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Iowa Stalking Laws

Who hasn't felt a flattered and a little excited by the extra attention we get at the start of a new relationship? Unfortunately, this can all too often turn into receiving unwelcome contact after a relationship has ended, sometimes  to the point that it feels dangerous or threatening. Fortunately, the Hawkeye State has laws designed to prevent and punish stalking. This is an introduction to stalking laws in Iowa.

Stalking Statutes in Iowa

States can devise and enforce their stalking laws differently, and statutes can vary in terms of what behavior they prohibit and how they are obtained and enforced. The chart below lists the details of Iowa's anti-stalking statutes.

Code Section

Iowa Code 708.11: Stalking

Stalking Defined as

Purposefully engages in course of conduct that would cause reasonable person to fear bodily injury or death to himself or immediate family; perpetrator knows or should have known that person would be fearful and course of conduct actually induces fear.


Aggravated misdemeanor for first offense; Class D felony if stalking in violation of protective order or with dangerous weapon or stalks a person under 18 years

Penalty for Repeat Offense

Class D felony for 2nd offense. Class C felony for 3rd or subsequent offense

Arrest or Restraining Order Specifically Authorized by Statute?

Upon filing and a finding of probable cause or after filing of indictment, court shall issue an arrest warrant

Constitutionally Protected Activities Exempted?


Preventing and Punishing Stalking

As most of us understand it, stalking is the unwanted pursuit, whether romantic or otherwise, of another person. Iowa's stalking statute defines it as purposefully causing another person to fear bodily injury or death, to his- or herself or a family member. This behavior can include anything from following a person to work or appearing up at a person's home to harassing phone calls or vandalizing a person's property.

If you or someone you know is the victim of stalking or domestic abuse, Iowa courts have protective orders that can be issued to help prevent further harassment or abuse. While many stalking victims were romantically involved previously with their stalkers or may have been victims of domestic violence, a previous relationship or violence is not a requirement to obtaining a protective order.

Iowa Stalking Laws: Related Resources

Stalking is a frightening and potentially confusing experience. You can find additional articles and resources in FindLaw's sections on Criminal Charges and Domestic Violence. You can also consult with an Iowa criminal law attorney in your area if you would like legal advice regarding filing a protective order or a possible stalking issue.

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