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Utah

Local Resources

Stalking often occurs along with other crimes, like domestic violence and sexual assault. While there are no state coalitions for victims of stalking, many domestic violence and sexual assault programs are able to provide assistance. Many of the resources can be confusing to navigate, victim advocates are available to talk to you about protection orders, and your states criminal stalking laws. Victim advocates can also assist you with safety planning, keeping a log of stalking incidents, and how to be safe when using technology. Find services and/or an advocate in your county using the following links:

Protection Orders

A protective order is a legal order issued by a state court that requires one person to stop harming and/or contacting another. Each state may have several types of protective orders: civil protective orders, criminal protective orders, or restraining orders, and they may have different names (for example, in Pennsylvania, there are “protection from abuse” orders). Some protective orders are specific to domestic and interfamilial violence, while others are broader, covering stalking, harassment, sexual assault, and other types of misconduct. An individual can get a protection order when the perpetrator is proven to have acted with intent to cause the victim emotional distress or fear for his/her safety, even when the perpetrator has not been charged or convicted. They permit the victim to call the police to have the abuser arrested if the abuser violates any part of the order.

Click here for more information on protection orders in Utah.

Criminal Stalking Laws

Criminal stalking laws define when a perpetrator may be charged with the crime of stalking, and what infractions are required to bring such a charge. The laws usually define various misdemeanor and felony offenses that correlate with the severity of the transgression. Based on police investigation, a state prosecutor will determine what charges to bring against an offender, and will then file charges against the perpetrator (formally known as an indictment). A trial typically follows, and the defendant may be offered a plea agreement. The criminal statute will also delineate potential punishments, if the perpetrator is convicted, which may include probation, house arrest, and incarceration, among others. Restitution may be requested and awarded to the victim by court order following a conviction, usually at a sentencing hearing.

Click here for more information on criminal stalking laws in Utah.

National Resources

  • VictimConnect Resource Center - Confidential information, support and referrals for victims of crime via telephone, chat and text including safety planning and crime reporting.
  • WomensLaw.org - State-specific legal information related regarding protection orders, custody, divorce, state gun laws and more. WomensLaw.org also operates an email hotline where victims, their family/friends and advocates can write to ask legal questions.

Protection Orders

§77-3a-101  Civil Stalking Injunction -- Petition -- Ex Parte Injunction 

(1) As used in this chapter, "stalking" means the crime of stalking as defined in Section 76-5-106.5. Stalking injunctions may not be obtained against law enforcement officers, governmental investigators, or licensed private investigators, acting in their official capacity.

(2) Any person who believes that he or she is the victim of stalking may file a verified written petition for a civil stalking injunction against the alleged stalker with the district court in the district in which the petitioner or respondent resides or in which any of the events occurred. A minor with his or her parent or guardian may file a petition on his or her own behalf, or a parent, guardian, or custodian may file a petition on the minor's behalf.

(3) The Administrative Office of the Courts shall develop and adopt uniform forms for petitions, ex parte civil stalking injunctions, civil stalking injunctions, service and any other necessary forms in accordance with the provisions of this chapter on or before July 1, 2001. The office shall provide the forms to the clerk of each district court.

(a) All petitions, injunctions, ex parte injunctions, and any other necessary forms shall be issued in the form adopted by the Administrative Office of the Courts.

(b) The offices of the court clerk shall provide the forms to persons seeking to proceed under this chapter.

(4) The petition for a civil stalking injunction shall include: 

(a) the name of the petitioner; however, the petitioner's address shall be disclosed to the court for purposes of service, but, on request of the petitioner, the address may not be listed on the petition, and shall be protected and maintained in a separate document or automated database, not subject to release, disclosure, or any form of public access except as ordered by the court for good cause shown;

(b) the name and address, if known, of the respondent;

(c) specific events and dates of the actions constituting the alleged stalking;

(d) if there is a prior court order concerning the same conduct, the name of the court in which the order was rendered; and

(e) corroborating evidence of stalking, which may be in the form of a police report, affidavit, record, statement, item, letter, or any other evidence which tends to prove the allegation of stalking.

(5)

(a) If the court determines that there is reason to believe that an offense of stalking has occurred, an ex parte civil stalking injunction may be issued by the court that includes any of the following:

(i) respondent may be enjoined from committing stalking;

(ii) respondent may be restrained from coming near the residence, place of employment, or school of the other party or specifically designated locations or persons;

(iii) respondent may be restrained from contacting, directly or indirectly, the other party, including personal, written or telephone contact with the other party, the other party's employers, employees, fellow workers or others with whom communication would be likely to cause annoyance or alarm to the other party; or

(iv) any other relief necessary or convenient for the protection of the petitioner and other specifically designated persons under the circumstances.

(b) If the petitioner and respondent have minor children, the court shall follow the provisions of Section 78B-7-106 and take into consideration the respondent's custody and parent-time rights while ensuring the safety of the victim and the minor children. If the court issues a civil stalking injunction, but declines to address custody and parent-time issues, a copy of the stalking injunction shall be filed in any action in which custody and parent-time issues are being considered. 

(6) Within 10 days of service of the ex parte civil stalking injunction, the respondent is entitled to request, in writing, an evidentiary hearing on the civil stalking injunction. 

(a) A hearing requested by the respondent shall be held within 10 days from the date the request is filed with the court unless the court finds compelling reasons to continue the hearing. The hearing shall then be held at the earliest possible time. The burden is on the petitioner to show by a preponderance of the evidence that stalking of the petitioner by the respondent has occurred.

(b) An ex parte civil stalking injunction issued under this section shall state on its face:

(i) that the respondent is entitled to a hearing, upon written request within 10 days of the service of the order;

(ii) the name and address of the district court where the request may be filed;

(iii) that if the respondent fails to request a hearing within 10 days of service, the ex parte civil stalking injunction is automatically modified to a civil stalking injunction without further notice to the respondent and that the civil stalking injunction expires three years after service of the ex parte civil stalking injunction; and

(iv) that if the respondent requests, in writing, a hearing after the ten-day period after service, the court shall set a hearing within a reasonable time from the date requested.

(7) At the hearing, the court may modify, revoke, or continue the injunction. The burden is on the petitioner to show by a preponderance of the evidence that stalking of the petitioner by the respondent has occurred. 

(8) The ex parte civil stalking injunction and civil stalking injunction shall include the following statement: "Attention. This is an official court order. If you disobey this order, the court may find you in contempt. You may also be arrested and prosecuted for the crime of stalking and any other crime you may have committed in disobeying this order."

(9) The ex parte civil stalking injunction shall be served on the respondent within 90 days from the date it is signed. An ex parte civil stalking injunction is effective upon service. If no hearing is requested in writing by the respondent within 10 days of service of the ex parte civil stalking injunction, the ex parte civil stalking injunction automatically becomes a civil stalking injunction without further notice to the respondent and expires three years from the date of service of the ex parte civil stalking injunction.

(10) If the respondent requests a hearing after the ten-day period after service, the court shall set a hearing within a reasonable time from the date requested. At the hearing, the burden is on the respondent to show good cause why the civil stalking injunction should be dissolved or modified.

(11) Within 24 hours after the affidavit or acceptance of service has been returned, excluding weekends and holidays, the clerk of the court from which the ex parte civil stalking injunction was issued shall enter a copy of the ex parte civil stalking injunction and proof of service or acceptance of service in the statewide network for warrants or a similar system.

(a) The effectiveness of an ex parte civil stalking injunction or civil stalking injunction shall not depend upon its entry in the statewide system and, for enforcement purposes, a certified copy of an ex parte civil stalking injunction or civil stalking injunction is presumed to be a valid existing order of the court for a period of three years from the date of service of the ex parte civil stalking injunction on the respondent.

(b) Any changes or modifications of the ex parte civil stalking injunction are effective upon service on the respondent. The original ex parte civil stalking injunction continues in effect until service of the changed or modified civil stalking injunction on the respondent.

(12) Within 24 hours after the affidavit or acceptance of service has been returned, excluding weekends and holidays, the clerk of the court shall enter a copy of the changed or modified civil stalking injunction and proof of service or acceptance of service in the statewide network for warrants or a similar system. 

(13) The ex parte civil stalking injunction or civil stalking injunction may be dissolved at any time upon application of the petitioner to the court which granted it.

(14) The court clerk shall provide, without charge, to the petitioner one certified copy of the injunction issued by the court and one certified copy of the proof of service of the injunction on the respondent. Charges may be imposed by the clerk's office for any additional copies, certified or not certified in accordance with Rule 4-202.08 of the Code of Judicial Administration.

(15) The remedies provided in this chapter for enforcement of the orders of the court are in addition to any other civil and criminal remedies available. The district court shall hear and decide all matters arising pursuant to this section.

(16) After a hearing with notice to the affected party, the court may enter an order requiring any party to pay the costs of the action, including reasonable attorney fees.

(17) This chapter does not apply to protective orders or ex parte protective orders issued pursuant to Title 78B, Chapter 7, Part 1, Cohabitant Abuse Act, or to preliminary injunctions issued pursuant to an action for dissolution of marriage or legal separation.

 

§77-3a-103  Enforcement 

(1) A peace or law enforcement officer shall, without a warrant, arrest a person if the peace or law enforcement officer has probable cause to believe that the person has violated an ex parte civil stalking injunction or civil stalking injunction issued pursuant to this chapter or has violated a permanent criminal stalking injunction issued pursuant to Section 76-5-106.5, whether or not the violation occurred in the presence of the officer.

(2) A violation of an ex parte civil stalking injunction or of a civil stalking injunction issued pursuant to this chapter constitutes the criminal offense of stalking as defined in Section 76-5-106.5 and is also a violation of the civil stalking injunction. Violations may be enforced by a civil action initiated by the petitioner, a criminal action initiated by a prosecuting attorney, or both.

 

§77-3a-102 Fees -- Service of Process 

(1) Ex parte civil stalking injunctions and civil stalking injunctions shall be served by a sheriff or constable.

(2) All service shall be in accordance with applicable law.

(3) Fees may not be imposed by a court clerk, constable, or law enforcement agency for:

(a) filing a petition under this chapter;

(b) obtaining an ex parte civil stalking injunction; or

(c) service of a civil stalking injunction, ex parte or otherwise.

 

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Criminal Stalking Laws

Utah Code Ann. § 76-5-106.5. Stalking -- Definitions -- Injunction -- Penalties. (2012)
(1) As used in this section:

(a) "Conviction" means:

(i) a verdict or conviction;

(ii) a plea of guilty or guilty and mentally ill;

(iii) a plea of no contest; or

(iv) the acceptance by the court of a plea in abeyance.

(b) "Course of conduct" means two or more acts directed at or toward a specific person, including:

(i) acts in which the actor follows, monitors, observes, photographs, surveils, threatens, or communicates to or about a person, or interferes with a person's property:

(A) directly, indirectly, or through any third party; and

(B) by any action, method, device, or means; or

(ii) when the actor engages in any of the following acts or causes someone else to engage in any of these acts:

(A) approaches or confronts a person;

(B) appears at the person's workplace or contacts the person's employer or coworkers;

(C) appears at a person's residence or contacts a person's neighbors, or enters property owned, leased, or occupied by a person;

(D) sends material by any means to the person or for the purpose of obtaining or disseminating information about or communicating with the person to a member of the person's family or household, employer, coworker, friend, or associate of the person;

(E) places an object on or delivers an object to property owned, leased, or occupied by a person, or to the person's place of employment with the intent that the object be delivered to the person; or

(F) uses a computer, the Internet, text messaging, or any other electronic means to commit an act that is a part of the course of conduct.

(c) "Immediate family" means a spouse, parent, child, sibling, or any other person who regularly resides in the household or who regularly resided in the household within the prior six months.

(d) "Emotional distress" means significant mental or psychological suffering, whether or not medical or other professional treatment or counseling is required.

(e) "Reasonable person" means a reasonable person in the victim's circumstances.

(f) "Stalking" means an offense as described in Subsection (2) or (3).

(g) "Text messaging" means a communication in the form of electronic text or one or more electronic images sent by the actor from a telephone or computer to another person's telephone or computer by addressing the communication to the recipient's telephone number.

(2) A person is guilty of stalking who intentionally or knowingly engages in a course of conduct directed at a specific person and knows or should know that the course of conduct would cause a reasonable person:

(a) to fear for the person's own safety or the safety of a third person; or

(b) to suffer other emotional distress.

(3) A person is guilty of stalking who intentionally or knowingly violates:

(a) a stalking injunction issued pursuant to Title 77, Chapter 3a, Stalking Injunctions; or

(b) a permanent criminal stalking injunction issued pursuant to this section.

(4) In any prosecution under this section, it is not a defense that the actor:

(a) was not given actual notice that the course of conduct was unwanted; or

(b) did not intend to cause the victim fear or other emotional distress.

(5) An offense of stalking may be prosecuted under this section in any jurisdiction where one or more of the acts that is part of the course of conduct was initiated or caused an effect on the victim.

(6) Stalking is a class A misdemeanor:

(a) upon the offender's first violation of Subsection (2); or

(b) if the offender violated a stalking injunction issued pursuant to Title 77, Chapter 3a, Stalking Injunctions.

(7) Stalking is a third degree felony if the offender:

(a) has been previously convicted of an offense of stalking;

(b) has been previously convicted in another jurisdiction of an offense that is substantially similar to the offense of stalking;

(c) has been previously convicted of any felony offense in Utah or of any crime in another jurisdiction which if committed in Utah would be a felony, in which the victim of the stalking offense or a member of the victim's immediate family was also a victim of the previous felony offense;

(d) violated a permanent criminal stalking injunction issued pursuant to Subsection (9); or

(e) has been or is at the time of the offense a cohabitant, as defined in Section 78B-7-102, of the victim.

(8) Stalking is a second degree felony if the offender:

(a) used a dangerous weapon as defined in Section 76-1-601 or used other means or force likely to produce death or serious bodily injury, in the commission of the crime of stalking;

(b) has been previously convicted two or more times of the offense of stalking;

(c) has been convicted two or more times in another jurisdiction or jurisdictions of offenses that are substantially similar to the offense of stalking;

(d) has been convicted two or more times, in any combination, of offenses under Subsection (7)(a), (b), or (c);

(e) has been previously convicted two or more times of felony offenses in Utah or of crimes in another jurisdiction or jurisdictions which, if committed in Utah, would be felonies, in which the victim of the stalking was also a victim of the previous felony offenses; or

(f) has been previously convicted of an offense under Subsection (7)(d) or (e).


(9)

(a) A conviction for stalking or a plea accepted by the court and held in abeyance for a period of time serves as an application for a permanent criminal stalking injunction limiting the contact between the defendant and the victim.

(b) A permanent criminal stalking injunction shall be issued by the court at the time of the conviction. The court shall give the defendant notice of the right to request a hearing.

(c) If the defendant requests a hearing under Subsection (9)(b), it shall be held at the time of the conviction unless the victim requests otherwise, or for good cause.

(d) If the conviction was entered in a justice court, a certified copy of the judgment and conviction or a certified copy of the court's order holding the plea in abeyance shall be filed by the victim in the district court as an application and request for a hearing for a permanent criminal stalking injunction.

(10) A permanent criminal stalking injunction shall be issued by the district court granting the following relief where appropriate:

(a) an order:

(i) restraining the defendant from entering the residence, property, school, or place of employment of the victim; and

(ii) requiring the defendant to stay away from the victim, except as provided in Subsection (11), and to stay away from any specified place that is named in the order and is frequented regularly by the victim;

(b) an order restraining the defendant from making contact with or regarding the victim, including an order forbidding the defendant from personally or through an agent initiating any communication, except as provided in Subsection (11), likely to cause annoyance or alarm to the victim, including personal, written, or telephone contact with or regarding the victim, with the victim's employers, employees, coworkers, friends, associates, or others with whom communication would be likely to cause annoyance or alarm to the victim; and

(c) any other orders the court considers necessary to protect the victim and members of the victim's immediate family or household.

(11) If the victim and defendant have minor children together, the court may consider provisions regarding the defendant's exercise of custody and parent-time rights while ensuring the safety of the victim and any minor children. If the court issues a permanent criminal stalking injunction, but declines to address custody and parent-time issues, a copy of the stalking injunction shall be filed in any action in which custody and parent-time issues are being considered and that court may modify the injunction to balance the parties' custody and parent-time rights.

(12) Except as provided in Subsection (11), a permanent criminal stalking injunction may be modified, dissolved, or dismissed only upon application of the victim to the court which granted the injunction.

(13) Notice of permanent criminal stalking injunctions issued pursuant to this section shall be sent by the court to the statewide warrants network or similar system.

(14) A permanent criminal stalking injunction issued pursuant to this section has effect statewide.

(15)

(a) Violation of an injunction issued pursuant to this section constitutes a third degree felony offense of stalking under Subsection (7).

(b) Violations may be enforced in a civil action initiated by the stalking victim, a criminal action initiated by a prosecuting attorney, or both.

(16) This section does not preclude the filing of a criminal information for stalking based on the same act which is the basis for the violation of the stalking injunction issued pursuant to Title 77, Chapter 3a, Stalking Injunctions, or a permanent criminal stalking injunction.

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