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Understanding stalking laws in South Carolina

South Carolina law acknowledges that there is a fine line between giving extra attention to and stalking someone. The law generally defines stalking as any activity that could cause fear of death or assault. Stalking may also occur when a pattern of activity causes fear of damage to that individual's property or to a family member's property. A person may be charged with aggravated stalking if violence occurs along with other activities that rise to the level of stalking.

Penalties vary based on the severity of the charge. Those who have a misdemeanor stalking charge could face a fine of up to $1,000 and up to one year in prison. Those who face a felony charge could face a fine of up to $5,000 and up to five years in prison. If a person engages in felony stalking while under a court order, the penalties could include fines of up to $10,000 and seven years in prison.

If a person violates a restraining order, authorities may be allowed to take a person into custody without a warrant. Those who are convicted of multiple stalking charges within seven years could face fines of up to $5,000 and five years in prison. Repeat aggravated stalking offenders could be sent to prison for up to 15 years and fined up to $10,000.

Individuals who are facing allegations of felonies like stalking may benefit from talking with a criminal defense attorney. A legal professional might create one or more defenses to the charge. For instance, it may be possible to assert that a defendant did not engage in a pattern of activity that could be seen as stalking. It may also be possible to claim that repeated contact was necessary for work or other legitimate purposes.

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