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Georgia

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 protection orders, 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:

Protection Orders

A protective order is a legal order issued by a state court that requires one person to stop harming and/or contacting another. Each state may have several types of protective orders: civil protective orders, criminal protective orders, or restraining orders, and they may have different names (for example, in Pennsylvania, there are “protection from abuse” orders). Some protective orders are specific to domestic and interfamilial violence, while others are broader, covering stalking, harassment, sexual assault, and other types of misconduct. An individual can get a protection order when the perpetrator is proven to have acted with intent to cause the victim emotional distress or fear for his/her safety, even when the perpetrator has not been charged or convicted. They permit the victim to call the police to have the abuser arrested if the abuser violates any part of the order.

Click here for more information on protection orders in Georgia.

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 Georgia.

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.

Protection Orders

§16-5-94.  Restraining Orders; Protective Orders 

(a) A person who is not a minor who alleges stalking by another person may seek a restraining order by filing a petition alleging conduct constituting stalking as defined in Code Section 16-5-90. A person who is not a minor may also seek relief on behalf of a minor by filing such a petition.

(b) Jurisdiction for such a petition shall be the same as for family violence petitions as set out in Code Section 19-13-2.

(c) Upon the filing of a verified petition in which the petitioner alleges with specific facts that probable cause exists to establish that stalking by the respondent has occurred in the past and may occur in the future, the court may order such temporary relief ex parte as it deems necessary to protect the petitioner or a minor of the household from stalking. If the court issues an ex parte order, a copy of the order shall be immediately furnished to the petitioner.

(d) The court may grant a protective order or approve a consent agreement to bring about a cessation of conduct constituting stalking. Orders or agreements may:

(1) Direct a party to refrain from such conduct;

(2) Order a party to refrain from harassing or interfering with the other;

(3) Award costs and attorney's fees to either party; and

(4) Order either or all parties to receive appropriate psychiatric or psychological services as a further measure to prevent the recurrence of stalking.

(e) The provisions of subsections (c) and (d) of Code Section 19-13-3, subsections (b), (c), and (d) of Code Section 19-13-4, and Code Section 19-13-5, relating to family violence petitions, shall apply to petitions filed pursuant to this Code section, except that the clerk of court may provide forms for petitions and pleadings to persons alleging conduct constituting stalking and to any other person designated by the superior court pursuant to this Code section as authorized to advise persons alleging conduct constituting stalking on filling out and filing such petitions and pleadings.

 

§ 16-5-95 Offense of Violating Family Violence Order; Penalty 

(a) A person commits the offense of violating a family violence order when the person knowingly and in a nonviolent manner violates the terms of a family violence temporary restraining order, temporary protective order, permanent restraining order, or permanent protective order issued against that person pursuant to Article 1 of Chapter 13 of Title 19, which:

(1) Excludes, evicts, or excludes and evicts the person from a residence or household;

(2) Directs the person to stay away from a residence, workplace, or school;

(3) Restrains the person from approaching within a specified distance of another person; or

(4) Restricts the person from having any contact, direct or indirect, by telephone, pager, facsimile, e-mail, or any other means of communication with another person, except as specified in the order.

(b) Any person convicted of a violation of subsection (a) of this Code section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor. 

(c) Nothing contained in this Code section shall prohibit a prosecution for the offense of stalking or aggravated stalking that arose out of the same course of conduct; provided, however, that, for purposes of sentencing, a violation of this Code section shall be merged with a violation of any provision of Code Section 16-5-90 or 16-5-91 that arose out of the same course of conduct.

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Criminal Stalking Laws

O.C.G.A. § 16-5-90 Stalking; psychological evaluation. (2000)
(a)

(1) A person commits the offense of stalking when he or she follows, places under surveillance, or contacts another person at or about a place or places without the consent of the other person for the purpose of harassing and intimidating the other person. For the purpose of this article, the terms "computer" and "computer network" shall have the same meanings as set out in Code Section 16-9-92; the term "contact" shall mean any communication including without being limited to communication in person, by telephone, by mail, by broadcast, by computer, by computer network, or by any other electronic device; and the place or places that contact by telephone, mail, broadcast, computer, computer network, or any other electronic device is deemed to occur shall be the place or places where such communication is received. For the purpose of this article, the term "place or places" shall include any public or private property occupied by the victim other than the residence of the defendant. For the purposes of this article, the term "harassing and intimidating" means a knowing and willful course of conduct directed at a specific person which causes emotional distress by placing such person in reasonable fear for such person's safety or the safety of a member of his or her immediate family, by establishing a pattern of harassing and intimidating behavior, and which serves no legitimate purpose. This Code section shall not be construed to require that an overt threat of death or bodily injury has been made.

(2) A person commits the offense of stalking when such person, in violation of a bond to keep the peace posted pursuant to Code Section 17-6-110, standing order issued under Code Section 19-1-1, temporary restraining order, temporary protective order, permanent restraining order, permanent protective order, preliminary injunction, or permanent injunction or condition of pretrial release, condition of probation, or condition of parole in effect prohibiting the harassment or intimidation of another person, broadcasts or publishes, including electronic publication, the picture, name, address, or phone number of a person for whose benefit the bond, order, or condition was made and without such person's consent in such a manner that causes other persons to harass or intimidate such person and the person making the broadcast or publication knew or had reason to believe that such broadcast or publication would cause such person to be harassed or intimidated by others.

(b) Except as provided in subsection (c) of this Code section, a person who commits the offense of stalking is guilty of a misdemeanor.

(c) Upon the second conviction, and all subsequent convictions, for stalking, the defendant shall be guilty of a felony and shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than one year nor more than ten years.

(d) Before sentencing a defendant for any conviction of stalking under this Code section or aggravated stalking under Code Section 16-5-91, the sentencing judge may require psychological evaluation of the offender and shall consider the entire criminal record of the offender. At the time of sentencing, the judge is authorized to issue a permanent restraining order against the offender to protect the person stalked and the members of such person's immediate family, and the judge is authorized to require psychological treatment of the offender as a part of the sentence, or as a condition for suspension or stay of sentence, or for probation.

O.C.G.A. § 16-5-91. Aggravated stalking. (2002)
(a) A person commits the offense of aggravated stalking when such person, in violation of a bond to keep the peace posted pursuant to Code Section 17-6-110, temporary restraining order, temporary protective order, permanent restraining order, permanent protective order, preliminary injunction, good behavior bond, or permanent injunction or condition of pretrial release, condition of probation, or condition of parole in effect prohibiting the behavior described in this subsection, follows, places under surveillance, or contacts another person at or about a place or places without the consent of the other person for the purpose of harassing and intimidating the other person.

(b) Any person convicted of a violation of subsection (a) of this Code section shall be guilty of a felony and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than one nor more than ten years and by a fine of not more than $10,000.00. The provisions of subsection (d) of Code Section 16-5-90 apply to sentencing for conviction of aggravated stalking.

O.C.G.A. § 16-5-92. Applicability. (1993)
The provisions of Code Sections 16-5-90 and 16-5-91 shall not apply to persons engaged in activities protected by the Constitution of the United States or of this state or to persons or employees of such persons lawfully engaged in bona fide business activity or lawfully engaged in the practice of a profession.

O.C.G.A. § 16-5-93. Right of victim to notification of release or escape of stalker. (1997)
(a) The victim of stalking or aggravated stalking shall be entitled to notice of the release from custody of the person arrested for and charged with the offense of stalking or aggravated stalking and to notice of any hearing on the issue of bail for such person. No such notice shall be required unless the victim provides a landline telephone number other than a pocket pager or electronic communication device number to which such notice can be directed.

(b) The law enforcement agency, prosecutor, or court directly involved with the victim at the outset of a criminal prosecution for the offense of stalking or aggravated stalking shall advise the victim of his or her right to notice and of the requirement of the victim's providing a landline telephone number other than a pocket pager or electronic communication device number to which the notice of custodial release or bail hearing can be directed. Such victim shall transmit the telephone number described in this subsection to the court and custodian of the person charged with stalking or aggravated stalking.

(c) Upon receipt of the telephone number, the custodian of the person charged with stalking or aggravated stalking shall take reasonable and necessary steps under the circumstances to notify the victim of the person's release from custody. Such notice shall, at a minimum, include:

(1) Prior to the person's release, placing a telephone call to the number provided by the victim and giving notice to the victim or any person answering the telephone who appears to be sui juris or by leaving an appropriate message on a telephone answering machine; and

(2) Following the person's release, if the custodian is unable to notify the victim by the method provided in paragraph (1) of this subsection, telephoning the number provided by the victim no less than two times in no less than 15 minute intervals within one hour of custodial release and giving notice to the victim or to any person answering the telephone who appears to be sui juris or by leaving an appropriate message on a telephone answering machine.

(d) Upon receipt of the telephone number, the court conducting a hearing on the issue of bail shall take reasonable and necessary steps under the circumstances to notify the victim of any scheduled hearing on the issue of bail. Such notice shall, at a minimum, include placing a telephone call to the number provided by the victim prior to any scheduled hearing on the issue of bail.

(e) Notwithstanding any other provision of this Code section, a scheduled bail hearing or the release of the person charged with stalking or aggravated stalking shall not be delayed solely for the purpose of effectuating notice pursuant to this Code section for a period of more than 30 minutes.

(f) Upon the person's release or escape from custody after conviction and service of all or a portion of a sentence, notification to the victim shall be provided by the State Board of Pardons and Paroles as set forth in Code Sections 42-9-46 and 42-9-47.

(g) This Code section shall not apply to a custodian who is transferring a person charged with stalking or aggravated stalking to another custodian in this state.

(h) As used in this Code section, the term "custodian" means a warden, sheriff, jailer, deputy sheriff, police officer, officer or employee of the Department of Juvenile Justice, or any other law enforcement officer having actual custody of an inmate.

(i) A custodian or his or her employing agency shall not be liable in damages for a failure to provide the notice required by this Code section, but the custodian shall be subject to appropriate disciplinary action including termination for such failure.

O.C.G.A. § 16-5-94. Restraining orders; protective orders. (1999)
(a) A person who is not a minor who alleges stalking by another person may seek a restraining order by filing a petition alleging conduct constituting stalking as defined in Code Section 16-5-90. A person who is not a minor may also seek relief on behalf of a minor by filing such a petition.

(b) Jurisdiction for such a petition shall be the same as for family violence petitions as set out in Code Section 19-13-2.

(c) Upon the filing of a verified petition in which the petitioner alleges with specific facts that probable cause exists to establish that stalking by the respondent has occurred in the past and may occur in the future, the court may order such temporary relief ex parte as it deems necessary to protect the petitioner or a minor of the household from stalking. If the court issues an ex parte order, a copy of the order shall be immediately furnished to the petitioner.

(d) The court may grant a protective order or approve a consent agreement to bring about a cessation of conduct constituting stalking. Orders or agreements may:

(1) Direct a party to refrain from such conduct;

(2) Order a party to refrain from harassing or interfering with the other;

(3) Award costs and attorney's fees to either party; and

(4) Order either or all parties to receive appropriate psychiatric or psychological services as a further measure to prevent the recurrence of stalking.

(e) The provisions of subsections (c) and (d) of Code Section 19-13-3, subsections (b), (c), and (d) of Code Section 19-13-4, and Code Section 19-13-5, relating to family violence petitions, shall apply to petitions filed pursuant to this Code section, except that the clerk of court may provide forms for petitions and pleadings to persons alleging conduct constituting stalking and to any other person designated by the superior court pursuant to this Code section as authorized to advise persons alleging conduct constituting stalking on filling out and filing such petitions and pleadings.

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