When facing the severity of a stalking charge, it could be intimidating and even daunting when considering your next course of action. Reaching out to an experienced attorney could better your chances of a successful defense in court.
Contact a knowledgeable defense attorney seasoned in building a Fredericksburg stalking defense today and see what your options may be.
In order to determine how to approach a stalking charge, a defense attorney may want to examine the evidence that is available and determine the client’s goal.
At the beginning stage, before evaluating any type of plea offers that may be forthcoming, it is necessary for the attorney and the client to discuss what the client would like to happen, the possible outcome in the case, and the procedure that the client and an attorney may encounter in the course of the representation.
A stalking charge requires the prosecutor to prove that something happened on more than one occasion, or that more than one event took place. Because of this, stalking cases are fact-intensive. The types of evidence typically available are:
It is rare for there to be any real or actual evidence in stalking charges except perhaps a note or letter that is written, or a photograph that is left or taken.
It is more common for stalking charges to involve recorded evidence. Any interview that is recorded, emails, telephone calls, and security footage or personal cell phone footage falls into this category.
Every stalking charge involves testimonial evidence, and the goal of a criminal defense attorney in a stalking case is to determine all of the factual scenarios that the prosecution may be alleging which constitutes an act that is intended to, or would, put the alleged victim in fear of harm or assault.
Whenever a plea deal is offered on a case, the question should be whether it is in the client’s best interest to accept that offer or whether proceeding to trial could yield a better outcome.
In particular with stalking charges, a person might be dealing with fact-intensive charges, but also a large degree of testimonial evidence in a trial and a high burden of proof. Before accepting any type of plea deal, a criminal lawyer may want to be thoroughly convinced that the prosecutor can prove every last element of the case beyond a reasonable doubt.
It is very common for someone to be charged with stalking because of a misunderstanding, although the statutory language in Virginia indicates only that an individual is guilty of stalking if they engage in behavior that is intended to (or that they know or reasonably should know) place someone in fear of death or assault or injury.
It is very common for someone to be frightened by another person’s behavior and to report their behavior. It is also very common for a person’s strange behavior to be alarming enough to be reported to law enforcement, which in many cases no ill-will may have been intended. It may have been the person’s actions or mere presence caused another individual to have enough fear that they felt it necessary to seek help from law enforcement. A misunderstanding which leads to stalking charges in Virginia and elsewhere is quite common.
Although the common definitions of harassment and stalking are very similar, both harassment and stalking have particular legal meanings in Virginia that do not exactly parallel the common understanding of those words.
A wide variety of activities could constitute harassment. Simply pestering an individual can constitute harassment, and under the right circumstances, if using a telephone or other device, it may be illegal to continue harassing that person by pestering.
In order to rise to the level of stalking-type behavior, the person involved would have to reasonably lead the alleged victim to fear for his or her life or possess a fear of sexual assault or other bodily harm. The magnitude of behavior in a stalking case is far greater than what would typically be referred to as harassment.
There is a common understanding of what constitutes stalking, and there is a strict legal definition of what constitutes the crime of stalking in Virginia. Therefore, it is important to work with an aggressive and experienced attorney who is willing to closely examine the behavior at issue in the case and compare that with past cases that dealt with the definition of stalking in particular.
When facing a stalking charge it might be in your best interest to seek out an experienced defense attorney as soon as you can. A seasoned courtroom defender could help in building a Fredericksburg stalking defense today.
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