Federal Stalking Laws

 

What Are the United States Statutes for Stalking?

In addition to state statutes, stalking victims should be aware of federal legislation that makes it a crime to cross a state line in order to stalk another person, a spouse or partner.

 

Note: The laws cited below were current as of May, 2013

(Search the United States Code).

 

United States Laws:

 

 

18 U.S.C. 2261A Interstate Stalking (1996; 2000; 2006; 2013)

 

Whoever-

 

  1. (1) travels in interstate or foreign commerce or is present within the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States, or enters or leaves Indian country, with the intent to kill, injure, harass, intimidate or place under surveillance with intent to kill, injure, harass, or intimidate another person, and in the course of, or as a result of, such travel or presence engages in conduct that -
    1. (A) places that person in reasonable fear of the death of, or serious bodily injury to
      1. (i) that person;
      2. (ii) an immediate family (as defined in section 115 [18 USCS ยง 115]) of that person; or
      3. (iii) a spouse or intimate partner of that person; or
    2. (B) causes, attempts to cause, or would be reasonably expected to cause substantial emotional distress to a person described in clause (i), (ii), or (iii) of subparagraph (A); or
  2. (2) with the intent to kill, injure, harass, intimidate, or place under surveillance with intent to kill, injure, harass, or intimidate another person, uses the mail, any interactive computer service, or electronic communication system of interstate commerce, or any other facility or foreign commerce to engage in a course of conduct that -
    1. (A) places that person a person in reasonable fear of the death of, or serious bodily injury to a person described in clause (i), (ii), or (iii) of paragraph (1)(A); or
    2. (B) causes, attempts to cause, or would be reasonably expected to cause substantial emotional distress to a person described in clause (i), (ii), or (iii) of paragraph (1) (A), shall be punished as provided in section 2261(b) of this title.

 

 

18 U.S.C. 2261 Interstate Domestic Violence (1994; 2000; 2006)

 

  1. (a) Offenses.
    1. (1) Travel or conduct of offender. A person who travels in interstate or foreign commerce or enters or leaves Indian country or within the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States with the intent to kill, injure, harass, or intimidate a spouse, intimate partner, or dating partner, and who, in the course of or as a result of such travel, commits or attempts to commit a crime of violence against that spouse, intimate partner, or dating partner, shall be punished as provided in subsection (b).
    2. (2) Causing travel of victim. A person who causes a spouse, intimate partner, or dating partner to travel in interstate or foreign commerce or to enter or leave Indian country by force, coercion, duress, or fraud, and who, in the course of, as a result of, or to facilitate such conduct or travel, commits or attempts to commit a crime of violence against that spouse, intimate partner, or dating partner, shall be punished as provided in subsection (b).
  2. (b) Penalties. A person who violates this section or section 2261A [18 USCS § 2261A] shall be fined under this title, imprisoned-
    1. (1) for life or any term of years, if death of the victim results;
    2. (2) for not more than 20 years if permanent disfigurement or life threatening bodily injury to the victim results;
    3. (3) for not more than 10 years, if serious bodily injury to the victim results or if the offender uses a dangerous weapon during the offense;
    4. (4) as provided for the applicable conduct under chapter 109A [18 USCS §§ 2241 et seq.] if the offense would constitute an offense under chapter 109A [18 USCS §§ 2241 et seq.] (without regard to whether the offense was committed in the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States or in a Federal prison); and
    5. (5) for not more than 5 years, in any other case, or both fined and imprisoned.
    6. (6) Whoever commits the crime of stalking in violation of a temporary or permanent civil or criminal injunction, restraining order, no-contact order, or other order described in section 2266 of title 18, United States Code, shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than 1 year.

 

 

18 U.S.C.2262 Interstate Violation of a Protective Order

 

  1. (a) Offenses.
    1. (1) Travel or conduct of offender. A person who travels in interstate or foreign commerce, or enters or leaves Indian country or within the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States, with the intent to engage in conduct that violates the portion of a protection order that prohibits or provides protection against violence, threats, or harassment against, contact or communication with, or physical proximity to, another person, or that would violate such a portion of a protection order in the jurisdiction in which the order was issued, and subsequently engages in such conduct, shall be punished as provided in subsection (b).
    2. (2) Causing travel of victim. A person who causes another person to travel in interstate or foreign commerce or to enter or leave Indian country by force, coercion, duress, or fraud, and in the course of, as a result of, or to facilitate such conduct or travel engages in conduct that violates the portion of a protection order that prohibits or provides protection against violence, threats, or harassment against, contact or communication with, or physical proximity to, another person, or that would violate such a portion of a protection order in the jurisdiction in which the order was issued, shall be punished as provided in subsection (b).
  2. (b) Penalties. A person who violates this section shall be fined under this title, imprisoned-
    1. (1) for life or any term of years, if death of the victim results;
    2. (2) for not more than 20 years if permanent disfigurement or life threatening bodily injury to the victim results;
    3. (3) for not more than 10 years, if serious bodily injury to the victim results or if the offender uses a dangerous weapon during the offense;
    4. (4) as provided for the applicable conduct under chapter 109A [18 USCS §§ 2241 et seq.] if the offense would constitute an offense under chapter 109A (without regard to whether the offense was committed in the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States or in a Federal prison); and
    5. (5) for not more than 5 years, in any other case, or both fined and imprisoned.

 

 

18 U.S.C. 875(c) Interstate Communications

(c) Whoever transmits in interstate or foreign commerce any communication containing any threat to kidnap any person or any threat to injure the person of another, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.

 

 

47 U.S.C. 223(a) Obscene or Harassing Telephone Calls in the District of Columbia or in Interstate or Foreign Communications

This statute makes it a federal crime, punishable by up to two years in prison, to use a telephone or other telecommunications device to annoy, abuse, harass or threaten another person at another number.

 

  1. (a) Prohibited acts generally Whoever -
    1. (1) in interstate or foreign communications -
      1. (A) by means of a telecommunications device knowingly -
        1. (i) makes, creates, or solicits, and
        2. (ii) initiates the transmission of, any comment, request, suggestion, proposal, image, or other communication which is obscene or child pornography, with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten, or harass another person;
      2. (B) by means of a telecommunications device knowingly -
        1. (i) makes, creates, or solicits, and
        2. (ii) initiates the transmission of, any comment, request, suggestion, proposal, image, or other communication which is obscene or child pornography, knowing that the recipient of the communication is under 18 years of age, regardless of whether the maker of such communication placed the call or initiated the communication;
      3. (C) makes a telephone call or utilizes a telecommunications device, whether or not conversation or communication ensues, without disclosing his identity and with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten, or harass any person at the called number or who receives the communications;
      4. (D) makes or causes the telephone of another repeatedly or continuously to ring, with intent to harass any person at the called number; or
      5. (E) makes repeated telephone calls or repeatedly initiates communication with a telecommunications device, during which conversation or communication ensues, solely to harass any person at the called number or who receives the communication; or
    2. (2) knowingly permits any telecommunications facility under his control to be used for any activity prohibited by paragraph (1) with the intent that it be used for such activity, shall be fined under title 18 or imprisoned not more than two years, or both.