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Delaware

Local Resources

Stalking often occurs along with other crimes, like domestic violence and sexual assault. While there are no state coalitions for victims of stalking, many domestic violence and sexual assault programs are able to provide assistance. Many of the resources can be confusing to navigate, victim advocates are available to talk to you about and your states criminal stalking laws. Victim advocates can also assist you with safety planning, keeping a log of stalking incidents, and how to be safe when using technology. Find services and/or an advocate in your county using the following links:

Criminal Stalking Laws

Criminal stalking laws define when a perpetrator may be charged with the crime of stalking, and what infractions are required to bring such a charge. The laws usually define various misdemeanor and felony offenses that correlate with the severity of the transgression. Based on police investigation, a state prosecutor will determine what charges to bring against an offender, and will then file charges against the perpetrator (formally known as an indictment). A trial typically follows, and the defendant may be offered a plea agreement. The criminal statute will also delineate potential punishments, if the perpetrator is convicted, which may include probation, house arrest, and incarceration, among others. Restitution may be requested and awarded to the victim by court order following a conviction, usually at a sentencing hearing.

Click here for more information on criminal stalking laws in Delaware.

National Resources

  • VictimConnect Resource Center - Confidential information, support and referrals for victims of crime via telephone, chat and text including safety planning and crime reporting.
  • WomensLaw.org - State-specific legal information related regarding protection orders, custody, divorce, state gun laws and more. WomensLaw.org also operates an email hotline where victims, their family/friends and advocates can write to ask legal questions.

Criminal Stalking Laws

11 Del. C. § 1312. Stalking; class G felony, class F felony, class C felony. (2008)
(a) A person is guilty of stalking when the person knowingly engages in a course of conduct directed at a specific person and that conduct would cause a reasonable person to:

(1) Fear physical injury to himself or herself or that of another person; or

(2) Suffer other significant mental anguish or distress that may, but does not necessarily, require medical or other professional treatment or counseling.

(b) A violation of subsection (a) of this section is a class G felony.

(c) Stalking is a class F felony if a person is guilty of stalking and 1 or more of the following exists:

(1) The person is age 21 or older and the victim is under the age of 14; or

(2) The person violated any order prohibiting contact with the victim; or

(3) The victim is age 62 years of age or older; or

(4) The course of conduct includes a threat of death or threat of serious physical injury to the victim, or to another person; or

(5) The person causes physical injury to the victim.

(d) Stalking is a class C felony if the person is guilty of stalking and 1 or more of the following exists:

(1) The person possesses a deadly weapon during any act; or

(2) The person causes serious physical injury to the victim.

(e) Definitions. -- The following terms shall have the following meaning as used in this section:

(1) "Course of conduct" means 3 or more separate incidents, including, but not limited to, acts in which the person directly, indirectly, or through third parties, by any action, method, device, or means, follows, monitors, observes, surveys, threatens, or communicates to or about another, or interferes with, jeopardizes, damages, or disrupts another's daily activities, property, employment, business, career, education, or medical care. A conviction is not required for any predicate act relied upon to establish a course of conduct. A conviction for any predicate act relied upon to establish a course of conduct does not preclude prosecution under this section. Prosecution under this section does not preclude prosecution under any other section of the Code.

(2) "A reasonable person" means a reasonable person in the victim's circumstances.

(f) Notwithstanding any contrary provision of § 4205 of this title, any person who commits the crime of stalking by engaging in a course of conduct which includes any act or acts which have previously been prohibited by a then-existing court order or sentence shall receive a minimum sentence of 6 months incarceration at Level V. The first 6 months of said period of incarceration shall not be subject to suspension.

(g) Notwithstanding any contrary provision of § 4205 of this title, any person who is convicted of stalking within 5 years of a prior conviction of stalking shall receive a minimum sentence of 1 year incarceration at Level V. The first year of said period of incarceration shall not be subject to suspension.

(h) In any prosecution under this law, it shall not be a defense that the perpetrator was not given actual notice that the course of conduct was unwanted; or that the perpetrator did not intend to cause the victim fear or other emotional distress.

(i) In any prosecution under this section, it is an affirmative defense that the person charged was engaged in lawful picketing.

(j) This section shall not apply to conduct which occurs in furtherance of legitimate activities of law-enforcement, private investigators, security officers or private detectives as those activities are defined in Chapter 13 of Title 24.

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