Washington Stalking Laws

Celebrities aren't the only ones who have stalkers. In fact, stalking can happen to anyone and it's usually by someone you know. According to one study, nearly 3 in 4 stalking victims knew their offender in some capacity.

Stalking is not a one-time act, but rather defined as a pattern of malicious behavior intended to cause fear or apprehension in another. For example, repeatedly showing up at an ex-spouse's place of employment just to intimidate or irritate that person would be considered an act of stalking or harassment.

What Are Some Other Examples Of Washington's Stalking Laws?

Examples of stalking behaviors include:

  • Unwanted phone calls or text messages;
  • Unsolicited or unwanted letters or e-mails;
  • Following, spying, or monitoring a victim;
  • Showing up at places you know the victim will be at without a legitimate reason;
  • Leaving unwanted items, presents, or flowers
  • Posting information or spreading rumors about the victim on the internet, on social media, in a public place, or by word of mouth.

Penalties

Under Washington stalking laws, first offenses are charged as misdemeanors (unless there are other aggravating factors), while repeat offenses are charged as a Class C felony. In many instances a victim can file for a stalking protection order against the offender.

Keep in mind, if you or someone you know is being stalked or harassed, consider contacting the police or calling 911 as soon as possible.

The basic provisions of Washington's stalking laws are listed below, with links to related articles and resources.

Code Section 9A.46.110
Stalking Defined as Intentionally and repeatedly harasses or follows and causes reasonable fear and s/he intends to frighten, intimidate, or harass or knows or reasonably knows acts cause fear or harassment and without lawful authority and doesn't amount to a felony attempt of another crime
Punishment/Classification Gross misdemeanor. If previously convicted of harassing same victim or violating protective order of victim; or armed with deadly weapon; or victim was a public officer stalked in retaliation; or victim is/was a witness stalked in retaliation: Class C felony
Penalty for Repeat Offense Class C felony
Arrest or Restraining Order Specifically Authorized by Statute? -
Constitutionally Protected Activities Exempted? -

Note: State laws are constantly changing -- contact a Washington criminal defense attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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Washington Stalking Laws: Related Resources

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