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District of Columbia Stalking Laws

Although stalking has only relatively recently been characterized as a criminal offense within the U.S., all 50 states now have some type of anti-stalking law on the books. These laws make it a crime to intentionally and repeatedly follow someone for the purpose of harassing that person with threats of violence.

Celebrities often invoke stalking laws, as do former spouses or partners, along with the use of protective orders. While we often associate stalking with unwanted contact or communication that occurs in-person, stalking can also occur over a variety of other mediums, including: the telephone, mail, email, internet messaging, and social networks.

D.C. Stalking Laws

In D.C., stalking can be a misdemeanor or felony depending on the nature and frequency of the action. In some instances, the District will issue a restraining order upon conviction.

Learn more about D.C.'s stalking laws in the following table. See Stalking in FindLaw's criminal charges section for additional details.

Code Section D.C. Code § 22-3131. et seq.
Stalking Definition Intent to cause emotional distress or place in reasonable fear of death or bodily injury by repeated following or harassing; or willfully or maliciously and repeatedly follows or harasses.
Punishment Fined maximum $100 and/or imprisonment maximum 12 months. If court order pending: must give bond for maximum one (1) year.
Enhanced Penalties

Fined not more than $10,000, imprisoned for not more than five (5) years, or both, if the person:

  1. At the time, was subject to a court, parole, or supervised release order prohibiting contact with the specific individual;
  2. Has one (1) prior conviction in any jurisdiction of stalking any person within the previous 10 years;
  3. At the time, was at least four (4) years older than the specific individual and the specific individual was less than 18 years of age; or
  4. Caused more than $ 2,500 in financial injury.
Repeat Offenses Fined not more than $25,000, imprisoned for not more than 10 years, or both, if the person has two (2) or more prior convictions in any jurisdiction for stalking any person, at lease one (1) of which was for a jury demandable offense.
Constitutionally Protected Activities Exempted? Yes

Note: State laws are constantly changing -- contact a D.C. domestic violence attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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D.C. Stalking Laws: Related Resources

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