stalking is a crime
Burglary, larceny, and motor vehicle theft as defined
IN NORTH CAROLINA
Stalking and Harassment Charges
What To Expect
North Carolina law makes it illegal to harass or stalk a person under several different law—sometimes even at the felony level. If someone is alleging that you harassed or are stalking them, this can also have consequences at both the criminal and civil levels if the person also files a restraining order against you. Please contact one of PRJ’s skilled attorneys as soon as possible to discuss your case’s individualized needs.
Under N.C.G.S. § 14-277.3A, stalking requires that on more than one occasion, the defendant willfully harassed another person without having a legal purpose to do so, or willfully engaged in two or more acts directed at a specific person without any legal purpose, while knowing (or when they should have known) that such acts would cause a reasonable person to either:
• Be put in fear of continued harassment, bodily injury or death to the point that it results in substantial emotional distress; or
• Fear for their own safety or the safety of their close personal associates or immediate family.
For a first conviction, stalking is a Class A1 misdemeanor. However, if you have a previous conviction for stalking, the offense becomes a Class F felony. Similarly, if the offense is committed while the defendant is subject to a court order prohibiting such conduct (a restraining order), the offense becomes a Class H felony.
Harassing phone calls
This offense is a Class 2 misdemeanor under N.C.G.S. § 14-196. This offense is typically prosecuted where the defendant is alleged to have used a phone to:
- Threaten to inflict physical injury to another’s property, or to inflict bodily harm on that person, their child, other dependent, spouse or sibling, or to threaten for the purpose of extorting the person;
- Call repeatedly for the purpose of annoying, abusing, embarrassing, harassing, threatening or terrifying any person at that number (whether or not conversation actually ensues);
- Call and hang up with the intent to disrupt that person’s phone service (i.e., to cause the line to be busy);
- Call someone and make statements the defendant knows are false regarding the death, disfigurement, injury, illness, or indecent or criminal conduct of that person or of any member of their household or family, with the intent of annoying, abusing, embarrassing, harassing, threatening or terrifying; or
- Knowingly let any phone under the defendant’s control be used for any of the above conduct.
If you are facing any of the above charges, or have had a restraining order filed against you including those allegations, contact an attorney as soon as possible to begin building your defense. Our attorneys at PRJ Law have decades of experience defending individuals against such charges and against domestic violence and civil restraining orders.
Although it may seem counterintuitive, communicating threats (a Class 1 misdemeanor) is actually punished more severely in North Carolina than simple assault (a Class 2 misdemeanor). N.C.G.S. § 14-277.1 requires that:
- The defendant willfully threatens to damage the other person’s property, or to physically injure the person, their child, other dependent, spouse or sibling;
- The defendant communicates that threat to the other person via any means, including verbally or in writing;
- The threat is made in a way and under circumstances that would cause a reasonable person in that person’s shoes to believe that the threat is likely to be carried out; and
- The person threatened does in fact believe that the threat will be carried out.
Even if the defendant is not the party who communicates the threat to the other person, this can still count as communicating threats. For example, if Anne tells Bill she intends to hurt Carl, Anne can still violate this statute if Bill tells Carl of the threat.