The statute for the offense of harassment in the Utah Criminal Code is very broadly written. A person can be charged with this crime for making any written or recorded threat to commit a violent felony, but people may be accused of this offense for honest attempts to contact another person that did not involve any criminal intent.

Criminal harassment is a misdemeanor offense in Utah, but certain offenders may be charged with the crime of electronic communication harassment, which can be graded as a misdemeanor or felony. Convictions for either crime can carry the possibility of incarceration as well as heavy fines.

Defense Attorney for Harassment Arrests in Salt Lake City

Were you arrested in Utah for an alleged harassment offense? No matter how confident you are in your innocence, you should still avoid making any statement to authorities until you have first contacted Susanne Gustin Attorney at Law.

Susanne Gustin is an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Salt Lake City who defends clients in numerous areas all over Weber County and Salt Lake County. Call (801) 243-2814 today to have our lawyer review your case and discuss all of your legal options during a free, confidential consultation.

Overview of Harassment Crimes in Utah

Harassment Charges in Salt Lake County

In Utah, a person commits the crime of harassment if, with intent to frighten or harass another, he or she communicates a written or recorded threat to commit any violent felony. Utah Code § 76-3-203.5(1)(c)(i) defines a violent felony as any of the following offenses, or any attempt, solicitation, or conspiracy to commit any of the following offenses punishable as a felony:

  • aggravated arson, arson, knowingly causing a catastrophe, and criminal mischief;
  • assault by prisoner;
  • disarming a police officer;
  • aggravated assault;
  • aggravated assault by prisoner;
  • mayhem;
  • stalking;
  • threat of terrorism;
  • commission of domestic violence in the presence of a child;
  • abuse or neglect of a child with a disability;
  • abuse, neglect, or exploitation of a vulnerable adult;
  • endangerment of a child or vulnerable adult;
  • criminal homicide offenses;
  • object rape of a child;
  • forcible sodomy;
  • aggravated sexual abuse of a child or sexual abuse of a child;
  • sexual exploitation of a vulnerable adult;
  • aggravated burglary and burglary of a dwelling;
  • theft by extortion;
  • tampering with a witness;
  • retaliation against a witness, victim, or informant;
  • tampering with a juror;
  • extortion to dismiss a criminal proceeding if by any threat or by use of force theft by extortion has been committed;
  • possession, use, or removal of explosive, chemical, or incendiary devices;
  • unlawful delivery of explosive, chemical, or incendiary devices;
  • purchase or possession of a dangerous weapon or handgun by a restricted person;
  • aggravated exploitation of prostitution;
  • bus hijacking; and
  • discharging firearms and hurling missiles.

Utah Code § 76-3-203.5(1)(c)(ii) notes that violent felony also means any felony violation of a criminal statute of any other state, the United States, or any district, possession, or territory of the United States which would constitute a violent felony as defined in Utah Code § 76-3-203.5(1) if committed in this state. Harassment is a class B misdemeanor.

Electronic communication harassment is defined under Utah Code § 76-9-201. Electronic communications are “any communication by electronic, electro-mechanical, or electro-optical communication device for the transmission and reception of audio, image, or text but does not include broadcast transmissions or similar communications that are not targeted at any specific individual,” while an electronic communication device includes a telephone, a facsimile machine (fax machine), electronic mail (email), a pager, a computer, or any other device or medium that can be used to communicate electronically.

A person commits electronic communication harassment and is subject to prosecution in the jurisdiction where the communication originated or was received if with intent to intimidate, abuse, threaten, or disrupt the electronic communications of another, he or she:

  • makes repeated contact by means of electronic communications, regardless of whether a conversation ensues;
  • after the recipient has requested or informed the person not to contact the recipient, and the person repeatedly or continuously contacts the electronic communication device of the recipient or causes an electronic communication device of the recipient to ring or to receive other notification of attempted contact by means of electronic communication;
  • makes contact by means of electronic communication and insults, taunts, or challenges the recipient of the communication or any person at the receiving location in a manner likely to provoke a violent or disorderly response;
  • makes contact by means of electronic communication and threatens to inflict injury, physical harm, or damage to any person or the property of any person;
  • causes disruption, jamming, or overload of an electronic communication system through excessive message traffic or other means utilizing an electronic communication device; or
  • electronically publishes, posts, or otherwise discloses personal identifying information of another person, in a public online site or forum, without that person’s permission.

Electronic communication harassment is a class B misdemeanor, although the offense is classified as a class A misdemeanor if the crime was allegedly committed against a minor. A second or subsequent offense committed against an adult is also a class A misdemeanor, but a second or subsequent offense committed against a minor is a third degree felony.

Harassment Penalties in Utah

People who are convicted of harassment or electronic communication harassment can face serious criminal consequences. In addition to the lasting effects of a criminal record, state law also allows for the following statutory maximum sentences in these cases:

  • Class B Misdemeanor — Up to six months in jail and fine of up to $1,000;
  • Class A Misdemeanor — Up to one year in jail and fine of up to $2,500; or
  • Third Degree Felony — Up to five years in prison and fine of up to $5,000.

Harassment Resources in Salt Lake County

Salt Lake Domestic Violence Coalition (SLDVC) — The SLDVC is a 501(c)3 non-for-profit organization “committed to educating the community about the reality of domestic violence within our community, while working to end domestic violence locally.” On the SLDVC website, you can learn more about services the organization provides, find facts about domestic violence, and learn how to get help. You can also find a calendar of upcoming events.

Harassment – Visit the official website for the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission regarding harassment. Read the layman’s version of harassment laws in the workplace. Learn more about the various kinds of harassment, ways to prevent further harassment, and how the employer is liable.

Lawyer for Harassment Defense in Salt Lake City, UT

If you were arrested for harassment anywhere in Utah, it is in your best interest to immediately seek legal representation. Susanne Gustin Attorney at Law represents individuals in communities throughout Salt Lake County and Weber County.

Salt Lake City criminal defense lawyer Susanne Gustin will work tirelessly to possibly get your criminal charges reduced or dismissed. She can provide a complete evaluation of your case as soon as you call (801) 243-2814 or submit an online contact form to set up a free initial consultation.

This article was last updated on July 30, 2018.