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Stalking: More than coincidental meetings

You had a friend you adored. You occasionally showed up at the end of her shift to see if she wanted to hang out. Other times, you'd bump into her at the store, since you live close together. You never meant any harm, and since you were both friendly to each other, you assumed everything was fine even when she'd tell you she didn't want to go somewhere with you or just wanted to go home.

It's not hard to imagine the shock you suffered when you found out you were being accused of stalking her. Instead of asking you not to visit at her job or taking the accidental meetings in local stores as a coincidence, she's convinced you are following her and won't leave her alone.

Stalking charges are serious, so it is necessary to defend yourself even though this is a misunderstanding. Most states define stalking as intentionally following, threatening or harassing a person, and if your "friend" has evidence that you've bumped into each other a significant amount of times, you could face fairly strong evidence against your claims of innocence.

What happens when you're accused of stalking?

If you're accused of stalking, the other party might obtain a protective order. This order prevents you from being within a certain distance of the individual for a certain amount of time. For example, the protective order might state that you may not be within 300 feet of the person at any time for the next month. If you violate that order, even accidentally, you could face penalties such as jail time or fines.

When is stalking normally seen?

Stalking claims are normally seen after domestic violence takes place, so your situation is a little unusual. Unless the police and prosecution have evidence that you were harassing the other person and threatening her, it's fairly unlikely that you'll be seen as a stalker, but it's still a good idea to defend yourself.

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