Salt Lake City Stalking + Harassment Defense Lawyer
While incidents of stalking and harassment are not crimes of physical violence, they can certainly inflict emotional violence upon victims. They are also considered crimes of domestic violence. For these reasons, police and prosecutors in Salt Lake City take these charges quite seriously. If you are charged with stalking, harassment, or electronics communication harassment, you could face serious penalties including high fines and years of time behind bars.
At Overson Law PLLC, our skilled Salt Lake City, UT stalking and harassment lawyers have years of experience defending clients accused of this crime in Salt Lake City and throughout the state of Utah. Out compassionate attorneys understand that just because you have been accused of a crime, this does not make you guilty, and that domestic situations in particular can be very messy and complex. We will be there by your side to answer any questions, serve as your advocate, and fight to get your charges downgraded or dismissed. Call our firm today at (801) 758-2287 for a free consultation.
The Crime of Harassment in Salt Lake City
As defined under the Utah criminal code, the crime of harassment occurs in a situation where an individual “with intent to frighten or harass another…communicates a written or recorded threat to commit any violent felony.” For example, if you leave a note on someone’s door saying that you are going to come back and rape them, this would be considered harassment. Another example would be leaving a voicemail threatening to beat someone up. Your behavior must have been an intentional attempt to frighten or harass the person, not just mere negligence on your part.
The Crime of Electronics Communication Harassment in Salt Lake City
There is another crime known as electronic communications harassment that is often just called harassment informally. This crime involves an individual “with intent to intimidate, abuse, threaten, harass, frighten, or disrupt the electronic communications of another,” making repeated electronic contact with that individual such as text messages and e-mails. It can still be charged even if the repeated contact never resulted in a response.
Under the language of the statute, the charge also applies if you continue to make electronic contact with someone after they have asked you to stop doing so, even if that contact only involves making their device ring or receive some other notice of attempted contact. The final action it can be applied to is posting personal identifying information to an online site to “abuse, threaten, or disrupt the other individual’s electronic communication and without the other individual’s permission.” For example, posting someone’s name and phone number on Reddit and asking random user to flood them with calls would be considered electronic communications harassment under this provision.
The Crime of Stalking in Salt Lake City
In Utah, stalking is defined as engaging in a repeated course of conduct that you know, or reasonably should know, will cause another person to fear for their safety or suffer from emotional distress. Any violation of a previously-issued stalking injunction will also be charged under this section. The fact that you were not specifically told that this conduct was unwanted is not a defense, nor is the fact that you did not intend to cause fear or emotional distress. The government must only show that you either knew or should have known these reactions would occur as a result of your conduct.
Salt Lake City Penalties for Harassment and Stalking Charges
The crime of stalking is typically classified as a class A misdemeanor, with potential penalties of up a year in jail and $2,500 in fines. However, if you have a previous conviction for stalking, a felony involving the alleged victim or a family member, or a crime “substantially similar” to stalking, the charge will be increased to a third-degree felony punishable by up to 5 years in jail and up to $5,000 in fines. It will also be a third-degree felony if you have previously violated a restraining order against the victim, or if you are or were a cohabitant of the victim. If you have 2 or more convictions for any of the above-mentioned crimes, have a previous conviction for violating a stalking order, whether against the alleged victim or anyone else, or if you use a dangerous weapon during the commission of the stalking, the charge will be upped to a second-degree felony, with penalties including up to 15 years in jails and fines up to $10,000.
The crime of ordinary (non-electronics communication) harassment is always charged as a class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to 6 months in jail and up to $1,000 in fines. Electronic communications harassment is normally also charged as a class B misdemeanor with the same penalties. However, the charge can be upped to a class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail and up to $2,500 in fine, if it is committed against a minor, such as sending threatening or abusive text messages to your underage child. If you have been previously convicted for committing this crime against a minor, the charge will be upped again to a third-degree felony, punishable by up to 5 years in jail and up to $5,000 in fines.
If You Have Been Charged, Contact Our Salt Lake City Stalking and Harassment Defense Attorneys Today
Harassment, as well as its offshoot crime, electronic communication harassment, are serious charges that can come with serious penalties. Stalking can lead to even more serious penalties, especially if you have been repeatedly convicted of the crime. At Overson Law, PLLC, our skilled Salt Lake City, UT stalking and harassment lawyers have years of experience working with our clients facing these charges to bring their case to the best possible resolution. We will leave no stone unturned fighting to protect your rights, have your side of the story be told, and prevent your future from being impacted. For a free consultation, contact our office today at (801) 758-2287.