Stalking in Oklahoma is a crime that tends to frighten the victims involved. Sometimes, it remains a crime of stealth; other times, it morphs into a crime of violence against the victim involved. Either way, Oklahoma takes the crime seriously. Here is what you need to know if you are facing charges for stalking in Muskogee, Oklahoma.
Stalking In Oklahoma Defined
Stalking in Oklahoma is defined as a pattern of willful and malicious contact. For example, repeatedly following or harassing another person in such a way that would reasonably cause (and causes) that person or a member of that person’s immediate family to feel frightened, threatened, intimidated, harassed, or molested. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 1173
Contact is broadly defined to include, but is not limited to any kind of contact that causes emotional distress to the victim, such as:
- appearing within the sight of the victim;
- calls, texts, or emails;
- confronting or approaching the victim at the victim’s residence, place of employment, or a public place; or
- leaving any sort of object on the victim’s property.
The crime is normally treated as a misdemeanor in Muskogee. It is punishable by up to a year in jail, a fine of up to $1,000, or both.
Elements of The Crime
All of the elements of stalking must be proven by the prosecution in order to secure a conviction. Here are the elements of stalking:
- maliciously, and
- followed or harassed another person
- in a manner that would cause a reasonable person or member of that person’s immediate family
- to feel frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed, or molested; and
- actually caused the person being followed or harassed to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed, or molested.
The stalking must be done willfully and maliciously. If it is done accidentally, or with another intent, you may have a defense. Likewise, the stalking must be done repeatedly. A single incident is not enough.
The stalking must be enough to cause a reasonable person to feel terrorized, frightened, or molested. If it is not repeated and not malicious, it may not cause a reasonable person to feel fear.
The “reasonable” person standard is one that opens the element up to argument from the defense. This can be important when building a defense against the charges. Be sure and discuss the facts of your case with an experienced Muskogee attorney to see what defenses may be available to you.
When Stalking Becomes A Felony
If there is any sort of temporary or permanent restraining order or an injunction prohibiting the harassing or stalking behavior in place at the time that the perpetrator engages in that behavior, and the perpetrator has had notice of the order, then the stalking is chargeable as a felony. Likewise, any stalking behavior that is in violation of a parole order which prohibits this behavior is chargeable as a felony.
Finally, if the perpetrator has been convicted within the past 10 years of any crime involving the use of threat or violence against that person or a member of that person’s family, the crime is chargeable as a felony. This crime is punishable by up to five years in prison, a fine of up to $2,500, or both.
A prior stalking conviction within the past 10 years will also make another stalking conviction chargeable as a felony. Likewise, a prior stalking conviction and a knowing violation of a current protective order protecting the same person, will make another stalking conviction chargeable as a felony. These convictions are also punishable by up to five years in prison, a fine of up to $2,500, or both.
Subsequent stalking convictions can add another five years of prison time. A fine of up to $5,000 is also possible.
Continuing to engage in a course of repeated non-consensual contacts after a victim has requested that the perpetrator stop creates a rebuttable presumption that the conduct caused the victim to feel threatened, afraid, intimidated, harassed, or molested. This presumption significantly shifts the burden of proof for the defendant and makes a conviction more likely. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 1173
Free Consultation: Muskogee Felony Defense Attorney
If you are facing criminal charges of any kind, you need help to build a solid defense. Even small facts can make a big difference. Don’t try to go it alone. Get the help you need when it matters most.
Our experienced attorneys are here to help. We know your freedom is important and will work with you to preserve it. Our attorneys know how to build a strong defense.
Call a Muskogee felony defense attorney today at 918-884-7774 to ask questions or schedule a free, confidential consultation.