How to Tell if You’re Being Stalked

May 8, 2017 · by RLF Attorneys · in

Photo courtesy Patrik Nygren via Flickr.

Being stalked is a frightening and often traumatizing experience. The first step to getting help is to recognize the signs of stalking as early as possible. Despite what Hollywood and TV would have you believe, stalkers aren’t always weird or socially inept. In fact, they can appear very normal on the surface.
New Jersey defines stalking as “purposeful conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear bodily injury or death to himself or family member.” This is a broad definition that can apply in a lot of scenarios. Here are four traits and behaviors that are common among stalkers.
Intensity. No matter how they appear on the surface in day-to-day behavior, stalkers are intense people. One example is that they often make strong eye contact, which may even feel predatory in extreme cases. It’s also common for stalkers to try to convince you that you have a strong emotional connection, regardless of how you genuinely feel about them.
Details. The intense focus of a stalker can lead them to research as much information about you as possible. This goes far beyond the usual Google search and can include talking to friends, family members, and neighbors without your knowledge or consent. In conversation, you may notice that the stalker knows a lot of unusual specifics about your life, daily routine, and even your past. Likewise, they may ask you questions that feel invasive, zeroing in on seemingly innocuous details such as where you were at a specific time.
Unannounced visits. This is the behavior that gets the most attention in the media as well as in fictional portrayals of stalking. Stalkers do not respect your personal boundaries or privacy and will drop by your home, work, or anywhere else they believe they might be able to find you. They will do this even if you’ve mentioned that you’ve made other plans or are not interested in company.
Aggression. Not every stalker resorts to violence right away. However, when angered, stalkers often behave in an aggressive manner. This can include holding your hand or arm in a controlling manner or simply standing near you in a way that feels like they are trying to prevent your escape. When there are violent outbursts, they are commonly triggered by things that undermine the stalker’s sense of control over you.
It should be noted that the above behaviors are generalizations based on common scenarios and may not always be obvious at first.
Stalking is a fourth-degree crime that is punishable by 18 months in prison and up to $10,000 in fines. A second conviction of stalking the same person is a third-degree crime, which can lead to three to five years in prison and up to $15,000 in fines. A conviction for stalking is also grounds for an application for a restraining order. A person who has a restraining order against them and is convicted of stalking – even if it is not the same person who filed the order – can be charged with a third-degree crime. If it is the same person who filed the order, then the offender will likely be charged with violating a restraining order on top of third-degree stalking.
If you or a loved one would like to file a restraining order, have been charged with violating a restraining order, or wishes to have a restraining order against you removed, contact an attorney to protect yourself and your legal rights. The lawyers of the Rosenblum Law Firm are prominent criminal defense attorneys that have handled numerous cases involving restraining orders in New Jersey. Email the Rosenblum Law Firm or call 888-815-3649 for a free consultation about your case today.