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Washington State

Stalking & Harassment

The crime of “stalking” is defined by RCW 9A.46.110. If you or someone you know is being charged with or even accused of “stalking” it is a good idea to know the intricacies of this relatively complex criminal statute.

As a general rule, if you are aware that a stalking allegation has been or is being made against you in the state of Washington, whether or not formal charges have been filed, it is imperative to contact an experienced Criminal Lawyer as soon as possible. The steps you take can help lessen the chances that you could face a stalking conviction if not eliminate the possibility of a stalking charge being filed completely.
Stalking is a series of behaviors and harassing contacts that place a person in reasonable fear of injury to that person, another person, or the property of that person or another person. It is also necessary that the individual accused of stalking either:

• Intends to frighten, intimidate, or harass the person, or

• knows or reasonably should know that the person is afraid intimidated or harassed, regardless of whether the accused intended to intimidate or harass the person.

It is not a defense to this crime that the accused was never given actual knowledge that the person did not wish to be followed. It is, however, a defense to the charge if the accused is a licensed private investigator acting within the scope of his or her license.
Stalking Defined: Gross misdemeanor & Class C Felony

The crime of stalking is broken down into two categories, gross misdemeanor, and Class C felony.  The gross misdemeanor is simply committing the offense described above absent any other circumstances.  The same conduct constitutes a felony in cases where the stalker:

  • has previously been convicted of harassment against the victim or victim’s family.
  • violates a protective order designed to protect the victim.
  • has a previous conviction for stalking, gross misdemeanor, or felony.
  • is in possession of a deadly weapon while stalking.
  • other situations where the victim is part of the legal system, the stalking is in retaliation for official acts as part of official duties, the stalking is an attempt to intimidate a witness from testifying.
Elements of Harassment
You can be charged with harassment in Washington State if you threaten another person with immediate or future bodily injury, physical damage to the property of another, to physically restrain another person or maliciously act in any way intended to substantially harm the threatened person’s physical or mental safety or health
Felony Harassment vs. Gross Misdemeanor Harassment
Important to note is that the same or similar conduct can be classified as either a felony or a gross misdemeanor depending upon the relationship and history between the parties and what was said that made the action “harassment.”

If there have been no previous incidents of “harassment” between the defendant and the victim or victim’s family and the threat was not “to kill”, the action would be classified as a gross misdemeanor. As such it is punishable by up to 365 days in jail and a $5,000.00 fine. Additionally, if it is indeed designated as a crime of domestic violence, other consequences would apply as well.

If, however, a crime of harassment had been previously committed against the victim or the victim’s family, or threats to kill were allegedly made, the action becomes a Class C Felony punishable by up to five (5) years in jail and a $10,000.00 fine.

Felony Harassment carries with it a Seriousness Level III meaning that a conviction, even for someone with no felony history would result in a jail sentence of at least one to three months.

If you are facing criminal charges, it is crucial to have effective representation immediately.

Even if you think the facts of the case aren’t in your favor, having the best possible criminal representation can be the difference between jail time and probation, or having your record destroyed with an avoidable felony or misdemeanor conviction. At Snohomish Law Group, our criminal defense attorneys give you time and attention, to ensure you are treated fairly under the criminal justice system.

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Unlike lawyers at other law firms, our lawyers have dealt with thousands of cases, litigating matters of a wide range of severities and we have delivered important victories to our clients. Our reputation as aggressive, zealous advocates in the courtroom allows us to deliver results to our clients.

Our goal is to fight for and to deliver to you the best results possible, whether that be by way of an acquittal or favorable judgement at trial, a favorable settlement deal, or an outright dismissal. Unlike other firms, we will give you our all. There is no such thing as a case that is too big or too small.

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