Interpersonal relationships are the key to a happy life. When two people get along the possibilities are endless. However, there are situations where this simply does not happen. All people enjoy the right to privacy and to live their lives free from fear and the presence of unwanted people.
Because of these rights, the laws in Leesburg prohibit any repeated conduct that places another person in fear for their physical wellbeing. If you are facing allegations of this behavior known as stalking, you need to take aggressive steps to protect yourself by hiring a knowledgable attorney. A conviction can not only result in a significant jail sentence, but the court is also required to impose a non-contact order upon you.
A Leesburg stalking lawyer could help to protect your future. They can stand by your side during every stage of your case from arrest, to arraignment, to a potential trial.
The law recognizes the fact that every person should be free to live without fear. As a result, a person accused of creating this fear may violate the laws of the Commonwealth.
Perhaps the most common example of this is the offense called stalking. According to VA Code §18.2-60.3, a defendant may commit stalking if they act in a way that they should reasonably know places another person in reasonable fear of death, sexual assault, or bodily injury.
The concept of reasonableness plays a major role in these cases. Some actions are clear in their intent. Sending threatening text messages or following a person home from work absolutely have the potential to cause fear. However, many Leesburg stalking cases involve more nuanced facts. Instances of sending gifts, meeting in public, or repeatedly asking a person out on a date may be open to interpretation.
The statute also says that a defendant must act in this way on more than one occasion. Using the above example, if a defendant faces accusations of following a coworker home one time, this does not qualify under the Commonwealth’s stalking laws. A Leesburg stalking lawyer could help defendants to comprehend this surprisingly complex law.
Stalking is a class 1 misdemeanor under the terms of the statute. However, the potential penalties following a conviction are potentially harsher than those for many similar misdemeanors.
At its core, a class 1 misdemeanor conviction is likely to result in the payment of a fine. However, courts and prosecutors take accusations of stalking very seriously, and the law allows them to sentence a guilty defendant to a jail term of up to one year.
If a defendant has a previous conviction for stalking in the past five years in any jurisdiction, the charge becomes a class 6 felony.
Finally, the law requires that a court issue a non-contact order between the defendant and their alleged victim, and the victim’s family, upon conviction. While this could have a minimal effect upon defendants convicted of stalking mere acquaintances, cases involving the stalking of household members could lead to these orders having catastrophic consequences. It is plain to see that presenting a powerful defense is necessary in Leesburg stalking cases.
On their face, allegations of stalking appear to be simple misdemeanor charges that a defendant may be able to push aside by paying a fine. In truth, a stalking conviction can carry serious consequences that could include jail time and loss of contact with family members. It is essential that if you are facing allegations of stalking that you provide yourself with every chance for a positive outcome.
Working with a Leesburg stalking lawyer could increase your chances for success. They can help you to understand the Commonwealth’s complex stalking statute and how the prosecutor needs to prove multiple instances of intimidating behavior. Using this information, an attorney could examine the prosecutor’s evidence and discover weak points that allow for effective defense in court. Contact a Leesburg stalking lawyer today to learn more.
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