In Massachusetts, domestic violence is taken seriously by the court system. Stalking is a component of domestic violence that is, often, punishable by time in jail, fines or probation. The act is typically comprised of actions that are unwanted by another person or by making threats against another person in order to instill fear. Any written contact through the mail, phone calls, emails, or other types of communication can be considered stalking. Text messages can also be considered stalking.
There are various penalties if one is convicted of stalking or domestic violence. The court will usually examine the person’s criminal background to see if there are other convictions before making a decision regarding the current charges. Stalking is punishable by a jail sentence of no longer than five years and fines that are no more than $1,000.
With the assistance of an attorney, the defendant might be placed on probation instead of being sentenced to jail. After being issued a protective order due to stalking and the person violates that order, then the court could suspend the original sentence given and order that the defendant spend the initial amount of time ordered in jail. Most of the time, the sentence for violating an order is at least one year in jail.
If a person makes the decision to send repeated text messages and email messages to another person after a relationship, the person may be charged with stalking after being told to stop sending the messages. An attorney can review the messages sent to determine if stalking occurred. While in court, the attorney can offer information about the details of the incident and whether the defendant intentionally sent the messages to instill fear in the victim.