In May 2018, a Paradise Valley, Arizona, woman was arrested for stalking after sending 65,000 text messages over several months to a man she met online. These text messages were threatening in nature, with some indicating that she would seriously injure or kill the man. The woman was arrested after the man saw that she had broken into his house on his home surveillance video equipment. Police found a butcher knife on the seat of her car and then found her in the bathtub in the victim's home.
What is Stalking?
The Paradise Valley incident is an extreme case of stalking, but other behaviors can lead to the same charge in Arizona.
A person may be charged with stalking if they behave in such a way that someone else fears:
- That their property will be damaged or destroyed.
- They, their family member, domestic animal, or livestock will be injured.
- They, their family member, current or previous romantic partner, or household member will be killed.
A stalking victim suffers from emotional distress, which Arizona law defines as "significant mental suffering or distress." Although the victim may seek counseling or other professional help, that is not a requirement to prove emotional distress as a result of stalking.
Some actions that can lead to a stalking charge in Arizona include maintaining physical or visual proximity to the victim, monitoring the victim's movements with a GPS device, or tracking their internet activity.
On October 25, 2018, a Phoenix-area father confronted a 43-year-old man who had been leaving sticky notes on his teenage daughter's car since the previous May. Although the notes were not threatening, the girl suffered emotional distress, and the man was charged with stalking.
Stalking may be a Class 5 Felony or a Class 3 Felony, depending on the circumstances.
When the victim fears that their property will be damaged, or that they, their family member, domestic animal, or livestock will be injured, it is a Class 5 Felony. A Class 5 Felony has a presumptive term of two years in prison, and an aggravated term of two years, six months in prison.
If the victim fears that they, their family member, current or previous romantic partner, or household member, will be killed, it is a Class 3 Felony. A Class 3 Felony has a presumptive term of three years, six months in prison, and an aggravated term of eight years, nine months in prison.
In addition to prison time, the judge may order anyone convicted of a felony to pay up to $150,000 in penalties.
If you or someone you love has been charged with stalking in Mohave, Yavapai, La Paz, or Coconino Counties in Northern Arizona, contact The Law Offices of Shawn B. Hamp today. Stalking is a serious charge that can have long-lasting effects on your life. Our dedicate defense attorneys understand the important details of Arizona stalking laws and will build the strongest defense on your behalf. Call our office at (928) 793-6868 or contact us online today.