Is Stalking a Crime in South Carolina?


While we can all agree that a little extra attention can be flattering, this attention may begin to feel threatening over time. Unfortunately, many people don’t even realize their conduct constitutes stalking and wind up facing criminal charges. If you have been accused or charged with stalking in South Carolina, you need an experienced Chesterfield Criminal Defense Lawyer fighting to protect your rights. Please continue reading to learn the potential penalties you could face for stalking in South Carolina. 

How is Stalking Classified Under South Carolina Law?

In some cases, an individual could be charged with both harassment and stalking if their conduct meets the definition of both offenses. While statutory language can vary, stalking is essentially a more severe form of harassment. The critical difference between harassment and stalking is the degree of fear the person’s actions are intended to cause a victim. Generally, it is defined as the unwanted pursuit of another person. It is a pattern of words or conduct of any form that has no true purpose and is done to inflict on a person or would inflict on a reasonable person or a member of their family fear of:

  • Death
  • Assault
  • Bodily injury
  • Criminal sexual conduct
  • Kidnapping
  • Property damage

What Are the Potential Penalties?

Harassment and stalking punishments are harsh in South Carolina. The severity of your penalties escalates for repeated offenses. In most cases, harassment is charged as a misdemeanor, and stalking is charged as a felony. A person who engages in stalking is guilty of a felony and, upon conviction, must be fined no more than five thousand dollars, imprisoned no more than five years, or both. A person convicted of stalking when an injunction or restraining order is in place is guilty of a felony, which is punishable by a maximum fine of $7,000 and a maximum prison term of ten years, or both.

A person convicted of stalking with a prior conviction of harassment or stalking within the past ten years is guilty of a felony and must be fined ten thousand dollars, imprisoned not more than fifteen years, or both. In addition to the above-listed penalties, a person convicted of stalking who received licensing or registration information from the DMV and used the information to carry out the offense of stalking must be fined one thousand dollars, imprisoned for one year, or both.

As you can see, you can face a lengthy prison term and steep monetary fines if found guilty of stalking in South Carolina. If you have been accused of stalking, it’s vital to take this accusation seriously and connect with an experienced Chesterfield criminal defense lawyer as soon as you can. At the Cockrell Law Firm, P.C., we understand how damaging a criminal record can be to your life. Allow our firm to aggressively fight for your rights.