Question: What are some potential defenses to a stalking charge in Wisconsin?

Answer: In stalking there are some immediate ones that come to mind, one of which is freedom of speech and another is a right to peaceful assembly. So depending on what the stalking behavior is, it can be sometimes speech patterns that may be protected by law. You do have freedom of speech. You do have a right to go to public places, generally speaking. And so those can be very good defenses in a stalking case. Again, this can involve so many different types of conduct and different issues that it’s hard to know on the front end, but those are certainly some examples.

Another defense that we run into quite often is whether the person who engaged in the behavior that is alleged to be stalking, did they know that this did cause the person or could they have reasonably believed that the person would suffer serious emotional distress or believe that they could be harmed, them or a member of their family? So that’s another big defense. Many times, this is a relationship with somebody that either later breaks down or something like that. And if at the time the person was engaging in this conduct they did not know or think that it would cause any emotional distress or fear in the other person, then that’s not stalking.

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