Being accused of a crime can be extremely upsetting, especially when what someone believed was acceptable behavior is labeled as dangerous. In Washington, this is often the case when it comes to allegations of stalking. Here are some of the reasons why a defendant might be facing a stalking charge.

Stalking is a pattern of behaviors by an alleged offender who threatens, harasses or follows another person. This behavior usually causes the other person to be worried about his or her safety. This means that someone cannot be charged with stalking for showing up at an ex’s place of work on only one occasion.

An example of stalking could include repeatedly showing up to an ex’s workplace or following him or her home afterward. An alleged offender does not have to be physically present for behavior to be considered stalking, either. Calling someone in the middle of the night or sending threatening text messages are also considered stalking when they are part of that repeated pattern of behavior. A defendant does not have to have a relationship with the alleged victim, either.

When one is accused of stalking, a judge might also issue a restraining order. These orders can sometimes interfere with a defendant’s ability to go about his or her daily life, and the reality of facing a criminal charge for stalking can also be emotionally overwhelming. For those who are concerned about minimizing possible legal consequences related to their charges, it can be helpful to speak with an experienced attorney who is familiar with Washington state law.