What exactly IS considered stalking in Colorado?
Under Colorado law, the crime of stalking defined by Colorado Revised Statutes section 18-3-602 (1) and states:
A person commits stalking if directly, or indirectly through another person, the person knowingly:
- (a) Makes a credible threat to another person and, in connection with the threat, repeatedly follows, approaches, contacts, or places under surveillance that person, a member of that person’s immediate family, or someone with whom that person has or has had a continuing relationship; or
- (b) Makes a credible threat to another person and, in connection with the threat, repeatedly makes any form of communication with that person, a member of that person’s immediate family, or someone with whom that person has or has had a continuing relationship, regardless of whether a conversation ensues; or
- (c) Repeatedly follows, approaches, contacts, places under surveillance, or makes any form of communication with another person, a member of that person’s immediate family, or someone with whom that person has or has had a continuing relationship in a manner that would cause a reasonable person to suffer serious emotional distress and does cause that person, a member of that person’s immediate family, or someone with whom that person has or has had a continuing relationship to suffer serious emotional distress. For purposes of this paragraph (c), a victim need not show that he or she received professional treatment or counseling to show that he or she suffered serious emotional distress.
What is the definition of “credible threat?”
A threat, physical action, or repeated conduct that would cause a reasonable person to be in fear for the person’s safety or the safety of his or her immediate family or of someone with whom the person has or has had a continuing relationship. The threat need not be directly expressed if the totality of the conduct would cause a reasonable person such fear.
Credible threats may come in the form of phone calls, cyber-stalking via social media or email, text message, actual written letters or notes, gestures or actions – any type of communication with the intended victim.
The first offense in Colorado is a class 5 felony. It is considered an “extraordinary risk” crime and sentences can be severe. Stalking in violation of any active protection order or condition of parole or probation is a class 4 felony – including first offenses.
From the Stalking Prevention, Awareness, and Resource Center: 1 in 6 women and 1 in 17 men have experienced stalking victimation in their lifetimes. 11% of stalking victims move as a result of their victimization. 20% of stalkers use weapons to threaten or harm their victims. In 57% of the cases, the crime is commited by a current or former intimate partner. According to NCADV.org, 76% of women murdered by an intimate partner were stalked first and 85% of womoen who survived murder attempts were stalked. That’s where we come in. We have the legal resources to work with our clients to help put protective orders in place through the court system. If you are in immediate danger, call 911. This is a very serious and insidious crime with lasting impacts on the victim. Stalking victims suffer much higher rates of depression, insomnia and social dysfunction than those in the general public. At least 13% of stalking victims lose work over concerns of their safety, while 12% of victims lose time while securing protection orders or actively in court. 1 in 4 stalking victims contemplated suicide. This is not a crime you can ignore. Post-traumatic disorder is noted in 37% of stalking victims. Again – here is where we can help. Victims have access to our trauma-informed counseling serivces, provided at no cost. If you are in danger, you must act! Again, call 911 or call us to see how we can help. You are not alone!