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Defining stalking in Tennessee

Leaving an abusive spouse takes an exceptional amount of courage on your part. Unfortunately, as many of those that we here at Runyon and Runyon have worked with can attest to, that likely does not signal the end of your ordeal. Fortunately, once you have separated from your abuser, you do have legal resources to help protect you, you children and your family members. This includes protection from stalking.  

The Annotated Code of Tennessee classifies “stalking” as any willful action (included unconsented contact) that causes you to feel threatened, intimidated, harassed or terrorized. Such an offense is normally classified as a misdemeanor. However, if any of the following conditions are met, it could be determined to be a felony:

  •          Your ex-spouse has made a credible threat of death or serious bodily injury to you, your children, and your parents or dependents.
  •          He or she is registered (or has been mandated to register) as a sex offender with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.
  •          He or she displays a deadly weapon in the course of stalking you.
  •          He or she has already been convicted of stalking you or another person within the past seven years.

If you have a protective order prohibiting him or her from contacting you in place, and he or she is found to be stalking you, such a scenario could also result in a felony charge.

Your ex-spouse may not be able to defend him or herself from stalking charges by arguing that you are just sensitive. If it is determined that his or her actions would have caused any reasonable person to feel harassed or intimidated, he or she may still be charged.

More information on protecting yourself from an abusive ex-spouse can be found here on our site.