Overview of Alabama Stalking Laws

In 2012, Tracy’s Law was codified in the Alabama Criminal Code that gave definition to new stalking laws. Named after a Huntsville nurse who was murdered by her boyfriend in 1999, the new statutes designate certain behaviors that were previously deemed as merely annoying or intrusive as stalking crimes. Whereas before there was simply stalking and aggravated stalking crimes, there are now separate tiers of each of those classifications. 

First-Degree Stalking 

Stalking in the first-degree, which carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison, is defined as constantly harassing or following someone while making explicit or implicit threats to physically harm that person. The threats will put the victim in “reasonable fear of death or serious bodily harm.” Along with a prison sentence of 1-10 years, those who are convicted of first-degree stalking (a Class C Felony) can also carry a fine of up to $15,000. 

This crime can be bumped up to Aggravated Stalking in the First Degree if the stalking was committed while under a protective order, such as a restraining order. Penalties for that, a Class B Felony, can include a 2-20 year prison sentence and a fine not to exceed $30,000. 

Second-Degree Stalking

The charges of second-degree stalking were added with the passage of Tracy’s Law. Second-degree stalking, a Class B Misdemeanor, occurs when someone “with an improper purpose” repeatedly follows, harasses, or tries to initiate communication with someone who has previously asked for the stalker to stop, and who causes the victim to fear for his or her working livelihood and suffer emotional or mental harm. Aggravated Stalking in the Second Degree occurs when someone commits second-degree stalking while under a protective order. 

Prison sentences for second-degree stalking include no more than six months in jail with a fine not to exceed $3,000. Penalties for aggravated second-degree stalking are the same as penalties for first-degree stalking, as the two crimes are Class C Felonies. 

An Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help

Stalking is an extremely serious crime that can land you in prison for decades. It is an important tool for women (and some men) to protect themselves against an abusive ex. However, sometimes stalking accusations are used for nefarious purposes between former romantic partners for a myriad of reasons. 

If you have been charged with stalking in any degree, you need to enlist the help of a criminal defense attorney familiar with Alabama laws and criminal statutes. John M. Totten can help you form your defense and be a zealous advocate for you in court. You may get in touch here or call at (256) 233-2025.

John M. Totten