Virginia Stalking Lawyer
Contacting someone to clarify a miscommunication or a misunderstanding could result in a stalking charge, especially after they previously asked to be left alone. This may include communication that is conducted in person or online. Receiving a stalking charge could be shocking and a person may not understand how their behavior contributed to such an offense. When facing a stalking charge, a person may want to strongly consider discussing the facts of their case with a skilled Virginia stalking lawyer.
Although a stalking offense is typically charged as a Class One misdemeanor, it could still result in serious penalties. An experienced defense attorney could help someone identify different effective legal options that may positively influence their case in court.
Behaviors That May Contribute to a Stalking Charge
Behaviors that could contribute to a stalking charge frequently surround conduct that may give someone reasonable fear of death, sexual assault, and bodily injury. They may include:
- Repetitive calling or messaging
- Following a person from place to place
- Showing up to someone’s workplace
- Sending unwanted gifts or packages
Avoiding communication or contact with a person who has expressed that they wish to be left alone may decrease the chance of escalating an initial stalking charge in Virginia. A knowledgeable stalking attorney in Virginia who is familiar with this area of law could further advise on how to reduce the potential for increasing the severity of the original offense.
Potential Legal Consequences
Stalking is commonly charged as a class one misdemeanor in Virginia. This type of offense could lead to an incarceration period of up to one year. A secondary offense of stalking within five years may allow a person to incur up to five years in prison and could be charged as a class six felony. Felonies typically have far more punitive legal consequences than a misdemeanor offense.
In some cases, penalties for an initial stalking charge may increase. When a person who is alleged of committing a stalking offense, violates a protective order they could face significantly more punitive consequences upon conviction. A protective order limits the contact a person can have with another party to protect them from harm. Contacting or attempting to communicate with a party under such protection could escalate the initial offense to a more severe charge. Another way that a person could receive more harsh penalties is if they have a criminal record of stalking.
Building a Credible Defense for a Stalking Offense
A potential strategy for a stalking defense attorney could be demonstrating that the prosecution is unable to meet their burden of proof. In Virginia, the prosecution may need to demonstrate that a person who allegedly committed a stalking offense, engaged in behavior that caused a complainant to have a reasonable fear of death, criminal sexual assault or bodily injury on more than one occasion. In many cases, the state may not have sufficient evidence to support such a claim. However, a record of attempting to follow, following or contacting a person after being given notice that they do not want further interaction may negatively impact a defense. Additionally, a person who can show evidence supporting that the interaction was consensual may positively influence their case in court.
How a Virginia Stalking Attorney Could Help
Someone facing stalking charges in any capacity may strongly benefit from consulting a dedicated Virginia stalking lawyer. Court proceedings surrounding a stalking offense can quickly become difficult to understand. Navigating the court system alone could leave a person’s constitutional and procedural rights vulnerable to being violated. An attorney could help advocate for a fair trial by examining the evidence submitted by the prosecution is both relevant and valid.
A stalking offense conviction could severely limit a person’s freedom and create problems for them that extend far into the future. Schedule an appointment with an adept lawyer who is familiar with the Virginia court system as well as criminal defense cases.