Stalking is about more than “bothering” someone. A stalker could put an intended victim into a state of tremendous fear. Fears might be warranted, as some stalkers could be prone to violence. Procuring a restraining order might help the situation and, in some cases, filing stalking charges under Massachusetts law. Of course, the charges and related evidence require credibility. Records notating stalking might become vital for credible accusations.
Stalking as a criminal act
Massachusetts law provides clear details of what constitutes criminal stalking. Causing emotional distress and leading someone to fear for their life may lead to a maximum sentence of five years in state prison. Phone calls, mail, and text messages reflect ways to convey stalking-related behavior. Communications-oriented evidence could appear as part of the record of domestic abuse and other cases. Again, the evidence requires credibility.
Keeping records of stalking behavior becomes necessary to provide proof in court. Claims of stalking without any evidence to back anything up might not undermine any requests for a protective order. A lack of evidence could lead to criminal charges getting dismissed. Proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt becomes difficult when unable to present compelling evidence.
Addressing possible false or exaggerated claims
Unfortunately, not all claims of stalking are valid. One party might maliciously seek to harm another and attempt to use the judicial system. Making claims of stalking and harassment without evidence may cast doubt about the accusation. Sometimes, the evidence presented could be weak, as well.
A criminal defense attorney might also poke holes in the credibility of so-called evidence. A particular text message might make someone worry about their safety, but is the worry exaggerated? While someone may claim contact is stalking, a close examination of the evidence shows the message might not rise to any level of threatening behavior. A written log of accusatory stalking behavior might not always be compelling.