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Virginia Stalking Lawyer

Stalking Lawyer in Virginia If you have been arrested for stalking, a Virginia stalking lawyer will make sure your rights are protected and that you receive a strong defense. Stalking is a serious crime, but having an experienced stalking lawyer in Virginia on your side can help you as you work your way through the legal system. There are many ways to approach your defense, and your lawyer will help you develop the most effective course of action based on the circumstances of your case.

Why Should You Hire a Virginia Stalking Lawyer?

Your Virginia stalking lawyer will carefully consider all the viable options for your defense. He or she will also answer any questions you may have, gather evidence to support your case, and defend you aggressively in the courtroom. Due to the serious nature of stalking, you should talk to a Virginia stalking lawyer before answering any questions about the alleged incident. Your lawyer will make sure your rights are protected and that you receive fair treatment during the trial, if necessary. Contact us today to speak with a Virginia stalking attorney about the details of your case.

What is Stalking?

In Virginia, stalking occurs when any individual (excluding law-enforcement officers and private investigators operating within the capacity of their job) repeatedly and intentionally causes another individual to fear death, sexual assault, or injury to himself or herself or to family members. The charge may also apply when an individual should have known that his or her actions would cause such fear. For any conviction, the court will prohibit the individual from seeing the defendant.

The law allows arrest based on probable cause, the observations of the arresting officer, or the believable testimony of the alleged victim. It is important to note that being arrested for stalking does not guarantee a conviction, even if the arrest is based on evidence seen by the arresting officer. The arresting officer works with the best information at his disposal, but there is always the potential for that officer to be mistaken or for the evidence to be faulty.

Penalties for Stalking

Under Virginia law, if a police officer has reasonable cause to suspect a stalking offense involving physical aggression, he or she may place the suspect in custody. An individual may also be placed in jail if he or she is found to have violated an existing protective order.

A first-time stalking incident will be charged as a misdemeanor in most instances, but stalking may also be charged as a felony based on the number of prior convictions:

    First conviction: Charged as a Class 1 misdemeanor, resulting in up to twelve months in jail and/or up to $2,500 in fines.
    Second conviction within five years or involving the same person: Charged as a Class 6 felony, resulting in between one and five years in prison. The jury or judge may also choose to impose an alternate sentence of up to twelve months in jail and/or $2,500 in fines.
    Third conviction: Charged as a Class 6 felony, resulting in between one and five years in prison. An alternate sentence may be imposed as described above at the discretion of the judge or jury.

In Virginia, stalking may also be tried as a civil matter. You could face civil charges of stalking even if the court finds you not guilty of stalking during the criminal trial. Compensatory and punitive damages may be awarded if you are found liable in a civil trial of this nature. The statute of limitations for a civil charge is two years from the last occasion of stalking.

Contacting a Virginia Stalking Lawyer

When you find yourself facing stalking charges, it’s important to act quickly. By calling a Virginia stalking lawyer immediately, you’ll give yourself more time to build a strong defense or allow your attorney to negotiate with the prosecution for lesser charges. In addition, it may be crucial to preserve evidence that would otherwise be subject to destruction or deletion as time passes. To learn what course of action may be available given the unique factual circumstances of your case, call our firm today for your free initial consultation.

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