Stalking is a serious crime that is punishable in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Stalking occurs when on more than one occasion your conduct is intended to place a person or their family in fear of bodily injury, criminal sexual assault, or death. Some people stalk others in order to scare them into doing something or to retaliate against them.
Stalking has many different forms, such as continuously text messaging or calling someone despite their request for you to stop, physically following them around, or repeatedly contacting them online.
In Virginia, a first offense of stalking is considered a Class 1 misdemeanor and can result in a fine of $2,500, up to 12 months in jail, and a no-contact order between you and the victim.
If you are found guilty of stalking twice within a five-year period of time, it is considered a Class 6 felony that carries a fine of $2,500, up to five years in prison, and a no-contact order between you and the victim.
Are There Defenses to a Stalking Accusation?
In order to be found guilty of stalking, the prosecution has the responsibility of proving each element of the crime of stalking beyond a reasonable doubt. This means that if there is any reasonable doubt that you have committed the act, you cannot be found guilty.
It’s also important to understand that there are defenses to stalking. In other words, there are factors that when accepted can help to create reasonable doubt. Such evidence includes the following:
- You were not the one who committed the stalking.
- You had no intention of making the victim fearful and could not have reasonably known that your conduct would cause them to be fearful.
- A reasonable person would not have been in fear of bodily injury, criminal sexual assault, or death due to your actions.
Surovell Isaacs & Levy PLC Can Help Those in VA Who Have Been Accused of the Crime of Stalking
Being accused of a crime such as stalking is very serious and should be taken seriously. If convicted, it can have a big impact on just about all aspects of your life. That’s why if you or a loved one has been accused of stalking, it’s so important to consult with a knowledgeable and experienced Virginia criminal defense attorney. He or she can help to walk you through the process and will work to reduce or eliminate the charges against you. Remember that time is of the essence though. The longer you wait, the more likely it is for evidence to fade. At Surovell Isaacs & Levy PLC, we work hard to ensure that our clients receive the best outcome. To learn more or to schedule a consultation, contact us today!
Posted in: Criminal Law