What Is Ohio’s Menacing by Stalking Law?

Menacing Charge in Ohio

Under Ohio Revised Code 2903.211, menacing, menacing by stalking, or aggravated menacing are felony charges. A menacing charge in Ohio means a person has threatened physical harm, damage to property or mental distress (causing a mental state that would require treatment by a professional).

It is also illegal for a person to use social media or any electronic form of communication to participate in a pattern of stalking conduct or urge another person to do so. Additionally, a person violates this law when they engage in such behavior to gratify their own sexual desires. In these circumstances, menacing by stalking is a first-degree misdemeanor.

When Is Menacing by Stalking Charged as a Felony?

Depending on the person’s history and who the offense was committed against, menacing by stalking could be charged as either a fourth- or fifth-degree felony. Menacing by stalking is a fifth-degree felony when the offense is committed against an officer or employee of a public or private children’s services agency. The maximum prison term for this degree of felony is 12 months.

Menacing by stalking is a fourth-degree felony when the alleged offender:

  • Was previously convicted of this crime;
  • Committed the offense against a minor;
  • Threatened violence against the victim or induced another person to threaten physical harm against them;
  • Trespassed or convinced another person to trespass on property where the victim lives, works, or attends school;
  • Had previously committed acts of violence against the victim or another person;
  • Had a deadly weapon on them;
  • Had a protection order issued against them (whether the person named in the order was the victim or someone else);
  • Caused serious physical harm to the victim’s real or personal property; or
  • Committed the offense against an officer or employee of a public children services agency or a private child placing agency, the offense interfered with the victim’s performance of their duties, and the offender had previously been convicted of this crime

Menacing Example in Ohio

On an early August morning, a man walked up to a porch of a sorority house at Kent State University. Allegedly he was nude and holding a phone up to his face, seeming to be on some sort of social media platform on his cell phone. The house’s doorbell camera caught the alleged incident, and the house mother reported it to police.

Nearly a month later, the same man allegedly arrived on the porch of a different sorority house. This time, he was wearing red swimming bottoms and had writing on his chest. Again, he was said to be on his phone. Law enforcement officials said, he stayed on the porch for about 10 minutes, looking into the windows and fondling himself.

Authorities posted an image of the man on Facebook, asking for help identifying him. The man allegedly posted messages to some of the members of the last sorority house he visited, which eventually led to his arrest.

The man was charged with felony menacing by stalking. The man faces a fourth-degree felony charge because he trespassed on property where the alleged victims live. If he is convicted, he could spend up to 18 months in prison.

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