Statutory
Law

O.C.G.A.
§ 16-5-90(a)
provides that “[a] person commits the offense of stalking
when he or she follows, places under surveillance, or contacts another person
at or about a place or places without the consent of the other person for the
purpose of harassing and intimidating the other person.”

“Contact,” has been broadly defined as, “any communication
including without being limited to communication in person, by telephone, by
mail, by broadcast, by computer, by computer network, or by any other
electronic device; and the place or places that contact by telephone, mail,
broadcast, computer, computer network, or any other electronic device is deemed
to occur shall be the place or places where such communication is received.”
 

Furthermore, “harassing and intimidating,” is defined as, “a
knowing and willful course of conduct directed at a specific person which
causes emotional distress by placing such person in reasonable fear for such
person’s safety or the safety of a member of his or her immediate family, by
establishing a pattern of harassing and intimidating behavior, and which serves
no legitimate purpose. 

A person who commits the offense of stalking is guilty of a
misdemeanor (up to 12 months in jail and $1,000 fine or both). If convicted of
stalking a second time (or any subsequent conviction) the person will be
punished as a felony and can be sentenced to at least one year in jail and no
more than ten years in jail.

A person who commits the offense of stalking (as defined
above) in violation of a bond to keep the peace posted pursuant to Code
Section 17-6-110
, temporary restraining order,
temporary protective order, permanent restraining order, permanent protective
order, preliminary injunction, good behavior bond, or permanent injunction or
condition of pretrial release, condition of probation, or condition of parole
in effect prohibiting the behavior described in this subsection is guilty of
aggravated stalking.

Aggravated stalking is a felony punishable by imprisonment
no less than one year, but no more than ten years and a fine not greater than
$10,000.

Case
Examples

In, Wright
v. State, 292 Ga.
App. 673, 665 S.E.2d 374. (2008), the evidence in this case was insufficient to
support an aggravated stalking conviction. The defendant and the “victim” had a
lengthy on-and-off relationship. The incident in question did not involve “a
pattern of intimidating and harassing behavior that placed the woman in
reasonable fear for her safety.” OCGA § 16-5-90(a)(1).

Similarly, in Autry
v. State, 306 Ga. App. 125, 701 S.E.2d 596 (2010), the defendant was
charged with stalking. The evidence showed that he was parked in a parking lot
and watched a woman enter and then exit a store. He then followed her to
another store, where she entered and exited. He then followed her briefly, but
drove in a different direction eventually. This evidence did not suffice to
sustain a stalking prosecution. The conduct did not amount to a pattern of
harassing and intimidating behavior.

In a juvenile case, a police officer
and the juvenile had a previous run-in. The juvenile, a passenger in a pick-up,
was seen pulling into the officer’s driveway, waiting a few minutes and then
leaving. This evidence did not support a stalking conviction. In re C.C.,
280 Ga. App. 590, 634 S.E.2d 532 (2006).

In, Bradley v. State, 252 Ga.
App. 293, 556 S.E.2d 201(2001), the defendant threatened the victim and was
arrested. A restraining order was entered barring him from contacting the
victim again. Subsequently, the defendant and the victim ignored the
restraining order and contacted each other. Later, the victim called the police
and complained that the defendant was at the apartment and threatened her. The
defendant’s conviction for aggravated stalking was affirmed. The fact that the
parties ignored the restraining order for a period of time did not vitiate the
order or immunize the defendant from prosecution for violating the order. The violation
of the restraining order was a “public wrong” that may not be condoned by the
victim.

A person may commit the offense
of aggravated stalking even if the
victim is not aware of the defendant’s actions
. In this case, in violation
of the defendant’s bond order, he went to the victim’s house and looked in the
garage. The victim was not aware that he had done so. Nevertheless, this
conduct amounted to aggravated stalking. Jagat v. State, 240 Ga. App.
822, 525 S.E.2d 388 (1999).

In, Jerusheba
v. State, 226 Ga. App. 696, 487 S.E.2d 465 (1997), the defendant’s
conduct was sufficient to convict the defendant of stalking where the defendant
sent numerous letters to the victim that were lurid, detailed and graphic
descriptions of his sexual aspirations concerning the victim, with whom he had
no prior relationship of any substance (they saw each other on the bus,
occasionally).

Contact Us

If you or someone you know has been arrested for
stalking, contact the law firm of W. Scott Smith at 404.581.0999 today
for a free case evaluation. You’ll find a local Atlanta attorney
ready to aggressively fight on your behalf. You can also find out more detailed
information about Atlanta
laws here