How to File a Legal Case Against a Stalker / Harassement
First Read About Your Specific Issue to Determine Stalking versus Harassment -
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Gathering Evidence: Part 1: The Basics
The most important things when it comes to stopping stalking or harassment is:
- KEEP RECORDS OF EVERYTHING – and I mean EVERYTHING. From text messages to emails to phone calls to junk mail – save it ALL and be sure to have copies of the important stuff.
- You MUST ask your stalker to LEAVE YOU ALONE. If you opt t engage in conversation with your stalker or “play games” by doing the same to them, you have no leg to stand on. You need to clearly ask you stalker to immediately stop all forms of communication with you – then YOU MUST stop all replies. * Make sure you have record of the date / time / proof you demanded peace.
- As stated above, after demanding the stalker cease communication, you MUST stop replying to further contact; even if it is provoking, threatening or demeaning. Instead, just continue to take screenshot and record further communications
- After the stalker has continued to communicate with you and you HAVE NOT participated in responses, it is time to involve law enforcement. Make sure you have clear, easy to understand copies of all communications as well as your demand for communications to cease then follow the guides above, depending on your situation.
Key Evidence to Collect for Police
- License Plates
- Vehicle Photos
- Vehicle Descriptions: Make / Model, damage or special features
- IP addresses
- Harassment / Stalking Times and Dates
- Clear, Precise descritpions of each event; for example, when a former employee followed me to a grocery store and proceeded to literally yell threats and profanity, I immediately went to the stores Security Center and filed a written report. The Security Center then pulled the video footage for police. Had I have not went to secutiry and filed the complaint, my words word be nothing more than “hearsay” or opinion. With the combination of my complaint in wiriting matching with the footage, action was able to be taken promptly.
- Cell Phone or Computer Screen Shots of the harassment / Stalking
- Phone Records. Just showing the police your cellular phone will do nothing. Instead, print up a copy of your Phone Log and highliught the information the police need to view
- A well written summary of the “case” even if there is not yet a legal case. Be sure to inlclude all detailss: how to met this individual, what went wrong, the dates and times, places you have met, incidents that took place after, etc.
- Screen Names / Nick-Names / Aliases and Photos / Addresses / Phone Numbers – Include as much as you possibly can since the individual in question may be operating using a different name, identity or number.
- Relatives Names, Photos, Phone Numbers and Addresses. You will be amazed at how quickly someone related to the culprit would be willing to cooperate with law enforcement when they receive a phone call from a detective
- Witness Information or other victims information, even if you do not know the full information; simply provide as much as you can.
How to Provide Information to Police
My #1 suggestion is to print copies of all of the above and purchase cheap folders. Label each folder (NON EMOTIONALLY) and provide a full copy of all it all to law enforcement in the folders and retain a copy for yourself.
Keep in mind; the more organized you are, the more professional you make your “case”.
You can purchase folders online inexpensively. You can even find used "lots" of file folders on eBay for next-to-nothing in terms of price:
How to Organize LOTS of Evidence
When labeling your folders, as mentioned above, keep all emotion out of it. Do not title a folder "That B*tch Broke Into My Car!", instead label the folder "Car Break-in (date; i.e: 11-20-2013)"
If you have a lot of evidence, you will want to create an INDEX / Table of contents and "TAB" your folders. This will go a long way when helping law enforcement, judges, lawyers, detectives, etc navigate your wealth of evidence. Check out Amazon.com for huge savings on these supplies:
Fancy Versus Plain?
Keep Logs of Police Communication(s)
Be sure to get the detectives name(s) or police officers name(s) who you speak to each time and create a log of this information as well. All detectives have business cards – do not hesitate to request one.
Keep a log of dates and times you make contact or are contacted and the result of each communication. For example:
12-18-2013: Left Message for Detective John Doe at 1:11pm
12-19-2013: Detective John Doe returned phone call and stated he has contacted Facebook to obtain harassment logs. 11:15am
12-31-2013: After no contact from Detective Doe, I called him at 3:00pm to inquire about Facebook logs. He stated he obtained the logs and is reviewing them
etc. The more detailed you keep your logs, the easier it will be to move forward.
CIVIL VERSUS CRIMINAL
An important factor in the direction that your case goes is if it is "Civil" or "Criminal".
Civil cases typically involve "disputes", such as landlord/tenant disputes, divorce proceedings, child custody proceedings, property disputes, personal injury.
Criminal cases include theft, assault, robbery, trafficking in controlled substances, murder, etc.
* A Civil Case can also include criminal actions, and a criminal case can also involve a dispute.
HARASSMENT: Civil or Criminal?
"Harassment" refers to a broad number of behaviors that are subject to both criminal punishment and civil liability. On the criminal side, states have a wide variety of criminal laws forbidding harassment in many forms, including general harassment crimes as well as specific forms of harassment, such as stalking and cyberstalking.
You will want to check your state laws to determine if the actions that occurred are considered Criminal or Civil. As a general rule; most states do not consider minor "annoyances" to be criminal. However, severe "harassment" and/or "stalking" can be deemed criminal.
Harassment charges can range from misdemeanor to high level felony charges.
Should You Hire a Lawyer?
On television the police send the SWAT team to bust down doors and take action. If this is your expectation, think again.
In reality, the police will likely either call the suspect or show up at their home to speak to them. After communication with the suspect, the police then determine what avenue the case should go. In some circumstances the case may become “criminal” and the prosecutor may opt to pick it up; meaning the city/county/state will then press charges against the individual for wrong-doing. In other circumstances, the case becomes Civil; meaning the case still bears potential Criminal Charges, but instead focuses on the dispute itself.
Knowing that police will either simply telephone the suspect or possibly appear at their last know address (which clearly tells the culprit “I am taking action”), you may instead want to go directly to a lawyer and avoid police all together.
WHAT A LAWYER CAN DO FOR YOU
- A Lawyer can immediately send out (or have “served”) a Cease and Desist Letter which is a legal demand for the stalker / harasser to cease their actions
- A Layer can immediately file a case, even if it against an “unlnown person” pending investigation. Once the case is filed, subpoenas can be sent and information can be obtained which links your stalker to all of their actions
- A lawyer can get “special”, quick responses from companies that common folk cannot (because a legal case is in process)
- A Lawyer has unlimited access to preforming real, accurate background checks and other personal-information-checks on people. The information a lawyer can obtain quickly is not only accurate but also very insightful.
- A Lawyer can expedite a Restraining Order or PPO (Personal Protection Order)
Have You Been Stalked?
Lawyer and Police Alternatives
If your stalking has resulted in monetary damages and you have proof of such, you can easily file a small claims case without the need for a lawyer or police.
Check out the information below on Small Claims Cases: