Sections 750.411h and 750.411i – Michigan Legislature

750.411h Stalking; definitions; violation as misdemeanor; penalties; probation; conditions; evidence of continued conduct as rebuttable presumption; additional penalties.

750.411i Definitions; aggravated stalking; circumstances; violation as felony; penalty; probation; additional conditions of probation; effect of continued course of conduct; rebuttable presumption; additional penalty.

In Michigan, misdemeanor stalking involves repeated or continuous harassment of another person in a willful manner, harassment that may cause an alleged victim to experience feelings of intimidation, fear, or even terror.

Aggravated or felony stalking is a more serious criminal offense, and involves the above conditions in conjunction with other factors which may include a previous stalking conviction, violation of probation, parole, pre-trial release, or an existing restraining order, or a feasible threat against either the victim or his/her family, or other person living with the alleged victim.

Punishment:

A conviction for misdemeanor stalking will result in criminal penalties, which include possible prison time and/or fines. Maximum jail time if found guilty is one year; fines may be up to $1,000, or up to $10,000 and five years in prison if the victim is a minor.

If found guilty of felony or aggravated stalking, potential criminal penalties include fines of up to $15,000 and/or up to five years in prison. Probation is also a potential consequence of a conviction. If the victim is a minor (younger than 18 years of age), prison time could effectively double.

Other Consequences:

Individuals who are found guilty of stalking or aggravated stalking will have a criminal record which could impact current or future employment, securing a loan, or even housing opportunities.

Experience and Success:

Grabel & Associates has a proven track record and extensive experience defending all types of serious and violent crimes, including Stalking and Aggravated Stalking. Our criminal defense law firm has had extraordinary success in defending clients against charges of Stalking and Aggravated Stalking, frequently securing acquittals, dismissals, and having a conviction overturned through the appeals process.

Defenses:

There are a number of proven defense strategies which may be effective in defending individuals charged with stalking, aggravated stalking, or more serious or violent crimes. The most common defenses include that the alleged conduct was committed for a legitimate purpose, or was consensual. A defense attorney may build a defense strategy around the fact that there was no credible threat, or deny the prosecutor proved the elements of stalking. Defendants who are found guilty may wish to appeal their conviction or seek post-conviction relief.

THE MICHIGAN PENAL CODE (EXCERPT)
Act 328 of 1931

750.411h Stalking; definitions; violation as misdemeanor; penalties; probation; conditions; evidence of continued conduct as rebuttable presumption; additional penalties.

Sec. 411h.

(1) As used in this section:

(a) “Course of conduct” means a pattern of conduct composed of a series of 2 or more separate noncontinuous acts evidencing a continuity of purpose.

(b) “Emotional distress” means significant mental suffering or distress that may, but does not necessarily, require medical or other professional treatment or counseling.

(c) “Harassment” means conduct directed toward a victim that includes, but is not limited to, repeated or continuing unconsented contact that would cause a reasonable individual to suffer emotional distress and that actually causes the victim to suffer emotional distress. Harassment does not include constitutionally protected activity or conduct that serves a legitimate purpose.

(d) “Stalking” means a willful course of conduct involving repeated or continuing harassment of another individual that would cause a reasonable person to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed, or molested and that actually causes the victim to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed, or molested.

(e) “Unconsented contact” means any contact with another individual that is initiated or continued without that individual's consent or in disregard of that individual's expressed desire that the contact be avoided or discontinued. Unconsented contact includes, but is not limited to, any of the following:

(i) Following or appearing within the sight of that individual.

(ii) Approaching or confronting that individual in a public place or on private property.

(iii) Appearing at that individual's workplace or residence.

(iv) Entering onto or remaining on property owned, leased, or occupied by that individual.

(v) Contacting that individual by telephone.

(vi) Sending mail or electronic communications to that individual.

(vii) Placing an object on, or delivering an object to, property owned, leased, or occupied by that individual.

(f) “Victim” means an individual who is the target of a willful course of conduct involving repeated or continuing harassment.

(2) An individual who engages in stalking is guilty of a crime as follows:

(a) Except as provided in subdivision (b), a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than 1 year or a fine of not more than $1,000.00, or both.

(b) If the victim was less than 18 years of age at any time during the individual's course of conduct and the individual is 5 or more years older than the victim, a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 5 years or a fine of not more than $10,000.00, or both.

(3) The court may place an individual convicted of violating this section on probation for a term of not more than 5 years. If a term of probation is ordered, the court may, in addition to any other lawful condition of probation, order the defendant to do any of the following:

(a) Refrain from stalking any individual during the term of probation.

(b) Refrain from having any contact with the victim of the offense.

(c) Be evaluated to determine the need for psychiatric, psychological, or social counseling and if, determined appropriate by the court, to receive psychiatric, psychological, or social counseling at his or her own expense.

(4) In a prosecution for a violation of this section, evidence that the defendant continued to engage in a course of conduct involving repeated unconsented contact with the victim after having been requested by the victim to discontinue the same or a different form of unconsented contact, and to refrain from any further unconsented contact with the victim, gives rise to a rebuttable presumption that the continuation of the course of conduct caused the victim to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed, or molested.

(5) A criminal penalty provided for under this section may be imposed in addition to any penalty that may be imposed for any other criminal offense arising from the same conduct or for any contempt of court arising from the same conduct.

History: Add. 1992, Act 260, Eff. Jan. 1, 1993 ;-- Am. 1997, Act 65, Eff. Mar. 31, 1998

THE MICHIGAN PENAL CODE (EXCERPT)
Act 328 of 1931

750.411i Definitions; aggravated stalking; circumstances; violation as felony; penalty; probation; additional conditions of probation; effect of continued course of conduct; rebuttable presumption; additional penalty.

Sec. 411i.

(1) As used in this section:

(a) “Course of conduct” means a pattern of conduct composed of a series of 2 or more separate noncontinuous acts evidencing a continuity of purpose.

(b) “Credible threat” means a threat to kill another individual or a threat to inflict physical injury upon another individual that is made in any manner or in any context that causes the individual hearing or receiving the threat to reasonably fear for his or her safety or the safety of another individual.

(c) “Emotional distress” means significant mental suffering or distress that may, but does not necessarily, require medical or other professional treatment or counseling.

(d) “Harassment” means conduct directed toward a victim that includes, but is not limited to, repeated or continuing unconsented contact that would cause a reasonable individual to suffer emotional distress and that actually causes the victim to suffer emotional distress. Harassment does not include constitutionally protected activity or conduct that serves a legitimate purpose.

(e) “Stalking” means a willful course of conduct involving repeated or continuing harassment of another individual that would cause a reasonable person to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed, or molested and that actually causes the victim to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed, or molested.

(f) “Unconsented contact” means any contact with another individual that is initiated or continued without that individual's consent or in disregard of that individual's expressed desire that the contact be avoided or discontinued. Unconsented contact includes, but is not limited to, any of the following:

(i) Following or appearing within the sight of that individual.

(ii) Approaching or confronting that individual in a public place or on private property.

(iii) Appearing at that individual's workplace or residence.

(iv) Entering onto or remaining on property owned, leased, or occupied by that individual.

(v) Contacting that individual by telephone.

(vi) Sending mail or electronic communications to that individual.

(vii) Placing an object on, or delivering an object to, property owned, leased, or occupied by that individual.

(g) “Victim” means an individual who is the target of a willful course of conduct involving repeated or continuing harassment.

(2) An individual who engages in stalking is guilty of aggravated stalking if the violation involves any of the following circumstances:

(a) At least 1 of the actions constituting the offense is in violation of a restraining order and the individual has received actual notice of that restraining order or at least 1 of the actions is in violation of an injunction or preliminary injunction.

(b) At least 1 of the actions constituting the offense is in violation of a condition of probation, a condition of parole, a condition of pretrial release, or a condition of release on bond pending appeal.

(c) The course of conduct includes the making of 1 or more credible threats against the victim, a member of the victim's family, or another individual living in the same household as the victim.

(d) The individual has been previously convicted of a violation of this section or section 411h.

(3) Aggravated stalking is a felony punishable as follows:

(a) Except as provided in subdivision (b), by imprisonment for not more than 5 years or a fine of not more than $10,000.00, or both.

(b) If the victim was less than 18 years of age at any time during the individual's course of conduct and the individual is 5 or more years older than the victim, by imprisonment for not more than 10 years or a fine of not more than $15,000.00, or both.

(4) The court may place an individual convicted of violating this section on probation for any term of years, but not less than 5 years. If a term of probation is ordered, the court may, in addition to any other lawful condition of probation, order the defendant to do any of the following:

(a) Refrain from stalking any individual during the term of probation.

(b) Refrain from any contact with the victim of the offense.

(c) Be evaluated to determine the need for psychiatric, psychological, or social counseling and, if determined appropriate by the court, to receive psychiatric, psychological, or social counseling at his or her own expense.

(5) In a prosecution for a violation of this section, evidence that the defendant continued to engage in a course of conduct involving repeated unconsented contact with the victim after having been requested by the victim to discontinue the same or a different form of unconsented contact, and to refrain from any further unconsented contact with the victim, gives rise to a rebuttable presumption that the continuation of the course of conduct caused the victim to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed, or molested.

(6) A criminal penalty provided for under this section may be imposed in addition to any penalty that may be imposed for any other criminal offense arising from the same conduct or for contempt of court arising from the same conduct.

History: Add. 1992, Act 261, Eff. Jan. 1, 1993 ;-- Am. 1997, Act 65, Eff. Mar. 31, 1998

Constitutionality: Michigan's anti-stalking law is not an unconstitutionally vague threat to freedom of speech. Staley v Jones, 239 F3d 769 (CA 6, 2001).