Stalking Laws in Wisconsin

By Reddin & Singer

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Stalking cases are complicated and fraught with emotion. If you’ve been accused of stalking someone, it can feel like everyone is judging you. Like any other criminal charge, stalking is treated very seriously under Wisconsin law. This is precisely why it is imperative to consult with an experienced Milwaukee criminal defense lawyer who can carefully handle your case. At Reddin & Singer, our diligent defense lawyers will explain what a stalking charge entails and inform you of all your legal rights.

Under Wisconsin law, an individual will be liable for stalking if the prosecution proves that he or she:

  • Intentionally engaged in a course of conduct towards someone that would cause a reasonable person to suffer serious emotional distress or be scared for bodily safety or the safety of a family member;

  • Knew or should have known that the acts he or she committed would inflict distress or fear on the victim; and

  • Actually caused serious distress or fear of bodily injury or death of the alleged victim or a family member.

Some examples of actions that could constitute stalking may include watching or remaining in close proximity to another person, confronting another person, visiting the workplace of another person, contacting another person by phone, and any other attempts to reach out and get the attention of another person. The person engaging in these actions is the alleged “stalker,” while the person at whom these actions are directed is known as the “victim.”

In most instances, stalking is deemed a Class I felony in the state of Wisconsin, and the maximum penalty is three years and six months in prison and potentially a $10,000 fine. However, depending on the circumstances of the case, an individual may be charged with a Class H or a Class F felony. If convicted, you could face up to 12 years and six months in prison with fines up to $25,000.

Stalking laws can be complex, and often speech you think may be protected is not. In State v. Wisconsin, the defendant telephoned, sent text messages, and sent emails to his ex-wife stating that he would “blow his brains out” as well as other threatening messages. The defendant was charged with stalking. He claimed that the stalking laws were too broad and prohibited protected speech. The Wisconsin Court of Appeals held that the First Amendment does not protect intentional conduct that is designed to inflict “emotional distress or fear of bodily harm or death in a targeted person.” Here, the defendant knew or should have known that his conduct would have instilled fear in the victim.

If you’ve been charged with stalking, you should waste no time contacting a qualified attorney. At Reddin & Singer, our highly skilled Milwaukee felony defense lawyers will work diligently to protect your rights. There are a variety of legal strategies we can use to beat a stalking charge. We will lay out all your options, the penalties you may be facing, and what your next steps should be. If you are interested in learning more about your rights, you will be glad to know we offer free, no-obligation consultations to each prospective client. Please do not hesitate to contact us online or call us at (414) 271-6400.