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Stalking under Iowa Law

Stalking charges are particularly serious because you must be arrested on the charges. The court is not allowed to issue a citation or summons. The law enforcement officer is required to formally arrest you on the charges instead of allowing you to immediately post bond. After the arrest, the person is not eligible to post bond until after the initial or first appearance before the magistrate. At the initial or first appearance, the magistrate must consider the defendant's prior criminal history as well as a host of other factors outlined in section 811.2.

Defense Attorney for Stalking in Des Moines

If you are charged with an felony or misdemeanor stalking crime under Iowa Code section 708.11 then contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer at {{$firm]]. Our attorneys represent clients charged with stalking and harassment charges through the state of Iowa. Call (515) 279-9700 today to discuss your case. Our attorneys represent cllients charged with felony and misdemeanor offenses throughout the greater Des Moines and surrounding areas including all of Polk County and Dallas County, Iowa. 


Stalking Information Center in Iowa


Statutory Elements in Iowa's Stalking Statute

Under Iowa Code section 708.11(2), the criminal offense of stalking requires proof of the following elements beyond all reasonable doubt:

  1. the defendant purposefully engaged in a course of conduct directed at another person that would cause a reasonable person to fear bodily injury to, or the death of the other person;
  2. The defendant knew or should have known that the other person would be placed in reasonable fear of bodily injury or death to the other person or a member of his or her immediate family; and
  3. the defendant's course of conduct caused the other person to fear bodily injury or death to the other person or a member of the other person’s immediate family.

Certain sentence enhancement provision apply under section 708.11(3)(b), see Chapter 2200 (Habitual Criminal), if the defendant is charges as a previous offender under section 708.11(3)(a).


Definitions in Iowa's Stalking Statute


Enhanced Penalties and Punishments for Stalking

The penalties and punishments for a stalking offense depend on whether the offense is a first offense or a second or third offense. Also, enhanced penalties apply if certain aggravating factors can be proven. 

When counting the number of prior violations, the court will look at any violation of 708.11 and accompanying offenses. Even offenses committed in another state can count as a prior if statute in the other state is substantially the same as Iowa Code section 708.11 or accompanying offense.

Even a deferred judgement or any plea of guilty shall be considered in determining whether the new stalking violation is a second, third or subsequent offense. A stalking offense shall be considered a second or subsequent offense regardless of whether it was committed against the same person or a different person.

Stalking is generally charges as a classified as an aggravated misdemeanor if the offense is a first offense which is not included in paragraph "b". See 708.11(3)(c).

A second offense of stalking can be charged as a class "D" felony.

A third or subsequent offense of stalking is classified as a class "C" felony.


Felony Stalking Charges for a First Offense with Aggravating Factors

Under certain circumstances, even a first offense of stalking can be charged as a class "D" felony if any of the following elements are proven at trial beyond a reasonable doubt:


History of Iowa’s Stalking Laws

Iowa was one of twenty-nine states to enact a stalking statute in 1992. Iowa’s stalking statute was enacted under chapter 1179 (codified at Iowa Code § 708.11 (1993)). Iowa's original statute preceded the Model Anti–Stalking Code published by the Department of Justice in 1993. See Iowa Code § 708.11 (1993); id. § 3.7 (making acts effective July 1, 1992). Shortly after the Department of Justice published its Model Anti–Stalking Code in 1993, the Iowa legislature revised its statute to adopt the model code into Iowa’s statutory scheme. See 1994 Iowa Acts ch. 1093 (codified at Iowa Code § 708.11 (1995)) and Project to Develop a Model Anti–Stalking Code 43–44.

The authors of the Project to Develop a Model Anti–Stalking Code encouraged the states to develop “a continuum of charges to assist law enforcement officials in intervening at various stages and further encouraged felony classification for more egregious forms of stalking.” State v. Lindell, 828 N.W.2d 1, 13 (Iowa 2013) cert. denied, 134 S. Ct. 249, 187 L. Ed. 2d 147 (U.S. 2013). The court recognized that:

“Stalkers may be obsessive, unpredictable, and potentially violent. They often commit a series of increasingly serious acts, which may become suddenly violent, and result in the victim's injury or death.... Policies governing the release of convicted stalkers on probation or parole should take into account that some stalkers may be more dangerous once they are released from prison, and that stalking behavior often escalates into violence as time passes and the stalker's obsession with the victim grows.”

Id. (internal citations omitted).

“The uncertain motives and intentions of the suspected stalker and his obsessive and unpredictable behavior place his victim at great risk of bodily injury or death, as well as psychological trauma. A principal objective of an anti-stalking strategy is to intervene in a suspected stalking before the stalking victim is injured or killed.” See Project to Develop a Model Anti–Stalking Code 69.


Seraching for an Attorney  in Polk County for Crimes of Stalking

After an arrest for any stalking or harassment charge, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C.. These serious charges require an aggressive defense. For stalking charges in Des Moines, West Des Moines, and the surrounding areas, our attorneys can help you determine the best way to fight the charges in Polk County, Dallas County, Warren County, Madison County and Guthrie County, Iowa.

Tell Us About Your Case

How would you like to be contacted?

This web site is designed for general information only. The information presented at this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship.

* All fields are required.

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