Legal Information: District of Columbia

Restraining Orders

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Updated: 
August 31, 2021

What is the legal definition of stalking in D.C.?

This section defines stalking for the purposes of getting an anti-stalking order (ASO).

In Washington, D.C., stalking is when:

  1. someone commits any of the following acts against you more than one time, known as a “course of conduct”:
  • follows you, monitors you, places you under surveillance, threatens you, or communicates to or about you;
  • interferes with, damages, or takes your property, or damages or enters your home illegally; or
  • uses your personal identifying information;1 and
  1. one of the following must be true:
  • The stalker must intend to cause you to:
    • fear for your safety or the safety of another person;
    • feel seriously alarmed, disturbed, or frightened; or
    • suffer emotional distress; or
  • The stalker must know that the course of conduct would reasonably cause you to:
    • fear for your safety or the safety of another person;
    • feel seriously alarmed, disturbed, or frightened; or
    • suffer emotional distress; or
  • The stalker should know that the course of conduct would cause a reasonable person in your circumstances to:
    • fear for his/her safety or the safety of another person;
    • feel seriously alarmed, disturbed, or frightened; or
    • suffer emotional distress.2

Note: At least one instance of the course of conduct must have occurred within 90 days before filing for an anti-stalking order.3 If conduct is ongoing, then each 24-hour period is considered a separate incident.4

1 D.C. Code § 22-3132(8)
2 D.C. Code § 22-3133(a)
3 D.C. Code § 16-1062(a)
4 D.C. Code § 22-3133(c)

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