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Puerto Rico

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 Puerto Rico.

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 Puerto Rico.

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

33 L.P.R.A.  § 4015a Stalking Restraining Order

§ 4015. Issuance of restraining orders

(a) Any person who has been a victim of stalking, or conduct that constitutes the crime, as typified in §§ 4013--4026 of this title, part of the Penal Code of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, or in any other special act, may file a petition per se, through his/her legal counsel or by a police agent to the court requesting a restraining order, without the need of a prior filing of an accusation or charge.

(b) When the court determines that there are sufficient motives to believe that the petitioner has been the victim of stalking, the same may issue a protection order and order the defendant to surrender to the Puerto Rico Police for custody, whether on a temporary, indefinite or permanent basis, any firearm in relation to which the defendant has been issued a license to bear and own or to carry firearms or for target-shooting, or both, as the case may be, and the court shall order the suspension of the firearms license of the defendant under the same terms. Said order may also include but is not limited to the following:

(1) Direct the respondent party to abstain from disturbing, harassing, pursuing, intimidating, threatening or performing any other act that constitutes stalking under §§ 4013--4026 of this title, directed to the petitioner.

(2) Direct the respondent party to abstain from entering any place where the petitioning party is found, when, in the discretion of the court said limitation is necessary to prevent the respondent party from disturbing, intimidating, threatening or otherwise stalking and/or interfering with the petitioner or a member of his/her family.

(3) Direct the respondent party to pay pecuniary compensation for damages caused by conduct that constitutes stalking. Said compensation may include, but shall not be limited to compensation for moving expenses, expenses for repair of the property, legal expenses, medical and psychiatric expenses, psychological and counseling expenses, guidance, lodging, and other similar expenses, without prejudice to other civil procedures to which the petitioner would be entitled.

(4) Issue any order that is needed to comply with the purposes and the public policy of §§ 4013--4026 of this title.

(c) Any trial court judge may issue a restraining order pursuant to §§ 4013--4026 of this title. Every restraining order may be reviewed, in the appropriate cases, in the Circuit Court of Appeals.

(d) Any person may request the civil remedies established in §§ 4013--4026 of this title in his/her behalf, or in behalf of any other person who suffers a physical or mental disability, in case of an emergency or when the person is prevented from requesting it in person.

Title 8 L.P.R.A. § 621 Protection from Domestic Abuse (Civil Protection Order)
§ 621. Protective orders

Any person who has been the victim of domestic abuse or conduct which constitutes said crime as typified in this chapter or in the Penal Code of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico or in any other special law, within the context of a relationship as a couple, may file a petition in court and request a [restraining order] 

When the court so deems or has issued a [restraining or anti-stalking order], the court shall immediately order the defendant to surrender to the Puerto Rico Police for custody, any firearm belonging to the defendant for which a license to bear or own or carry firearms, or for target-shooting or hunting or of any other kind, as the case may be. The order to surrender any firearm, as well as the suspension of any kind of firearm license, shall take effect compulsorily. Likewise, when such an order is issued by a court, the same shall have the effect of suspending the license to own or bear any firearm of any kind, such as, but not limited to, those used for target-shooting or hunting or otherwise, even when said firearm is part of the gear used by the accused in his/her profession. Said restriction shall apply at the very least for the same period of time the order is in effect. 

(a) Adjudicate provisional custody of the petitioner's minor [children].

(b) Suspend any filial relations with the minor children of the respondent party when the petitioner is sheltered. To make such a determination the court shall have to consider the following elements:

(1) The capacity of the shelter for providing security for the persons involved in the filial relations process.

(2) That the shelter possesses the resources needed to transport the minors to the place where the filial relations are to take place.

(3) The distance between the shelter and the place where the filial relations are to take place.

(4) The danger which the respondent party represents, if any, to those persons involved in the filial relations process: children of either sex, shelter personnel and the mother.

(5) The presence of a resource approved by the petitioner as intermediary in the filial relations process.

(6) That the respondent has not incurred conduct constituting domestic violence in the presence of the minors as established in §§ 631--635 of this title.

(7) That no protective order has been issued in favor of the minors against the respondent party.

(8) The duration of the pattern of domestic violence.

(9) The time transpired from the last contact with the minors and whoever is petitioning for filial relations.

(10) The quality of the relationship of the minors with the respondent.

(11) Whether the respondent party has failed to comply with any protective order.

(12) Whether the respondent party has incurred threatening conduct against the shelter personnel.

(13) Whether the respondent party has verbally, physically or emotionally attacked the minors.

(14) Whether the respondent party has affected the emotional health of the minors.

Should any of the elements described in this subsection fail to concur, the court, looking after the welfare of the minor, shall make any other determination based on §§ 447s--447u of this title, part of the Comprehensive Child Welfare and Protection Act.

(c) Order the respondent to leave the dwelling which he/she shares with the petitioner regardless of any right claimed thereon.

(d) Order the respondent to abstain from molesting, harassing, pursuing, intimidating, threatening or interfering in any way with the exercise of provisional custody over the minor children that have been adjudicated to one of them.

(e) Order the respondent to abstain from entering any place in which the petitioner is when, at the discretion of the court, said limitation is needed to prevent the respondent from molesting, intimidating, threatening or in any other way interfering with the petitioner or with the minor children whose provisional custody has been adjudicated to him/her.

(f) Order the respondent to pay support for the minor children when their custody has been awarded to the petitioner, or for the minors and to the petitioner, when there is a legal obligation to do so.

(g) Restrain the respondent from concealing or removing the minor [children] of the parties from the jurisdiction.

(h) Forbid the respondent from disposing in any way of [separate] property of the petitioner, or the property of the legal conjugal partnership, or community property, if any. Provided, That when the administration of a business, trade or industry is involved, the respondent must submit a monthly financial statement of the administrative matters to the court.

(i) Order whatever provisional measures are needed regarding the possession and use of the residence of the parties, and on the personal property listed and comprised in subsections (1), (2), (3), (4), (4)(a), (5), and (6) of § 1130 of Title 32, which establishes those properties that are exempted from attachment.

(j) Order the respondent to pay financial compensation from [separate] property for damages caused by conduct constituting domestic abuse. Said compensation can include, but shall not be limited to compensation for moving expenses, expenses for the repair of property, legal expenses, medical, psychiatric, psychological, counselling, guidance, lodging, housing and other similar expenses, without prejudice to other civil actions to which the petitioner is entitled.

(k) Issue any order needed to enforce the purposes and public policy of this chapter.

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Criminal Stalking Laws

33 L.P.R.A. § 4013. Definitions.  (2000)
For the purposes of §§ 4013-4026 of this title, the following terms shall have the meaning stated below:

(a) Stalking. Means a pattern of behavior of vigilance, over a person; unwanted verbal or written communications are sent repeatedly to a specific person; written, verbal or implicit threats are made against a specific person; repeated acts of vandalism are directed to a specific person; repeated harassment through words, gestures or actions intended to intimidate, threaten or pursue the victim or members of his/her family.

(b) Persistent behavior pattern. Means to make in [sic] two (2) or more occasions acts that show the intentional purpose of intimidating a specific person or his/her family members.

(1) Family. Means: Spouse, son, daughter, father, mother, grandfather,

grandmother, grandson, granddaughter, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, nephew, niece, male or female cousin of the victim; or other relative by consanguinity, or affinity who is part of the family nucleus.

(2) A person who lives or has formerly cohabited with the victim as a couple;
or has been involved in a relationship as a paramour or lover.

(3) A person who resides or has resided in the same dwelling as the victim, for at least six (6) months before the acts constituting stalking are evident.

(d) Intimidate. Means any repeated action or word that instills terror in the animus of a prudent and reasonable person, to the effect that [he/]she, or any member of the family could suffer harm, personally, or of [his/]her property, and/or exert moral pressure on the animus of the person to perform an act against [his/]her will.

(e) Restraining order. Means any written order under the seal of a court whereby the measures are dictated to an offender to abstain from incurring or performing certain acts that constitute stalking.

(f) Respondent. Means any person against whom an order of protection is requested.

(g) Petitioner. Means any person who requests a restraining order.

(h) Court. Means the Trial Court of the General Court of Justice.

(i) Police officer. Means any member or officer of the Police of Puerto Rico; or a municipal policeman duly trained and accredited by the Police of Puerto Rico.

33 L.P.R.A. § 4014. Delinquent conduct; penalties. (2004)
(a) Any person who intentionally demonstrates a constant or repetitive pattern of stalking addressed to intimidate a specific person to the effect that said person or any member of his/her family could suffer personal or property damage; or that maintains said type of conduct, knowing that a certain person could reasonably feel intimidated, shall incur a misdemeanor. The court may impose the penalty of restitution, in addition to the penalty of imprisonment thus established.

(b) Stalking, as typified in §§ 4013--4026 of this title, shall be charged as a fourth degree felony, if one or more of the following circumstances exist:

(1) The dwelling of a certain person or a member of his/her family is entered, thus instilling fear of suffering physical injury, and/or exerting moral pressure on the person's animus to perform an act that is against his/her will; or

(2) grave bodily injury is inflicted on a certain person or a member of his/her family; or

(3) it is committed with a deadly weapon in circumstances not intended to kill or mutilate; or

(4) it is committed after a restraining order has been issued against the offender, in aid of the victim of stalking or other person who is also stalked by the offender; or

(5) an act of vandalism is committed that destroys property in the places that are adjacent or relatively close to the home, residence, school, workplace, or vehicle of a certain person or member of the family; or

(6) is committed by an adult against a child, or

(7) is committed against a pregnant woman.

The court may impose the penalty of restitution in addition to the established term of imprisonment. The prosecution and punishment of any person for the crime defined and punished in §§ 4013--4026 of this title, shall not prevent the prosecution and punishment of the same person for any other act or omission in violation of any of the other provisions of §§ 4013--4026 of this title, or any other act.

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