Stalking & Harassment
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. An experienced Utah defense lawyer will listen to your side of the story and work to get you the best results possible in court.
Utah Stalking Laws and Penalties
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:
- Fear for their safety or the safety of another, or
- Suffer emotional stress
You can also be found guilty of stalking for violating a 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.
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 will be a 3rd Degree Felony. A felony in the 3rd degree carries up to 5 years in prison and $5,000 in fines.
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.
The stalking laws of Utah are fairly complex and discussing your case with a local attorney will help you get a better idea of the outcome you are facing and why you’ve been charged with a particular offense.
Utah Harassment Law and Penalties
Harassment is defined under Utah Law (UCC 76-05-106) as communicating a written or recorded threat to commit a felony with the intent to frighten or harass another. This crime is considered a Class B Misdemeanor and carries a potential 6 months in jail and $1,000 in fines.
Both of these crimes could be accompanied with the issuance of a stalking injunction or a restraining order. Both are considered serious offenses and both may be benefitted by the assistance of a criminal defense attorney.
If you’ve been charged with harassment, stalking, or a related offense, contact me today to discuss your case.