Welcome to the Stalking Resource Center

The mission of the Stalking Resource Center is to enhance the ability of professionals, organizations, and systems to effectively respond to stalking.

Washington

This page lists the most applicable state crimes addressing stalking. However, depending on the facts of the case, a stalker might also be charged with other crimes, such as trespassing, intimidation of a witness, breaking and entering, etc. Check your state code or consult with your local prosecutor about other charges that might apply in a particular case.

Stalking

Also See: Washington Stalking Order of Protection

Also See: Washington Civil Stalking Law

Analyzing Stalking Laws


Rev. Code Wash. (ARCW) § 10.14.020. Definitions. (2011)
Unless the context clearly requires otherwise, the definitions in this section apply throughout this chapter.

(1) "Course of conduct" means a pattern of conduct composed of a series of acts over a period of time, however short, evidencing a continuity of purpose. "Course of conduct" includes, in addition to any other form of communication, contact, or conduct, the sending of an electronic communication, but does not include constitutionally protected free speech. Constitutionally protected activity is not included within the meaning of "course of conduct."

(2)  "Unlawful harassment" means a knowing and willful course of conduct directed at a specific person which seriously alarms, annoys, harasses, or is detrimental to such person, and which serves no legitimate or lawful purpose. The course of conduct shall be such as would cause a reasonable person to suffer substantial emotional distress, and shall actually cause substantial emotional distress to the petitioner, or, when the course of conduct would cause a reasonable parent to fear for the well-being of their child.

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Stalking

Rev. Code Wash. (ARCW) § 9A.46.110. Stalking. (2007)
(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.

Rev. Code Wash. (ARCW) § 9.61.260. Cyberstalking. (2004)
(1)  A person is guilty of cyberstalking if he or she, with intent to harass, intimidate, torment, or embarrass any other person, and under circumstances not constituting telephone harassment, makes an electronic communication to such other person or a third party:

(a)  Using any lewd, lascivious, indecent, or obscene words, images, or language, or suggesting the commission of any lewd or lascivious act;

(b)  Anonymously or repeatedly whether or not conversation occurs; or

(c)  Threatening to inflict injury on the person or property of the person called or any member of his or her family or household.

 (2)  Cyberstalking is a gross misdemeanor, except as provided in subsection (3) of this section.

(3)  Cyberstalking is a class C felony if either of the following applies:

(a)  The perpetrator has previously been convicted of the crime of harassment, as defined in RCW 9A.46.060, with the same victim or a member of the victim's family or household or any person specifically named in a no-contact order or no-harassment order in this or any other state; or

(b)  The perpetrator engages in the behavior prohibited under subsection (1)(c) of this section by threatening to kill the person threatened or any other person.

(4)  Any offense committed under this section may be deemed to have been committed either at the place from which the communication was made or at the place where the communication was received.

(5)  For purposes of this section, "electronic communication" means the transmission of information by wire, radio, optical cable, electromagnetic, or other similar means. "Electronic communication" includes, but is not limited to, electronic mail, internet-based communications, pager service, and electronic text messaging.

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