Stalking is a highly emotional charge in Michigan that prosecutors look at very seriously. When people contact Attorney Shawn Haff of The Criminal Defense Law Center of West Michigan about being charged with stalking, they are very concerned and worried about the impact it will have on their future.
Stalking is a willful course of conduct involving repeated or continuing harassment of another individual that would cause a reasonable person to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed or molested that actually causes the victim to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed or molested.
Harassment is conduct directed toward a victim that includes but is not limited to, repeated or continuing unconsented contact that would cause a reasonable individual to suffer emotional distress that actually causes the victim to suffer emotional distress.
Lack-of-Consent is a key element of a this charge. Unconsented contact is any contact that the other party does not want and can include:
- Entering the persons property of workplace
- Being in visual contact with
- Sending email or posted mail
Misdemeanor Stalking Penalties in West Michigan
The maximum jail sentence for this misdemeanor charge is up to one year in jail. The maximum fine for misdemeanor stalking is $1,000.
If you are stalking a person under the age of 18 years old, you might be charged with felony stalking and could face up to five years in prison and fines of up to $10,000.
In addition to fines and possible prison time, the court may issue a restraining order, order counseling and anger management classes for someone convicted of this serious charge.
Aggravated Stalking Laws in West Michigan
Aggravated stalking is a felony charge under MCL 750.411i. In order for you to be charged under MCL 750.411i, the following facts must apply:
- One of the actions making up the offense was in violation of a current restraining order.
- One of the actions committed was in violation of probation, parole or pre-trial release
- The offense involves a threat against the victim, family or someone living with the victim.
- The person being charged with aggravated stalking has been convicted of misdemeanor stalking. (It is a second offense charge)
Felony Aggravated Stalking Penalties in West Michigan
If someone is convicted of felony aggravated stalking, the maximum penalties is up to five years in prison and a fine of $15,000.
If the victim is under the age of 18, and the person convicted of aggravated stalking is at least 5 years older than the victim, up to 10 years in prison and a $15,000 fine.
(1) As used in this Section:
(a) “Course of conduct” means a pattern of conduct composed of a series of 2 or more separate noncontinuous acts evidencing a continuity of purpose.
(b) “Emotional distress” means significant mental suffering or distress that may, but does not necessarily, require medical or other professional treatment or counseling.
(c) “Harassment” means conduct directed toward a victim that includes, but is not limited to, repeated or continuing unconsented contact that would cause a reasonable individual to suffer emotional distress and that actually causes the victim to suffer emotional distress. Harassment does not include constitutionally protected activity or conduct that serves a legitimate purpose.
(d) “Stalking” means a willful course of conduct involving repeated or continuing harassment of another individual that would cause a reasonable person to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed, or molested and that actually causes the victim to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed, or molested.
(e) “Unconsented contact” means any contact with another individual that is initiated or continued without that individual’s consent or in disregard of that individual’s expressed desire that the contact be avoided or discontinued. Unconsented contact includes, but is not limited to, any of the following:
(i) Following or appearing within the sight of that individual.
(ii) Approaching or confronting that individual in a public place or on private property. (iii) Appearing at that individual’s workplace or residence.
(iv) Entering onto or remaining on property owned, leased, or occupied by that individual.
(v) Contacting that individual by telephone.
(vi) Sending mail or electronic communications to that individual.
(vii) Placing an object on, or delivering an object to, property owned, leased, or occupied by that individual.
(f) “Victim” means an individual who is the target of a willful course of conduct involving repeated or continuing harassment.
(2) An individual who engages in stalking is guilty of a crime as follows:
(a) Except as provided in subdivision (b), this misdemeanor is punishable by imprisonment for not more than 1 year or a fine of not more than $1,000.00, or both. (b) If the victim was less than 18 years of age at any time during the individual’s course of conduct and the individual is 5 or more years older than the victim, a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 5 years or a fine of not more than $10,000.00, or both.
(3) The court may place an individual convicted of violating this section on probation for a term of not more than 5 years. If a term of probation is ordered, the court may, in addition to any other lawful condition of probation, order the defendant to do any of the following:
(a) Refrain from stalking any individual during the term of probation.
(b) Refrain from having any contact with the victim of the offense.
(c) Be evaluated to determine the need for psychiatric, psychological, or social counseling and if, determined appropriate by the court, to receive psychiatric, psychological, or social counseling at his or her own expense.
(4) In a prosecution for a violation of this section, evidence that the defendant continued to engage in a course of conduct involving repeated unconsented contact with the victim after having been requested by the victim to discontinue the same or a different form of unconsented contact, and to refrain from any further unconsented contact with the victim, gives rise to a rebuttable presumption that the continuation of the course of conduct caused the victim to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed, or molested.
(5) A criminal penalty provided for under this section may be imposed in addition to any penalty that may be imposed for any other criminal offense arising from the same conduct or for any contempt of court arising from the same conduct.”
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