Colorado Stalking Laws
Some attention can feel flattering, but there can be a point where it starts to feel threatening or dangerous. In those unfortunate instances, Colorado has laws intended to prevent, or at least punish, would-be stalkers.
Stalking Statutes in Colorado
In the most common understanding, stalking is the unwanted pursuit of another person, from following a person to work or showing up at a person's home to making harassing phone calls or leaving written messages or other objects. In some cases, vandalizing a person's property can fall under Colorado's harassment statute, which criminalizes most stalking actions. Many targets of stalking were once in romantic relationships with their stalkers and many stalking victims have been, or may be, victims of domestic violence as well. If you find yourself in this situation, Colorado offers protective orders that can help protect you from stalkers and domestic abusers. For obtaining protective orders in Broomfield, please contact the Broomfield Combined Courts Protection Order Clinic at 720.887.2179.
Many states have laws regarding stalking, although they can differ in terms of how they are obtained and enforced. The following outlines Colorado's anti-stalking statutes.
COLO. REV. STAT. §18-9-111: Harassment
Stalking is defined as:
A person who, directly, or indirectly through another person, knowingly:
- makes a credible threat to another person and, in connection with such threat, repeatedly follows person or person's immediate family or someone with whom that person has or has had a continuing relationship or
- makes a credible threat to another person and, in connection with such threat, repeatedly makes any form of communication with that person or person's immediate family, that would cause a reasonable person to suffer serious emotional distress and does cause that distress (18-9-111(b)) whether or not a conversation ensues or
- repeatedly follows, approaches, contacts, places under surveillance or makes any form of communication with another person or person's family
First offense is a Class 5 Felony. (18-9-111(5)(a)); if at time of first offense there is a temporary or permanent restraining order, injunction, or other court order: Class 4 Felony.
Penalty for Repeat Offense
If within 7 years of date of prior offense for which person was convicted: Class 4 Felony (18-9-111(5)(a.5)).
Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. Please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
Related Resources for Stalking Laws:
Stalking is a complicated and still-developing area of law. The foregoing has provided a general overview of stalking, but there are often criminal and domestic violence charges associated with stalking cases. You can visit FindLaw.com and view the following sections for more articles and information on this topic.
Criminal law operates differently according to what crime the state has charged a defendant with. Each crime has its own set of elements that define it, as well as defenses that may apply and factors that influence sentencing. However, while each crime is different, there are several broad types of crimes that share features and defenses. It can be useful to examine all the crimes in a category in order to understand the laws and defenses and involved. Click here to view links to statutes, with select overviews, penalty ranges, and resources on a number of crimes, including assault, theft, DUI, and drug crimes.
A topic that used to be “kept in the family” or swept under the rug, domestic violence has been more prevalent in the news and media today than ever before. As a result, a lot of people are wondering how domestic violence is legally defined, where victims can find emotional and legal help, and what can be done to prevent it in the future. Click here to view the Domestic Violence section of FindLaw’s Family Law Center. It contains information and resources for family members and intimate partners affected by domestic violence or domestic abuse.
* Portions of the information on this page was adopted from FindLaw.Com.