Is Stalking a Crime in Arizona?
Years ago, there were no laws against stalking. Of course, that doesn’t mean stalking didn’t take place. There just weren’t any specific laws targeted to this sort of behavior. It wasn’t until 1990 that it became an official crime. California was the first state to declare it an actual criminal offense. Most other states followed suit over the next ten (10) years. Now, stalking is an offense in Arizona. The statute that outlines the crime of stalking can be found in the Arizona Criminal Code, Section 13-2923. Since it became law, thousands of people have been charged with this crime. That’s why Arizona criminal defense attorneys are so familiar with the stalking laws now.
If you or your teenager has been charged with stalking in Arizona, you need to take immediate action. There are serious repercussions for this sort of crime. If convicted, you could be sentenced to jail. The complainant (victim) may also be granted an order of protection. Rather than have this happen, your Arizona criminal defense attorney may be able to get the charges dismissed. It depends on the facts of your case. It also depends on the position of the prosecutor. Call our office and talk to an experienced Arizona criminal defense attorney as soon as possible after the charges are filed.
What Does the State Have to Prove in a Stalking Case?
It’s actually not that hard for the State to prove stalking charges. With so many people on social media today, it’s not all that difficult to prove that you had contact with somebody. The hardest part for the prosecutor is to prove that the contact was unwanted or harassing. They’ll also need to demonstrate that it created some semblance of fear in the victim.
In order to prove a stalking case against you, the prosecutor will need to show the following:
- You engaged in some sort of contact with the victim. This can take the form of verbal or written contact. It also includes any in-person contact you may have had with the victim.
- This contact was unwelcome, unwanted, harassing or threatening.
- The victim was in fear for themselves or their immediate family.
- This fear does not have to be a reasonable fear, it just has to be perceived as frightening by the victim.
Is Stalking a Misdemeanor or a Felony in Arizona?
Once stalking charges have been filed against you, it’s time to talk to an Arizona criminal defense attorney. These charges carry serious penalties. Believe it or not, stalkign is a felony in Arizona. If there is no bodily injured involved, the charge will be classisfied as a Class 5 felony. The penalties associated with a Class 5 felony include:
- Up to one (1) year in jail
- Prison sentence of six (6) months to 2 1/2 years
- Possible probation
- If you have a prior conviction for stalking, you will be sentenced to an additional 1 to 7 1/2 years in prison.
As mentioned above, if there is no physical injury involved, you’ll be charged with a Class 5 felony. However, if there is injury or death involved, then you’ll be charged with a Class 3 felony. This carries a more significant penalty:
- Anywhere from 2 to 8 3/4 year in prison
- Additional 3 1/2 to 25 years in prison if you have prior arrests or convictions for stalking.
With this in mind, it’s in your best interest to hire an Arizona criminal defense attorney sooner rather than later.
Why Would Someone Accuse You of Stalking?
A complainant may file stalking charges against you for any number of reasons. They may actually feel uncomfortable with the attention you’re giving them. Or they may have had a past relationship with you and feel that you won’t let it go. However, there are other times when the victim makes u the charges. It could be their way of getting back at you for cheating on them. Or they may have invited the contact and then changed their mind after the fact. For example, if you are carrying on a short-term relationship with somebody and find out they have a significant other, it could cause them to file stalking charges.
Reach Out to an Experienced Arizona Criminal Defense Attorney Immediately
As soon as you learn that somebody has filed stalking charges against them, you need to talk to an Arizona criminal defense attorney. They’ll work with the prosecutor to get the charges reduced or dismissed. Call right away and set up your initial consultation.