What is the legal definition of stalking?
Below, we define stalking according to Colorado law. Please note that for the purposes of getting a protection order, however, you can be a victim of stalking or of any attempted act or threatened act of stalking.1 Stalking can happen in two ways.
The first definition of stalking is when someone directly, or indirectly through another person, makes a threat, physical action, or repeated conduct that causes you to be in fear for your safety or the safety of your immediate family or intimate partner. As a way of making you fearful, the stalker must do one of the following to you, your immediate family or intimate partner:
- repeatedly follow, approach, contact or put under surveillance; or
- repeatedly make any form of communication (i.e., phone calls, texts, emails). Note: it does not matter if any words are spoken or not – for example, the stalker can keep calling and hanging up.2
The second definition of stalking is when someone directly, or indirectly through another person, repeatedly follows, approaches, contacts, places under surveillance, or makes any form of communication with you, your immediate family or intimate partner that causes you, your immediate family or intimate partner to suffer serious emotional distress (pain).2
Note: “Immediate family” means your spouse, parent, grandparent, sibling, or child.3
The big difference between the two definitions is that the first one involves the stalker causing you to fear for the safety of you or your family and the second one does not. In the second one, the behavior must cause you to be seriously distressed (upset) but you don’t necessarily have to fear for your life or safety.
1 Colo. Rev. Stat. § 13-14-101(3)
2 Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-3-602(1)
3 Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-3-602(2)(c)