When you care about someone or worry about their safety, you may want to know where they are and what they do with their time. Sometimes, that concern will persist even after a relationship ends or develop before a close relationship with the other person.
While some people may find that much attention flattering, others may find it intimidating or even frightening. Keeping close tabs on someone or trying to orchestrate accidental encounters by being where you know they will be may seem harmless to you, but it may feel like stalking to them. Things you do in person could easily lead to stalking charges under Colorado law. Could your online activity also result in criminal charges?
Certain online conduct may meet criteria for criminal charges
Colorado has a somewhat broad definition of stalking. Any actions that the other person perceives as a credible threat that occurs more than once could potentially lead to stalking allegations. For example, sending someone a message letting them know that you have watched them or saw them someplace in public may seem innocuous to you, but it might seem like a threat to them.
Additionally, it’s possible that the comments are you make or the messages you send might come across as threats. Even jokes, videos and memes posted to your own timeline on social media could seem like a threat to someone who has misinterpreted previous messages from you.
Provided that the other person can convince the police that you have engaged in the same behavior more than once and it makes them fear for their safety, you could face felony stalking charges.
How does Colorado handle stalking charges?
A conviction for a stalking offense will lead to significant penalties. As a felony, stalking carries serious penalties. A first offense can lead to between one and three years in prison followed by one year of mandatory parole and the loss of the right to possess or own firearms. The possible fines range from $1,000 to $100,000. However, that’s far from the worst-case scenario.
Developing a robust defense is important for your protection if you find yourself facing allegations stalking or similar domestic violence charges in Colorado.