Welcome to the Stalking Resource Center

The mission of the Stalking Resource Center is to enhance the ability of professionals, organizations, and systems to effectively respond to stalking.

Texas

This page lists the most applicable state crimes addressing stalking. However, depending on the facts of the case, a stalker might also be charged with other crimes, such as trespassing, intimidation of a witness, breaking and entering, etc. Check your state code or consult with your local prosecutor about other charges that might apply in a particular case.

Stalking

Harassment

Related Offenses

To see the most recent legislative updates for this state, please click Stalking Legislative Updates.

Also See: Texas Civil Stalking Law


Analyzing Stalking Laws


Stalking

Tex. Penal Code § 42.072. Stalking. (2011)
(a) A person commits an offense if the person, on more than one occasion and pursuant to the same scheme or course of conduct that is directed specifically at another person, knowingly engages in conduct that:

(1) the actor knows or reasonably believes the other person will regard as threatening:

(A) bodily injury or death for the other person;

(B) bodily injury or death for a member of the other person's family or household or for an individual with whom the other person has a dating relationship; or

(C) that an offense will be committed against the other person's property;

 (2) causes the other person, a member of the other person's family or household, or an individual with whom the other person has a dating relationship to be placed in fear of bodily injury or death or fear that an offense will be committed against the other person's property; and

(3) would cause a reasonable person to fear:

(A) bodily injury or death for himself or herself;

(B) bodily injury or death for a member of the person's family or household or for an individual with whom the person has a dating relationship; or

(C) that an offense will be committed against the person's property.

(b) An offense under this section is a felony of the third degree, except that the offense is a felony of the second degree if the actor has previously been convicted of an offense under this section or of an offense under any of the following laws that contains elements that are substantially similar to the elements of an offense under this section:

 (1) the laws of another state;

 (2) the laws of a federally recognized Indian tribe;

 (3) the laws of a territory of the United States; or

 (4) federal law.

(c) For purposes of this section, a trier of fact may find that different types of conduct described by Subsection (a), if engaged in on more than one occasion, constitute conduct that is engaged in pursuant to the same scheme or course of conduct.

(d) In this section, "dating relationship," "family," "household," and "member of a household" have the meanings assigned by Chapter 71, Family Code.

SECTION 2. Chapter 13, Code of Criminal Procedure, is amended by adding Article 13.36 to read as follows:
ART. 13.36. Stalking. The offense of stalking may be prosecuted in any county in which an element of the offense occurred.

SECTION 3. Chapter 38, Code of Criminal Procedure, is amended by adding Article 38.46 to read as follows:
ART. 38.46. Evidence in prosecutions for stalking.

 (A) in a prosecution for stalking, each party may offer testimony as to all relevant facts and circumstances that would aid the trier of fact in determining whether the actor's conduct would cause a reasonable person to experience a fear described by section 42.072(A)(3)(A), (B), or (C), penal code, including the facts and circumstances surrounding any existing or previous relationship between the actor and the alleged victim, a member of the alleged victim's family or household, or an individual with whom the alleged victim has a dating relationship.

 (B) This article does not permit the presentation of character evidence that would otherwise be inadmissible under the Texas rules of evidence or other applicable law.

SECTION 4. The change in law made by this Act applies only to an offense committed on or after the effective date of this Act. An offense committed before the effective date of this Act is covered by the law in effect when the offense was committed, and the former law is continued in effect for that purpose. For purposes of this section, an offense was committed before the effective date of this Act if any element of the offense occurred before that date.

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Harassment

Tex. Penal Code § 42.07 Harassment. (2001)
(a)  A person commits an offense if, with intent to harass, annoy, alarm, abuse, torment, or embarrass another, he:

(1)  initiates communication by telephone, in writing, or by electronic communication and in the course of the communication makes a comment, request, suggestion, or proposal that is obscene;

(2)  threatens, by telephone, in writing, or by electronic communication, in a manner reasonably likely to alarm the person receiving the threat, to inflict bodily injury on the person or to commit a felony against the person, a member of his family or household, or his property;

(3)  conveys, in a manner reasonably likely to alarm the person receiving the report, a false report, which is known by the conveyor to be false, that another person has suffered death or serious bodily injury;

(4)  causes the telephone of another to ring repeatedly or makes repeated telephone communications anonymously or in a manner reasonably likely to harass, annoy, alarm, abuse, torment, embarrass, or offend another;

(5)  makes a telephone call and intentionally fails to hang up or disengage the connection;

(6)  knowingly permits a telephone under the person's control to be used by another to commit an offense under this section; or

(7)  sends repeated electronic communications in a manner reasonably likely to harass, annoy, alarm, abuse, torment, embarrass, or offend another.

 (b)  In this section:

(1)  "Electronic communication" means a transfer of signs, signals, writing, images, sounds, data, or intelligence of any nature transmitted in whole or in part by a wire, radio, electromagnetic, photoelectronic, or photo-optical system. The term includes:

(A)  a communication initiated by electronic mail, instant message, network call, or facsimile machine; and

(B)  a communication made to a pager.

(2)  "Family" and "household" have the meaning assigned by Chapter 71, Family Code. 

(3)  "Obscene" means containing a patently offensive description of or a solicitation to commit an ultimate sex act, including sexual intercourse, masturbation, cunnilingus, fellatio, or anilingus, or a description of an excretory function.

(c)  An offense under this section is a Class B misdemeanor, except that the offense is a Class A misdemeanor if the actor has previously been convicted under this section.


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Related Offenses

Tex. Penal Code § 21.15. Improper Photography or Visual Recording. (2007)
(a)  In this section, "promote" has the meaning assigned by Section 43.21.

(b)  A person commits an offense if the person:

(1)  photographs or by videotape or other electronic means records, broadcasts, or transmits a visual image of another at a location that is not a bathroom or private dressing room:

(A) without the other person's consent; and

(B) with intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person;

(2)  photographs or by videotape or other electronic means records, broadcasts, or transmits a visual image of another at a location that is a bathroom or private dressing room:

(A) without the other person's consent; and

(B) with intent to:

(i) invade the privacy of the other person; or

(ii) arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person; or

(3)  knowing the character and content of the photograph, recording, broadcast, or transmission, promotes a photograph, recording, broadcast, or transmission described by Subdivision (1) or (2).

(c)  An offense under this section is a state jail felony.

(d)  If conduct that constitutes an offense under this section also constitutes an offense under any other law, the actor may be prosecuted under this section or the other law.

(e)  For purposes of Subsection (b)(2), a sign or signs posted indicating that the person is being photographed or that a visual image of the person is being recorded, broadcast, or transmitted is not sufficient to establish the person's consent under that subdivision.

Tex. Penal Code § 33.07. Online Impersonation. (2011)
(a) A person commits an offense if the person uses the name or persona of another person to create a web page on or to post one or more messages on a commercial social networking site:

(1) without obtaining the other person's consent; and

(2) with the intent to harm, defraud, intimidate, or threaten any person.

(b) A person commits an offense if the person sends an electronic mail, instant message, text message, or similar communication that references a name, domain address, phone number, or other item of identifying information belonging to any person:

(1) without obtaining the other person's consent;

(2) with the intent to cause a recipient of the communication to reasonably believe that the other person  authorized or transmitted the communication; and

(3) with the intent to harm or defraud any person.

(c) An offense under Subsection (a) is a felony of the third degree.  An offense under Subsection (b) is a Class A misdemeanor, except that the offense is a felony of the third degree if the actor commits the offense with the intent to solicit a response by emergency personnel.

(d) If conduct that constitutes an offense under this section also constitutes an offense under any other law, the actor may be prosecuted under this section, the other law, or both.

(e) It is a defense to prosecution under this section that the actor is any of the following entities or that the actor's conduct consisted solely of action taken as an employee of any of the following entities:

(1) a commercial social networking site;

(2) an Internet service provider;

(3) an interactive computer service, as defined by 47 U.S.C. Section 230;

(4) a telecommunications provider, as defined by Section 51.002, Utilities Code; or

(5) a video service provider or cable service provider, as defined by Section 66.002, Utilities Code.

(f) In this section:

(1) "Commercial social networking site" means any business, organization, or other similar entity operating a  website that permits persons to become registered users for the purpose of establishing personal relationships with other users through direct or real-time communication with other users or the creation of web page or profiles available to the public or to other users. The term does not include an electronic mail program or a message board program.

(2) "Identifying information" has the meaning assigned by Section 32.51.

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