In addition to Harassment, Stalking charges typically involve a victim and offender who were romantically involved. If so, a domestic relationship will be established and the crime will have a Domestic Violence designation. Also, depending on the facts, Stalking can be filed as a felony or a gross misdemeanor in Washington State. It is not uncommon for both charges of Stalking and Harassment to be filed simultaneously.
The Prosecutor may charge Felony Stalking if any one of the following facts apply:
- There has been a prior conviction for harassing the victim or a member of the victim’s family or household;
- The stalking violates a protection order that protects the victim;
- The defendant has a prior conviction for stalking another person;
- The defendant was in possession of a deadly weapon during the stalking;
- The victim’s job is related to the legal system and the stalking was done in retaliation for an act done while in the official capacity of job duties; or
- The victim is a witness in a court proceeding and the stalking was done in retaliation for witness testimony.
The Prosecutor may charge Misdemeanor Stalking if (1) the Stalking was intentional and occurred more than one time; (2) the victim had a reasonable fear that the defendant intended to injure them or damage their property, and (3) the defendant knew or should have known that their behavior would create fear, intimidation or harassment, even if this was not their intent. Stalking is a gross misdemeanor punishable up to 1 year in jail and a $5,000.00 fine.
Stalking charges are frequently the result of a misunderstanding or a vindictive accuser. Surprisingly, Washington law does not require the accuser to inform the defendant that their behavior is threatening or unwanted. Fortunately, attorney Alexander Ransom conducts thorough investigations of all parties – including witnesses – to ascertain what exactly happened and discover the dynamics of the past relationship, if any.
Please call attorney Alexander Ransom today for a free, no-pressure case evaluation if you or someone you care about faces Stalking charges in Skagit or Whatcom County.