New Stalking Law: Arizona's SB 2419

Criminal Defense Attorney Assisting Residents of Tempe and Surrounding Cities

Serving people throughout the Phoenix area, James E. Novak represents defendants who have been charged with stalking and a wide range of other crimes. Mr. Novak is a former prosecutor with 17 years of experience as a criminal defense attorney. He uses his background, skill, and resources to build the strongest possible arguments on behalf of his clients. Criminal cases often involve complicated legal issues regarding whether the police exceeded their authority in gathering evidence and making an arrest, and whether prosecutors have properly proved that the person charged committed the crime. Tempe stalking lawyer James E. Novak fights tirelessly to limit the impact of criminal charges by getting them reduced or dropped whenever possible.

Expansion of the Arizona Stalking Law Under SB 2419

Arizona legislators recently updated state law to expand the definition of criminal stalking. This crime generally refers to unwanted attention, following, harassment, intimidation, and other behavior that makes the person being stalked uncomfortable. State law defines the crime as conduct that would cause a reasonable person to fear for their and their family’s lives or safety.

The question of what constitutes stalking – people generally have the right to be in public places and to communicate with one another – has long been fuzzy territory. Under SB 2419, the state’s lawmakers updated the definition of stalking to encompass specific activities considered to be part of the crime.

The new law expands the definition of stalking to behavior that causes a reasonable person to suffer emotional distress or fear that his or her property (or an animal) will be damaged or destroyed. It also includes what some might consider to be “jealous boyfriend” behavior, in which the person being stalked reasonably fears harm to a person with whom he or she has had a previous romantic relationship.

The law for the first time additionally states that stalking can occur through email and electronic means, like Facebook, Twitter, and social media outlets. This includes the sending of words or images via email and social media.

The new stalking law is designed to better protect victims from a wide range of unwelcome, harassing, and even scary behavior. However, it also raises a number of questions about how it will be enforced by police and interpreted by courts. When does an online argument that gets a little heated become a case of criminal stalking? Who counts as a former romantic partner? Under which circumstances would a reasonable person reasonably fear harm? This is why it is vital that a person suspected of or charged with stalking seek the advice of an experienced attorney as soon as possible.

Consult a Tempe Lawyer to Fight a Stalking Charge

Tempe stalking attorney James E. Novak represents people throughout the Phoenix area who are facing prosecution for a wide range of felonies and misdemeanors. If you or a loved one has been charged with stalking or another crime, contact our firm online or at (480) 413-1499 for a free consultation. He can assist residents of Mesa, Chandler, Gilbert, Scottsdale, and other cities throughout Maricopa County. James E. Novak is also available to help people who need a domestic violence attorney or representation in other criminal matters, such as DUI, drug charges, theft offenses, sex crimes, or assault and battery.