Utah Criminal Defense Lawyer–Jake Gunter

criminal stalking defense attorney Jake Gunter CRIMINAL STALKING CHARGES

In Utah, it is a crime to stalk other people. If you are charged with repeated stalking charges, you can be facing 2nd and 3rd Degree felonies. Criminal stalking is an enhanceable charge, just like DUI, Retail Theft, Domestic Violence or drug charges.

Utah criminal stalking is defined as follows:

A person is guilty of criminal stalking who intentionally or knowingly engages in a course of conduct directed at a specific person and knows or should know that this course of conduct would cause a reasonable person:

(a) To fear for the person’s own safety or the safety of a third person; or

(b) To suffer other emotional distress.

A person is also guilty of criminal stalking who intentionally or knowingly violates:

(a) A stalking injunction issued pursuant to Title 77, Chapter 3a, Stalking Injunctions; or

(b) A permanent criminal stalking injunction issued pursuant to this section.

Two or More Stalking Episodes Needed.

To be prosecuted for criminal stalking, you must have completed two or more qualifying stalking episodes. The prosecuting attorney must be able to prove a course of conduct involving more than one alleged criminal stalking episode.

What is Criminal Stalking Behavior?

Utah’s stalking statute defines broadly what stalking behavior is. Stalking behavior can be any of the following, done twice or more in any combination.

(A). Acts in which the actor follows, monitors, observes, photographs, surveils, threatens, or communicates to or about a person, or interferes with a person’s property.

(B). When the actor approaches or confronts a person; appears at the person’s workplace or contacts the person’s employer or coworkers; appears at a person’s residence or contacts a person’s neighbors, or enters property owned, leased, or occupied by a person; sends material by any means to the person or for the purpose of obtaining or disseminating information about or communicating with the person to a member of the person’s family or household, employer, coworker, friend, or associate of the person; places an object on or delivers an object to property owned, leased, or occupied by a person, or to the person’s place of employment with the intent that the object be delivered to the person; or uses a computer, the Internet, text messaging, or any other electronic means to commit an act that is a part of the course of conduct.

3rd Degree Felony:

Stalking is a 3rd Degree Felony if:

(a) You have a prior stalking conviction.

(b) You violated a permanent criminal stalking injunction issued by a Utah court; or

(e) You are convicted of stalking your ex-spouse or significant other who you lived with or were in a romantic relationship with.

2nd Degree Felony.

Stalking is a 2nd Degree Felony if:

(a) You used a dangerous weapon, (defines as just about any object) or used other means or force likely to produce death or serious bodily injury, in the commission of the crime of stalking; or

(b) You have been previously convicted two or more times of criminal stalking;

(c) You have been convicted two or more times in another jurisdiction or jurisdictions of offenses that are substantially similar to the offense of stalking;

(d) Have been convicted two or more times, in any combination, of offenses under Subsection (7)(a), (b), or (c);

(e) And many other lesser enumerations in the statute.

Stalking allegations and criminal charges can carry serious prison and jail terms. Further false allegations of stalking or stalking convictions have collateral consequences on your ability to gain employment or possess weapons. The Laughtenberg Amendment found in federal law at 18 USC 922(d)(8) (2017) makes it a crime to possess firearms if a criminal stalking injunction is issued against you.