Stalking constitutes behaviors such as sending excessive texts or emails as well as making excessive phone calls. It also involves sending unwanted gifts and showing up at uninvited places. Such behaviors are considered illegal and unacceptable and that’s where Arizona stalking laws come in handy.
Under Arizona law, stalking is defined as knowingly or intentionally engaging in behavior directed towards another individual with whom the victim has or had a romantic or sexual relationship, or has resided with the victim within the last six months. Conduct must cause the victim to suffer emotional distress, damage to their property or reasonable fear of physical injury. That injury can be to the victim, the victim’s family member or pet. Conduct the causes the victim to fear death or the death of a family member or pet is another version of stalking, which carries greater penalties.
Stalking offences that might cause an individual to fear for his or her personal safety are usually categorized as class 5 felony. Those that result in fear of death are categorized under class 3 felony. For the class 5 felony charges, the punishment includes up to 3 years probation, spending 1 year in jail or a prison sentence of at least 6 months to 2.5 years depending on the severity of the charges. Note that, if the stalker has prior felony convictions, the prison sentence carries an additional prison time.
For the class 3 felony criminal charges, the punishment includes up to 5 years probation, spending 1 year in jail or at least 2 years to a maximum of 8.75 years in prison. Here, prior felony criminal convictions can also lengthen the prison sentence.
A stalker may also get receive additional criminal charges if there is a protective order in place preventing the defendant from contacting the victim.
Stalking can be a frightening and terrorizing experience for the victim. Best not to go there in the first place. However, if you’re charged with the crime of stalking, you should find a good Arizona criminal defense attorney to assist with the case.