Example 1: A man believes he is so in love with one of his co-workers that he memorizes her daily schedule. That way, he can cross paths with her when she orders her morning coffee, parks her car and swims laps at her gym after work. He also sends her frequent e-mails and staples notes to the front door of her house.
Example 2: A woman decides not to give up on her ex-boyfriend, even though he has broken up with her. So she secretly implants a GPS device in his car to keep track of his whereabouts. She parks outside his home most evenings and takes note of his visitors, which she then shares on Facebook.
These are not legally permissable behaviors. Persistent, uninvited contact that causes emotional distress or fear for personal safety in the recipient is considered to be stalking — and stalking is a criminal offense.
What kinds of things does the law usually consider stalking? Under Utah law, stalking includes:
- Following someone
- Persistent phone calls or electronic messages
- Sending gifts
- Showing up at the workplace or home
- Talking about the person with other people
- Making threats
Stalking charges can range from a Class A misdemeanor to a third-degree felony, depending on the facts in the case and criminal history of the stalker.
If you have been charged with stalking or someone has taken out a protective order against you, it is worth your while to speak to a criminal defense attorney. When a harmless action is misinterpreted or someone has an unreasonable reaction, you should not have to pay an unfair price.