Stalking is a criminal offense in many states, including Colorado, and an individual convicted of this crime may face serious consequences. While many individuals think of stalking as repeatedly following or approaching someone without his or her consent, there are several other actions that may lead to stalking charges.
According to FindLaw, Colorado’s stalking laws cover several different types of harassment. Continually surveilling or following a person without consent may count as stalking. Attempting to contact someone repeatedly, or causing emotional distress through attempted communication, may also lead to a stalking charge. Various forms of communication may fall under this definition of harassment, including phone calls, letters, and text messages. An individual who credibly threatens someone else and then follows that person or a member of his or her family may get charged with stalking.
FindLaw states that a first offense conviction for stalking may be a Class 5 Felony. A subsequent conviction within seven years of the first offense may be a Class 4 Felony. Even a first offense may count as a Class 4 Felony if there was a restraining order in place when the stalking behavior occurred.
In recent years, Colorado legislators have made changes to the law in an attempt to reduce recurring crimes, including stalking and harassment. The Colorado General Assembly provides information on bill HB17-1150, which passed in 2017. This bill prohibits judges from granting bail to a defendant who has a previous conviction for stalking within the past seven years, or stalking when the victim had an existing protection order. A court may also deny bail to a defendant who breaks his or her parole conditions by engaging in stalking. Bail restrictions inflict harsher punishments on individuals who have previous felony convictions for stalking.