WA State Harassment and Stalking Law
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If you, or someone you know, has been charged with a Washington state harassment offense the government must prove the elements beyond a reasonable doubt that are laid out under the Washington State criminal statutes of the offense.
Washington State harassment charges are broad and include not only harassment, but stalking and gang intimidation.
Harassment itself may be a gross-misdemeanor or felony.
If you have any questions about the elements of the Washington State harassment charges, please feel free to contact us for a free consultation.
Revised Code of Washington Statutes
Below is the Revised Code of Washington Statutes (what the Washington state government most prove beyond a reasonable doubt to convict you of this crime and what we will defend you against):
9A.46.010 Legislative Finding
The legislature finds that the prevention of serious, personal harassment is an important government objective. Toward that end, this chapter is aimed at making unlawful the repeated invasions of a person's privacy by acts and threats which show a pattern of harassment designed to coerce, intimidate, or humiliate the victim.
The legislature further finds that the protection of such persons from harassment can be accomplished without infringing on constitutionally protected speech or activity.
9A.46.020 Definition — Penalties
(1) A person is guilty of harassment if:
(a) Without lawful authority, the person knowingly threatens:
(i) To cause bodily injury immediately or in the future to the person threatened or to any other person; or
(ii) To cause physical damage to the property of a person other than the actor; or
(iii) To subject the person threatened or any other person to physical confinement or restraint; or
(iv) Maliciously to do any other act which is intended to substantially harm the person threatened or another with respect to his or her physical or mental health or safety; and
(b) The person by words or conduct places the person threatened in reasonable fear that the threat will be carried out. "Words or conduct" includes, in addition to any other form of communication or conduct, the sending of an electronic communication.
(2)(a) Except as provided in (b) of this subsection, a person who harasses another is guilty of a gross misdemeanor.
(b) A person who harasses another is guilty of a class C felony if either of the following applies:
(i) The person has previously been convicted in this or any other state of any crime of harassment, as defined in RCW 9A.46.060, of the same victim or members of the victim's family or household or any person specifically named in a no-contact or no-harassment order; or
(ii) the person harasses another person under subsection (1)(a)(i) of this section by threatening to kill the person threatened or any other person.
(3) The penalties provided in this section for harassment do not preclude the victim from seeking any other remedy otherwise available under law.
9A.46.030Place where committed
Any harassment offense committed as set forth in RCW 9A.46.020 or 9A.46.110 may be deemed to have been committed where the conduct occurred or at the place from which the threat or threats were made or at the place where the threats were received.
9A.46.040Court-ordered requirements upon person charged with crime — Violation
(1) Because of the likelihood of repeated harassment directed at those who have been victims of harassment in the past, when any defendant charged with a crime involving harassment is released from custody before trial on bail or personal recognizance, the court authorizing the release may require that the defendant:
(a) Stay away from the home, school, business, or place of employment of the victim or victims of the alleged offense or other location, as shall be specifically named by the court in the order;
(b) Refrain from contacting, intimidating, threatening, or otherwise interfering with the victim or victims of the alleged offense and such other persons, including but not limited to members of the family or household of the victim, as shall be specifically named by the court in the order.
(2) An intentional violation of a court order issued under this section is a misdemeanor. The written order releasing the defendant shall contain the court's directives and shall bear the legend: Violation of this order is a criminal offense under chapter 9A.46 RCW. A certified copy of the order shall be provided to the victim by the clerk of the court.
9A.46.050 Arraignment — No-Contact Order
A defendant who is charged by citation, complaint, or information with an offense involving harassment and not arrested shall appear in court for arraignment in person as soon as practicable, but in no event later than fourteen days after the next day on which court is in session following the issuance of the citation or the filing of the complaint or information.
At that appearance, the court shall determine the necessity of imposing a no-contact or no-harassment order, and consider the provisions of RCW 9.41.800, or other conditions of pretrial release according to the procedures established by court rule for preliminary appearance or an arraignment.
9A.46.060 Crimes Included in Harassment
As used in this chapter, "harassment" may include but is not limited to any of the following crimes:
(1) Harassment (RCW 9A.46.020);
(2) Malicious harassment (RCW 9A.36.080);
(3) Telephone harassment (RCW 9.61.230);
(4) Assault in the first degree (RCW 9A.36.011);
(5) Assault of a child in the first degree (RCW 9A.36.120);
(6) Assault in the second degree (RCW 9A.36.021);
(7) Assault of a child in the second degree (RCW 9A.36.130);
(8) Assault in the fourth degree (RCW 9A.36.041);
(9) Reckless endangerment (RCW 9A.36.050);
(10) Extortion in the first degree (RCW 9A.56.120);
(11) Extortion in the second degree (RCW 9A.56.130);
(12) Coercion (RCW 9A.36.070);
(13) Burglary in the first degree (RCW 9A.52.020);
(14) Burglary in the second degree (RCW 9A.52.030);
(15) Criminal trespass in the first degree (RCW 9A.52.070);
(16) Criminal trespass in the second degree (RCW 9A.52.080);
(17) Malicious mischief in the first degree (RCW 9A.48.070);
(18) Malicious mischief in the second degree (RCW 9A.48.080);
(19) Malicious mischief in the third degree (RCW 9A.48.090);
(20) Kidnapping in the first degree (RCW 9A.40.020);
(21) Kidnapping in the second degree (RCW 9A.40.030);
(22) Unlawful imprisonment (RCW 9A.40.040);
(23) Rape in the first degree (RCW 9A.44.040);
(24) Rape in the second degree (RCW 9A.44.050);
(25) Rape in the third degree (RCW 9A.44.060);
(26) Indecent liberties (RCW 9A.44.100);
(27) Rape of a child in the first degree (RCW 9A.44.073);
(28) Rape of a child in the second degree (RCW 9A.44.076);
(29) Rape of a child in the third degree (RCW 9A.44.079);
(30) Child molestation in the first degree (RCW 9A.44.083);
(31) Child molestation in the second degree (RCW 9A.44.086);
(32) Child molestation in the third degree (RCW 9A.44.089);
(33) Stalking (RCW 9A.46.110); (34) Cyberstalking (RCW 9.61.260);
(35) Residential burglary (RCW 9A.52.025);
(36) Violation of a temporary, permanent, or final protective order issued pursuant to chapter 7.90, 9A.46, 10.14, 10.99, 26.09, or 26.50 RCW;
(37) Unlawful discharge of a laser in the first degree (RCW 9A.49.020); and
(38) Unlawful discharge of a laser in the second degree (RCW 9A.49.030).
9A.46.070 Enforcement of Orders Restricting Contact
Any law enforcement agency in this state may enforce this chapter as it relates to orders restricting the defendants' ability to have contact with the victim or others.
9A.46.080 Order Restricting Contact — Violation
The victim shall be informed by local law enforcement agencies or the prosecuting attorney of the final disposition of the case in which the victim is involved. If a defendant is found guilty of a crime of harassment and a condition of the sentence restricts the defendant's ability to have contact with the victim or witnesses, the condition shall be recorded and a written certified copy of that order shall be provided to the victim or witnesses by the clerk of the court. Willful violation of a court order issued under this section is a misdemeanor. The written order shall contain the court's directives and shall bear the legend: Violation of this order is a criminal offense under chapter 9A.46 RCW and will subject a violator to arrest.
9A.46.090 Nonliability of Peace Officer
A peace officer shall not be held liable in any civil action for an arrest based on probable cause, enforcement in good faith of a court order, or any other action or omission in good faith under this chapter arising from an alleged incident of harassment brought by any party to the incident.
9A.46.100 "Convicted," Time When
As used in RCW 9.61.230, 9.61.260, 9A.46.020, or 9A.46.110, a person has been "convicted" at such time as a plea of guilty has been accepted or a verdict of guilty has been filed, notwithstanding the pendency of any future proceedings including but not limited to sentencing, post-trial motions, and appeals.
(1) A person commits the crime of stalking if, without lawful authority and under circumstances not amounting to a felony attempt of another crime:
(a) He or she intentionally and repeatedly harasses or repeatedly follows another person; and
(b) The person being harassed or followed is placed in fear that the stalker intends to injure the person, another person, or property of the person or of another person. The feeling of fear must be one that a reasonable person in the same situation would experience under all the circumstances; and
(c) The stalker either:
(i) Intends to frighten, intimidate, or harass the person; or
(ii) Knows or reasonably should know that the person is afraid, intimidated, or harassed even if the stalker did not intend to place the person in fear or intimidate or harass the person.
(2)(a) It is not a defense to the crime of stalking under subsection (1)(c)(i) of this section that the stalker was not given actual notice that the person did not want the stalker to contact or follow the person; and
(b) It is not a defense to the crime of stalking under subsection (1)(c)(ii) of this section that the stalker did not intend to frighten, intimidate, or harass the person.
(3) It shall be a defense to the crime of stalking that the defendant is a licensed private investigator acting within the capacity of his or her license as provided by chapter 18.165 RCW.
(4) Attempts to contact or follow the person after being given actual notice that the person does not want to be contacted or followed constitutes prima facie evidence that the stalker intends to intimidate or harass the person. "Contact" includes, in addition to any other form of contact or communication, the sending of an electronic communication to the person.
(5)(a) Except as provided in (b) of this subsection, a person who stalks another person is guilty of a gross misdemeanor.
(b) A person who stalks another is guilty of a class C felony if any of the following applies:
(i) The stalker has previously been convicted in this state or any other state of any crime of harassment, as defined in RCW 9A.46.060, of the same victim or members of the victim's family or household or any person specifically named in a protective order;
(ii) the stalking violates any protective order protecting the person being stalked;
(iii) the stalker has previously been convicted of a gross misdemeanor or felony stalking offense under this section for stalking another person;
(iv) the stalker was armed with a deadly weapon, as defined in *RCW 9.94A.602, while stalking the person;
(v)(A) the stalker's victim is or was a law enforcement officer; judge; juror; attorney; victim advocate; legislator; community corrections' officer; an employee, contract staff person, or volunteer of a correctional agency; or an employee of the child protective, child welfare, or adult protective services division within the department of social and health services; and (B) the stalker stalked the victim to retaliate against the victim for an act the victim performed during the course of official duties or to influence the victim's performance of official duties; or
(vi) the stalker's victim is a current, former, or prospective witness in an adjudicative proceeding, and the stalker stalked the victim to retaliate against the victim as a result of the victim's testimony or potential testimony.
(6) As used in this section:
(a) "Correctional agency" means a person working for the department of natural resources in a correctional setting or any state, county, or municipally operated agency with the authority to direct the release of a person serving a sentence or term of confinement and includes but is not limited to the department of corrections, the indeterminate sentence review board, and the department of social and health services.
(b) "Follows" means deliberately maintaining visual or physical proximity to a specific person over a period of time. A finding that the alleged stalker repeatedly and deliberately appears at the person's home, school, place of employment, business, or any other location to maintain visual or physical proximity to the person is sufficient to find that the alleged stalker follows the person. It is not necessary to establish that the alleged stalker follows the person while in transit from one location to another.
(c) "Harasses" means unlawful harassment as defined in RCW 10.14.020.
(d) "Protective order" means any temporary or permanent court order prohibiting or limiting violence against, harassment of, contact or communication with, or physical proximity to another person.
(e) "Repeatedly" means on two or more separate occasions.
9A.46.120 Criminal Gang Intimidation
A person commits the offense of criminal gang intimidation if the person threatens another person with bodily injury because the other person refuses to join or has attempted to withdraw from a gang, as defined in RCW 28A.600.455, if the person who threatens the victim or the victim attends or is registered in a public or alternative school. Criminal gang intimidation is a class C felony.
9A.46.900 Short Title
This act shall be known as the anti-harassment act of 1985.
9A.46.905 Effective Date — 1985 c 288
This act is necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, and safety, the support of the state government and its existing public institutions, and shall take effect May 1, 1985.
9A.46.910 Severability — 1985 c 288
If any provision of this act or its application to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the remainder of the act or the application of the provision to other persons or circumstances is not affected.