Stalking Laws (A.R.S. §13-2923)
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Whether in the Phoenix area, or anywhere in Arizona, per A.R.S. §13-2923 “Stalking” occurs when a person “knowingly” or “intentionally” engages in a course of conduct that is directed towards another person which would cause a reasonable person to fear for their, or their immediate family’s, safety.
In addition, the person being stalked has to actually testify that they were in such fear. A “course of conduct” means maintaining visual or physical proximity to a specific person or directing verbal, written or other threats (whether expressed or implied) to that person on two (2) or more occasions over a period of time. It does not matter how short that period of time is. In addition “immediate family member” includes a spouse, parent, child, or sibling, or any other person who regularly resided within the “victim’s” household in the past six (6) months. This has been construed to include a current or former roommate who is not related by blood or marriage to the person receiving the threat.
Need a Phoenix Lawyer for Stalking? Contact DM Cantor if you have been charged with Stalking. Call 602-307-0808 for a Free Consultation.
Possible Punishment for Stalking
If a reasonable person was placed in fear for their, or their immediate family’s life (in other words they are afraid of “death”), this can be charged as a class three (3) felony. For a first offense class three (3) felony, punishment can be probation with zero (0) days to one (1) year in jail, or a prison range of two (2) to eight and three quarters (8.75) years in prison. If the person has one (1) allegeable historical prior conviction then the “prison only” range is three and one half (3.5) years to sixteen and one quarter (16.25) years of incarceration. If the person has two (2) allegeable historical prior convictions, then the “prison only” range is seven and one half (7.5) years to twenty-five (25) years of incarceration.
If the person placed in fear does not fear death, but is only in fear for their or their family’s safety, this is charged as a class five (5) felony. Punishment can be probation with zero (0) days up to one (1) year in jail, or prison of six (6) months to two and one half (2.5) years in custody. If the person has one (1) historical allegeable prior felony conviction, then the “prison only” range is one (1) to three and three quarters (3.75) years of incarceration. If the person has two (2) historical allegeable prior felony convictions then the “prison only” range is three (3) years to seven and one half (7.5) years of incarceration.
Possible Defenses for Stalking
There are numerous defenses to Stalking charges. The defense that is contained within the Stalking statute is that stalking does not include “Constitutionally Protected Activity”. For example, if you are protesting outside of a politician’s office, you cannot be accused of “Stalking” because political protests are part of your First Amendment guarantees under the Constitution. Probably the most famous example of this is when Cindy Sheehan (mother of a deceased soldier) camped out in front of President George W. Bush’s driveway for 1-2 months during the summer of 2005; she could not be charged with stalking because she was engaging in a political protest towards a public official. Other defenses to Stalking would include lack of knowledge that you were in the same area of as the “victim.” For example, you could be shopping at a local Wal-Mart or attending a football game at Sun Devil Stadium without realizing the “victim” was anywhere nearby. The State must prove that you were deliberately stalking the person. An additional and very strong defense is that the “victim” was acting unreasonably when they were placed in fear by the defendant’s activities. The State must prove that the “victim” was acting reasonably when they were placed in fear for their safety and not just acting excessively paranoid or worried.
Additionally, because our law firm fights conviction from all angles, we would assert a wide range of defenses and challenges to constitutional violations that apply in all criminal cases. The possibilities are numerous and diverse. One of those we frequently assert is a “Miranda rights violation.” In Arizona, the standard of whether any incriminating statement (i.e., a statement which tends to admit guilt) is admissible into evidence is based upon a “voluntariness” standard. If we can demonstrate that the police coerced you (i.e., intimidated or tricked you) into making a confession or inculpatory statement, or that they did not properly read you your Miranda Rights, then we can suppress those statements and any evidence gathered as a direct result of those statements. In addition, the “denial of right to Counsel” is another common defense which is often raised. This occurs when a suspect is in custody and requests to speak to their attorney, but is denied and questioning continues. Other defenses may include challenging the validity of any search warrant, or whether there were any “forensic flaws” during the investigation of your case. Depending on what else you have been charged with, this could include exposing flawed procedures regarding blood, breath, and urine testing; fingerprints analysis; DNA testing; ballistics; gunshot residue testing; computer analysis/cloning hard drive procedures; forensic financial accounting reviews; etc.. Lastly, one of the most common defense tactics is exposing sloppy or misleading police reports which include everything from misstatements, false statements, flawed photo line-ups and inaccurate crime scene reconstruction. It is important to hire a skilled Stalking lawyer to defend you who has knowledge of all the possible defenses to assert in your case.
It is important to hire an AV® rated law firm (the highest possible rating by Martindale Hubbell®). Also David Michael Cantor is a Phoenix Lawyer for Stalking and a Certified Criminal Law Specialist, per the Arizona Board of Legal Specialization. In addition, the Firm and all of its lawyers are listed in the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers®. At DM Cantor, the majority of our Attorneys are ex-Prosecutors, and all of our Phoenix Lawyers for Stalking know the system well. For a Free Initial Consultation, call us at 602-307-0808, or click here to contact us now.
Contact DM Cantor and speak to a Phoenix Lawyer for Stalking. We will assist you with your Stalking case.