STALKING: What is it?
Under Utah criminal laws (UCC 76-5-106.5), stalking is defined as intentionally or knowingly engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person and knowing that such conduct would cause a reasonable person to
1. Fear for their safety or the safety of another, or
2. Suffer emotional stress.
You can also be found guilty of stalking for violating an already existing stalking injunction.
Generally, for a first offense, stalking is charged as a Class A Misdemeanor and carries up to 1 year in jail and a potential $2,500 fine. See UCC 76-5-106.5
However, if this isn’t your first stalking offense, if you’ve violated laws against the same victim, or if the act was done in violation of a permanent stalking injunction, the charge can and most likely will be increased to a 3rd Degree Felony. A felony in Utah the 3rd degree level has a potential prison sentence of up to 5 years and upt to a $5,000 fine. See UCC 76-5-106.5
Stalking can even be elevated to a 2nd Degree Felony if the alleged crime was done with a dangerous weapon or you have 2 or more prior convictions for similar offenses. This felony crime carries a potential 15 years in prison and $10,000 in fines.
STALKING: What is it?
You should also know that it is not it is not a defense to say that you were not given actual notice that the course of conduct was unwanted; or that you did not intend to cause the victim fear or other emotional distress. See UCC 76-5-106.5
The stalking laws of Utah are fairly complex and discussing your case with an attorney with our office will help you get a better idea of the outcome you are facing and why you’ve been charged with a particular offense. We are here to help you.
Stalking cases typically happen between two people who know each other. Often times, the person suspected of committing a crime doesn’t understand why they have been arrested and charged—they see it all as a misunderstanding. Unfortunately, misunderstandings like these can have disastrous consequences. When you are accused of stalking or harassing someone, a criminal defense attorney can help you fight the charges to minimize their impact on your life.
Maybe you admit you made a mistake. Or you may feel like the alleged victim is making up lies about you in order to get you into trouble. We will listen to your side of the story and work to get you the best results possible in court. It is vitally important that if you have a civil stalking injunction against you, that you stay away from any protected parties. STAY AWAY, we can help sort out the details later but for the immediate future obey the Judge’s orders and STAY AWAY. Contact our office today for a free consultation on any charges you may have received.