Obsessive attention is a criminal offense that consists of unwanted, repeated behavior that is intended to threaten, frighten or intimidate. This kind of behavior often includes obsessive attention being focused on one person, a family or property.
Many cases of following somebody involve one person following another person around, making repeated phone calls, sending unwanted emails or damaging another person’s property. This often happens in the context of a romantic relationship that has ended, leaving one partner upset about the situation. Whatever the reason, these behaviors can cause criminal charges to be filed.
Penalties for Stalking in Texas
The penalties for this crime can be very serious because there is a direct link between following people and violence. Many people in Houston who experience violence at the hands of a former romantic partner were stalked before the violence escalated. According to the Texas Penal Code, legal penalties for obsessive attention can include:
- A third-degree felony conviction for a first offense, punishable by two to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000
- A second-degree felony conviction for a repeat offense, punishable by two to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000
Harassment Legal Defenses
obsessive attention cases have become more complex with the increase of cyber stalking and Internet harassment in Houston. Text messages and emails can create an incriminating picture of a person’s behavior. This means that accusations of harassment can be made even if the alleged offender was not intending to be threatening.
Because these charges can be filed based on accusations, it is possible for someone to be labeled a stalker even if sufficient evidence doesn’t exist. This creates an opportunity for a strong legal defense.
The prosecution must provide evidence to prove that the defendant engaged in intimidation or harassment with the intent to threaten someone. The defense attorney may be able to argue that the defendant may have said things out of anger that were not intended to intimidate.
For example, the defense could argue that the accuser did not actually fear for their safety when they made the accusation. This might convince the judge to reconsider whether stalking charges are appropriate.