Criminal Stalking Laws – How Does Nevada Compare to Other States?
Stalking laws are in place to protect people from suffering reasonable fear at the hands of a specific person. Each state defines the crime of stalking differently, and has separate stalking statutes. The Nevada stalking laws have certain requirements, standards, classifications, and repercussions that other states may not have. Learning your rights against stalkers in your state will allow you to better protect yourself.
How Nevada Defines Stalking
Nevada laws against stalking strive to prevent individuals from harassing and intentionally terrifying, threatening, or intimidating citizens by following, detaining, stalking, harassing, or imposing any restraint on their personal liberties. According to Nevada Law Code, section 200.575, a stalker is any person who willfully or maliciously behaves in such a way that causes someone else to feel frightened, terrorized, harassed, or fearful for his or her own safety or the safety of a family member.
Most states, including Nevada, require victims fear for their safety or that an immediate family member is in danger to make a claim of stalking. However, some states extend covered targets to include friends, someone from a continued relationship, or the victim’s attorney. In Nevada, stalking can be anything from calling regularly and sending unsolicited gifts to following someone around. Any type of contact (usually a pattern) that causes a reasonable person to fear can qualify as stalking.
In some cases, a victim mistakenly accuses someone else of stalking. In Las Vegas, for example, it’s easy to mistake someone lurking on the streets for a stalker, and jump to conclusions. Nevada does not require proof of injury or damage to accuse a stalker, leading to many unfairly convicted “stalkers” in our state. Many attorneys can help inform you of the Nevada stalking laws or help defend you if someone accuses you of stalking.
Consequences: Nevada Stalking Laws
In the United States, 14 states categorize stalking as a felony for the first offense. Nevada is not one of these states; stalking is only a misdemeanor upon first offense, and a gross misdemeanor upon subsequent offenses. Nevada is one of 35 states that designate stalking as a felony for the second offense or when the stalking includes aggravating. Aggravated stalking involves factors such as:
- A deadly weapon
- Violation of a condition of parole
- Violation of a court order
- A victim who is younger than 16
- The same victim from prior occasions
Maryland is the only state in which stalking is always a misdemeanor and never a felony. In Nevada, a person has committed a category B felony if he or she commits the crime of stalking in conjunction with a threat to the person with the reasonable fear of death or bodily harm. The courts punish these criminals with imprisonment for a minimum of two years and a maximum of 15 years in the state prison. The courts may also impose a fine of no more than $5,000.
If a stalker commits the crime using the Internet, a network site, text messaging, e-mail, or other electronic means of communication, Nevada punishes this crime with a category C felony. The courts can impose criminal penalties for stalking in addition to other penalties for crimes such as trespassing, breaking and entering, or intimidation of a witness on top of stalking charges depending on the circumstances.
Consult with a local attorney in Nevada about other charges the courts may apply in your particular situation. If you’ve been the victim of stalking in Nevada, your attorney can gather evidence that supports your claim and file an official complaint with the courts. Obtaining a restraining order against someone who threatens or frightens you may be the only way to ensure your safety and peace of mind.