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Roger
Roger, Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
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can a person be charged with stalking if there was mutual contact

Customer Question

can a person be charged with stalking if there was mutual contact just prior to charges being filed and if not what would be the case law ?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Roger replied 5 years ago.

Hi - my name is Kirk and I'm a Criminal Law litigation attorney here to assist you.

 

The legal definition of Stalking is found in SC Code Ann. § 16-3-1700

 

(C) "Stalking" means a pattern of words, whether verbal, written, or electronic, or a pattern of conduct that serves no legitimate purpose and is intended to cause and does cause a targeted person and would cause a reasonable person in the targeted person's position to fear:

 

(1) death of the person or a member of his family;

(2) assault upon the person or a member of his family;

(3) bodily injury to the person or a member of his family;

(4) criminal sexual contact on the person or a member of his family;

(5) kidnapping of the person or a member of his family; or

(6) damage to the property of the person or a member of his family.

 

Thus, it is not a defense that there was previous mutual contact before. However, it is required that the person prove one of these 6 elements to sustain a charge of stalking.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
as a retired police officer I have this information, doesn't mutual contact negate any fears of the targeted person? and is there any case law pertaining to this ?
Expert:  Roger replied 5 years ago.

No, because the fear could have been a result of the mutual contact.

 

The only two cited cases in the annotations to the statute state:

 

Defendant's conviction for aggravated stalking under S.C. Code Ann. § 16-3-1700(C) was upheld. The requisite act of violence to support defendant's conviction encompassed acts against property as well as against persons. State v. Prince, 335 S.C. 466, 517 S.E.2d 229, 1999 S.C. App. LEXIS 61 (S.C. Ct. App. 1999).

2. Defendant's conviction for aggravated stalking, under S.C. Code Ann. § 16-3-1700(C) was upheld. A pattern of conduct causing fear of "damage to the property of the person" was sufficient to support a stalking charge under the statute. State v. Prince, 335 S.C. 466, 517 S.E.2d 229, 1999 S.C. App. LEXIS 61 (S.C. Ct. App. 1999).

 

I don't see anything that exculpates one from being charged with stalking because of a previous mutual consent to contact.