In the state of Kansas, a person who is being stalked or harassed by a former partner or another individual can file for a protection order. The petitioner, or person filing for protection, must be 18 years or older. Harassment is defined as a knowing and intentional course of conduct directed at a specific person.
The conduct seriously alarms or torments the person and serves no legitimate purpose. Stalking is defined as intentional harassment of another person that places the stalked party in reasonable fear for their safety.
Harassment by Telecommunications Device
Harassment may not constitute a crime if it is not coupled with actions to harm another person. One type of harassment that is a crime is harassment by a telecommunications device such as a telephone. Such an offense is a class A nonperson misdemeanor. The penalty for this type of offense is up to one year incarceration and a fine up to $1,000.
Explanation of Kansas Stalking Laws
The term “stalking” covers several types of behavior, each with a distinct penalty. Recklessly engaging in a course of conduct targeted at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person in such circumstances to fear for their safety or the safety of an immediate family member and actually placing the person in such fear is a Class A person misdemeanor. The penalty for this offense is up to one year incarceration and a fine up to $1,000.
If the offense is a second or subsequent conviction, the crime is a severity Level 7 person felony. The penalty for such a crime is a fine up to $100,000 and a prison term set by the Kansas Sentencing Commission’s range. Kansas’ sentencing grid provides a sentencing guideline based on the severity of the offense and the defendant’s criminal history. Typically, a severity Level 7 crime involves a sentence of probation rather than prison.
Stalking as a Felony Under Kansas Law
Stalking that involves engaging in a course of conduct targeted at a specific person with knowledge that the conduct will place that person in fear of their safety or the safety of an immediate family member is a Class A person misdemeanor. If the act is a second or subsequent conviction, the crime is a severity Level 5 person felony. The penalty for such an offense is a fine up to $300,000 and a prison term set by the sentencing grid.
Stalking that involves actions taken after being served with or provided notice of a protective order that prohibits contact with a targeted person, recklessly engaging in at least one act such as threatening the safety of the targeted person that violates the order and would cause a reasonable person to fear for their safety or the safety of an immediate family member, and actually placing the targeted person in fear is a severity Level 9 person felony for a first offense.
The crime is a severity Level 5 person felony for a second or subsequent conviction. The financial penalty for a severity Level 9 person felony is a fine up to $100,000, and the financial penalty for severity Level 5 person felony is a fine up to $300,000. The prison term for both offenses is determined by the severity of the offense and the defendant’s criminal history.
How to File for Harassment
A victim can allege that another party committed harassment, harassment by telecommunications device, or stalking by contacting law enforcement and making a report. The victim can also petition the civil court for a protective order.
If the victim is already the victim of the defendant in a criminal case, the case may have a protection order attached to the defendant’s conditions of pretrial release. If the court finds that the defendant violated the conditions of their release, they will be sent back to county jail to remain incarcerated until the case is resolved.
Stalking in the Work Environment
A person in Kansas can be charged with harassment, harassment by telecommunications device, or stalking by a district attorney if they feel there is sufficient evidence to prosecute. A person can engage in harassment, harassment by telecommunications device, or stalking when the defendant and the victim are employees together in a workplace.
The company’s employee manual may set out guidelines for acceptable communication between coworkers. Contact that crosses the line can include threatening behavior, particularly if it takes place after hours and outside of the workplace.
- Kansas Protection Order Portal: Homepage
- 2020 Kansas Statutes: Section 60-31a02, Definitions
- 2020 Kansas Statutes: Section 21-5427, Stalking
- 2020 Kansas Statutes: Section 21-6206, Harassment by Telecommunications Device
- 2020 Kansas Statutes: Section 21-6602, Classification of Misdemeanors and Terms of Confinement
- 2020 Kansas Statutes: Section 21-6611, Fines
Jessica Zimmer is a journalist and attorney based in northern California. She has practiced in a wide variety of fields, including criminal defense, property law, immigration, employment law, and family law.