When someone believes that they are a victim of stalking, they may file a petition for a stalking injunction at the district court. A stalking injunction can be put in place against anyone regardless of the relationship between the parties. The crime of stalking occurs when a person intentionally or knowingly does two or more actions that:
- causes someone to fear for their safety;
- causes someone to fear for someone else’s safety; or
- causes someone emotional distress.
Under Utah Code §76-9-201, in order for a person to be found guilty, the prosecution must prove beyond all reasonable doubt that certain criteria exist.
A person is guilty of electronic communication harassment and subject to prosecution in the jurisdiction where the communication originated or was received if they had the intent to intimidate, abuse, threaten, harass, frighten, or disrupt the electronic communications of another.
Acts that may qualify as harassment include the following:
- make repeated contact by means of electronic communications, whether or not a conversation occurs; or after the recipient has requested or informed the person not to contact the recipient, and the person repeatedly or continuously contacts the electronic communication device of the recipient or causes an electronic communication device of the recipient to ring or to receive other notification of attempted contact by means of electronic communication;
- make contact by means of electronic communication and insults, taunts, or challenges the recipient of the communication or any person at the receiving location in a manner likely to provoke a violent or disorderly response;
- make contact by means of electronic communication and threatens to inflict injury, physical harm, or damage to any person or the property of any person; or
- cause disruption, jamming, or overload of an electronic communication system through excessive message traffic or other means utilizing an electronic communication device.
Cyberstalking Criminal Defense Lawyers in Utah
If you were charged with stalking, harassment, or electronic communication harassment in Salt Lake City, Utah, or any of the surrounding areas, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. The benefits of having experienced attorneys
The most important benefit of having an experienced attorney is that the attorney understands the best ways to fight the case aggressively. Call to talk with the attorney about the best way to deal with criminal charges related to criminal cyberstalking, harassment, or unlawful electronic communication charges.
Contact Brown, Bradshaw & Moffat, LLP at (801) 532-5297 today for a free initial consultation to find out more about your legal options.
Electronic Communication and Cyberstalking Penalties
Harassment via electronic communication committed against an adult is a Class B misdemeanor. A second or subsequent offense is considered a Class A misdemeanor if all prior violations were committed against adults.
If any prior violation of §76-9-201 was committed against a minor then the charge will be a third-degree felony.
Harassment via electronic communication committed against a minor is a Class A misdemeanor, a second or subsequent offense is a third-degree felony, regardless whether any prior violation of this section was committed against a minor or an adult.
Defenses to Cyber Crimes in Utah
Most harassment cases hinge on the accused person's intentions. Often, the intention is not to harass but rather to carry out some legitimate purpose such as collecting a debt or exposing the misdeeds of another.
Certainly, the best defense would be to use caution in your electronic communication and online activities so that you do not end up on the wrong side of the law.
The Statute itself addresses this issue under Utah Code §76-9-201, that the person charged with electronic communication harassment must act with an intention to do one or more of the following: threaten, harass, frighten, intimidate, annoy, offend, abuse, alarm or disrupt the electronic communications of another.
Section 76-9-201: Visit the page of Utah’s State Legislature to see laws governing electronic communication harassment and the penalties this charge carries. Each person’s case is unique and may carry different penalties based on past convictions, and the crime itself which is why it is important to speak with a lawyer
Find a Lawyer for Stalking / Cyberstalking in Salt Lake City
If you have been accused of cyberstalking, cyberbullying, or harassing in Salt Lake City, Utah and surrounding areas you may face both criminal and civil charges. The lawyers of Brown, Bradshaw & Moffat, LLP are very knowledgeable about prohibited electronic communication and will protect your rights. Many times cybercrime charges are dismissed because the prosecution fails to prove that a defendant had the intent to harm or harass the victim.
The experienced lawyers of Brown, Bradshaw & Moffat, LLP will build a strong defense against the state which is necessary in order to successfully combat cyberbullying charges. Call Brown, Bradshaw & Moffat, LLP at (801) 532-5297 today for initial confidential consultation.
This article was last updated on Friday, June 16, 2017.