalking in the second degree if he or she purposely, through his or her course of conduct, disturbs, or follows with the intent to disturb another person.
4. The offense of stalking in the second degree is a class A misdemeanor (a term not to exceed one year), or in other circumstances is a class E felony (a term of years not to exceed four years).
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