Arizona Stalking Laws and the Penalties
There has been a rise in cases that involve stalking all across the United States. It is estimated that during a period of 12 months, 14 out of every 1,000 people who were the age of 18 or older were victims of stalking.
The definition of stalking is when a person intentionally or with knowledge exhibits behaviors that make another person suffer emotional distress, fear for their life or personal belongings, or fear for those around them.
ARIZONA TAKES A STAND AGAINST STALKING
Over the years, Arizona has taken larger strides to help the victims of stalking. The original stalking law did not include methods like email communications or text messaging. They knew that something had to be done regarding this.
The passing of House Bill 2419 strengthened the current stalking laws that Arizona had under effect. A.R.S 13-2923 was updated when the bill passed to make the punishment more severe and the victims of the crimes completely covered.
Besides the addition of electronic communications as a means of stalking, the law was updated to also protect others who are a part of the stalking victim’s life. The “specified others” section was updated to include:
- A person with whom the victim is currently or was priorly engaged in a relationship with.
- The family members of the victim.
- The pet of a victim.
- A person, or persons, that the victim is or has lived within six months of the last reported incident of stalking.
- Livestock belonging to the victim.
The amendment also went on to include that emotional stress would, therefore, be defined as any significant amount of distress or mental suffering that would require professional treatment. The actual professional treatment does not have to be proven by a prosecutor to be used in the case.
PENALTIES FOR STALKING IN ARIZONA
If a defendant is proven guilty for stalking, thanks to the broadening of the laws, they are looking at a pretty harsh punishment under the laws in Arizona.
If the defendant is found guilty of stalking, and it is under the statute that the victim has a reasonable fear for their safety or specified others, it is classified as a Class 5 felony. This has a presumptive prison term of 1.5 years. If this is under aggravated circumstances, the prison term is then raised to 2.5 years.
On the other hand, if the defendant has been found guilty of stalking a victim or specified others and it is under the statute that the victim or specified others fear death, the charges are then bumped up to a Class 3 felony. This is a presumptive prison term of 3.5 years, but if there were aggravated circumstances involved the sentence could go as high as 8.75 years.
Felony charges in the state of Arizona also come with large fines, fees, possible requirement to pay restitution, community service, and probation. With a felony recorded on your permanent record, you lose the right to vote and to bear arms. It is up to the court to decide if there will be any other penalties regarding the case.
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