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Understanding the stalking laws in Minnesota

Minnesota's anti-stalking law prohibits a person from harassing someone to the point where he or she feels threatened, frightened, persecuted, oppressed or intimidated. Stalking is a gross misdemeanor and there is potential for someone convicted of the crime of stalking to spend up to a year in jail.

The following acts can result in a gross misdemeanor charge of stalking:

  • Showing an intent to injure someone, damage his or her property or impede someone's rights by committing an act that is unlawful
  • Following a person by using any type of technology
  • Continually returning to someone's property when he or she hasn't the authority or permission to do so
  • Continually texting or calling someone
  • Repeatedly sending letters or packages

The following acts can result in a felony with a possibility of five years in prison upon conviction:

  • Having a dangerous weapon when the stalking offense occurs
  • Stalking someone within 10 years of a discharge of a domestic violence offense
  • Stalking someone because of his or her color, race, sex, religion, sexual orientation, age, disability or national origin
  • Falsely impersonating someone else while committing one of the above offenses.
  • Stalking someone under the age of 18 when three years older than that person.

The following acts can also result in a felony charge of stalking and upon conviction, a sentence of 10 years in prison:

  • Stalking someone who is a member of his or her household or if there is a pattern of stalking someone.
  • Two or more of the following acts over the course of five years: any offense of stalking, domestic assault, violating an order of protection or a restraining order or making terroristic threats.

As you can see, stalking is considered a very serious offense, and there can be significant jail or prison time given upon conviction. If you are facing such a charge, an experienced attorney can help you develop a strong defense to the charge and work to mitigate the possible penalties.

Source: The Office of Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson, "A Guide For Stalking Victims," accessed Sep. 22, 2017

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