The term “stalking” is tossed around a lot. In general, “stalking” is used to describe harassing conduct, but the term is used so often that many times innocent contacts are charged as serious criminal offenses.
Minnesota Harassment Law
Under Minnesota law, harassment is defined as engaging in deliberate conduct which:
- The actor knows or has reason to know would cause the victim to feel frightened, threatened, oppressed, persecuted, or intimidated
- Causes this reaction on the part of the victim
Most troubling is that the law requires no proof of intent. This means that in a prosecution for harassment or stalking, the state is not required to prove that the accused meant to frighten, threaten, oppress, persecute, or intimidate the victim.
Harassment in Minnesota
Harassment is a gross misdemeanor offense that brings consequences of up to a year in jail and a $1000 fine. Harassment consists of many activities, such as:
- Directly or indirectly manifesting a purpose or intent to injure the person, property, or rights of another by the commission of an unlawful act
- Stalking, following, monitoring, or pursuing another, whether in person or through technological or other means
- Returning to the property of another if the person is without claim of right to the property or consent of one with authority to consent
- Repeatedly making telephone calls, or inducing a victim to make telephone calls to the person, whether or not conversation ensues
- Making or causing another person’s telephone to repeatedly or continuously ring
- Repeatedly mailing or delivering, including electronically, letters, telegrams, messages, packages, or other objects
- Knowingly making false allegations against a peace officer concerning the officer’s performance of official duties with intent to influence or tamper with the officer’s performance of official duties
Minnesota Stalking & Harassment Lawyers
Harassment and stalking may become felony offenses punishable by up to five years in prison or to payment of a fine of not more than $10,000 if:
- The act is motivated by a person’s perceived race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability, age, or national origin
- The person commits the offense by falsely impersonating someone else
- The person possesses a dangerous weapon at the time of the offense
- The person harasses another with intent to influence a juror or a judicial proceeding
- The person harasses with intent to retaliate against a judicial officer, prosecutor, defense attorney, or officer of the court, because of that person’s performance of official duties in connection with a judicial proceeding
- The person commits an offense against a victim under the age of 18, if the actor is more than 36 months older than the victim
Stalking and harassment crimes carry harsh penalties in the state of Minnesota. It is essential to have a Minnesota criminal defense attorney by your side to fight for your rights and provide you with the greatest defense possible.