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What is stalking and what are its penalties in Oregon?

On Behalf of | Mar 10, 2022 | Criminal Defense |

In Oregon, when people are confronted with allegations of illegal behavior after a confrontation with a spouse or other household member, it is often categorized under domestic violence or abuse. That frequently includes physical assaults of various severity, menacing and harassment. Another aspect of domestic abuse is stalking. A person who is accused of stalking should be aware of the potential penalties that can be assessed if there is a conviction. Much like any accusation centered around a domestic incident, this can lead to extended challenges in the person’s life. Therefore, it is vital to craft a viable defense to avoid the worst consequences.

Understanding the Oregon law for stalking

According to state law, a person who is said to have alarmed or coerced another person or someone in that person’s family or household by constantly contacting them when that contact is unwanted, it is stalking. The situation must make it objectively reasonable for the person who is being contacted or harassed to feel alarmed by the behavior. There must also be concerns about safety because of the repeated contact. If, for example, a person is separated from his wife, is sending messages and calling after being told to stop and it is causing fear that it could cause physical harm, this could result in a stalking charge.

Stalking charges can have a range of penalties. If it is a first offense, then it is a Class A misdemeanor. This can result in being incarcerated for 364 days. The penalties can be worse depending on whether the person charged had a previous conviction for stalking or violated a protective order. If this is the case, then the person will be charged with a Class C felony. That can result in five years in prison.

When charged with stalking, a comprehensive defense can be vital

Although criminal law violations with the mere mentioning of the word “stalking” will bring about images of a person who is behaving in a threatening way and causing fear in a spouse or other family member, it does not automatically imply guilt. There could be issues between the parties, a misunderstanding or a simple disagreement that spiraled out of control. For those who are facing a first offense or have been previously convicted, it can cause them myriad problems legally, personally and professionally. The entire case should be assessed and the charges investigated from the perspective of the person arrested. Having experienced guidance may be essential to reach a positive outcome.