What can I do if My Ex-Husband is Stalking Me in North Carolina?
After ending a marriage, most people just want to move on with their lives. Unfortunately, some individuals across North Carolina are unable to do this because they are being stalked by their former spouses. Stalking is a serious crime in North Carolina, and it can dramatically impact the way you live your life. Whether you are walking home at night from work in Charlotte or you are taking your kids to school, stalking can be an extremely distressing experience.
Fortunately, you can take advantage of plenty of legal options and address this issue head-on. No one should have to suffer from the interference of a stalker, especially if that person is a former spouse who you do not want in your life anymore. With a qualified attorney by your side, you can make sure that your ex-husband gets the message and stops stalking you. When you fight for your rights in a court of law, you can get on with your life in Charlotte.The Definition of Stalking in North Carolina
When people think about the concept of “stalking,” they might imagine being followed as they walk down a dark alleyway, with a trench coat-wearing individual staying just out of sight in shadowy corners. However, North Carolina defines stalking in much more broad terms, and you might be surprised when you learn exactly what constitutes stalking in the Tar Heel State.
A person may be guilty of stalking if they do any of the following:
- Two or more acts including following, surveilling, or communicating with a person (even through a third party)
- Harassing someone through the use of a telephone
- Intentionally harassing another person without legal or “legitimate” purpose
The legal definition of stalking goes on to state that these acts can cause the following:
- Significant mental distress
- Fear for one’s safety
- Fear for one’s loved ones or family members
As you can see, the definition of stalking is very broad in the state of North Carolina. This is intentional, as it allows you to seek legal action if you’re dealing with a wide range of potential issues. These include the following:
- Your ex-husband driving by your home repeatedly
- Leaving you disturbing messages on your answering machine/voicemail
- Contacting or threatening your friends or co-workers
- Damaging your property (or threatening to do so)
- Hurting or threatening your pets
- Meeting you unexpectedly by what they claim is a coincidence
If you think stalking is limited to someone following you down a street at night, you are mistaken. Authorities in North Carolina take stalking very seriously, and they will strive to protect you against this criminal act in € its forms.Cyberstalking
North Carolina also recognizes that technology has advanced to the point where stalking can take place in a purely digital environment. Because of this, the state has created legislation for an entirely different crime called cyberstalking.
Like the crime of stalking, the definition of cyberstalking is intentionally broad so that it encompasses a range of different potential issues:
- Using any type of threatening language through electronic communications
- Repeatedly attempting to contact someone through electronic communications
- Intentionally abusing, embarrassing, annoying, or terrifying someone through electronic communications
- Making false statements about deaths, injuries, or other criminal acts through electronic communications
- Installing or using tracking devices to monitor someone’s location or activities
If you can prove that you are the victim of stalking, your ex-husband will most likely face serious legal consequences. The first time someone commits the crime of stalking, they will be charged with a Class A1 misdemeanor. If the message still does not get through and they continue stalking you, they may face felony charges. Cyberstalking is a Class 2 misdemeanor. If a court order is in effect (such as a protective order), your ex-husband faces an automatic felony.Getting a Protective Order
One of the best ways to combat a stalker in North Carolina is a protective order. Also known as a restraining order or a “50B” order, this is a court order that will legally prevent your ex-husband from contacting you. If they break this order, they face especially serious legal consequences.
Although getting a protective order is relatively easy, you will need to prove to the court that you are indeed the victim of stalking. This is when it becomes useful to get help from a qualified attorney. Aside from this process, getting approved for a protective order should be a straightforward process that is handled by the local counties Clerk of Superior Court and the county Sheriff’s Office.Finding a Qualified Attorney
If you are ready to move on with your life and stop stalkers from causing you unnecessary distress and emotional pain, it is time to get legal help today. Reach out to Arnold & Smith, PLLC today at one of our offices in Charlotte, Monroe or Mooresville and we will get you the legal protection you need.