Richmond Stalking Lawyer
Stalking carries significant penalties in Virginia. Generally, when one is charged with stalking, it is because their behavior put another person in fear of death, sexual assault, or injury. This could be through phone calls, threatening messages, or physically following the person, among other ways. Stalking is a Class 1 misdemeanor offense. This does not leave your permanent record, meaning there will be severe consequences for anyone who is charged or convicted of stalking.
Therefore, if you have been charged with stalking, contact an experienced Richmond criminal lawyer as soon as possible for legal counsel. An experienced lawyer can assist in building a strong defense for your case and mitigating damage as much as possible.
Stalking Laws in Virginia
In Richmond, stalking is when an individual, on more than one occasion, engages in conduct that puts a person in fear of death, sexual assault, or bodily injury. It is important to have a Richmond stalking lawyer by your side if charged with this crime. The penalties can be significant if you are convicted of stalking. Not only will it be reflected on your criminal record, but it can also have a significant impact on your ability to obtain employment and own a firearm making it important an attorney is contacted.
Harassment is taking steps or making contact with an individual that could put them in fear of their safety. Stalking is repeated actions toward an individual to put them in fear of sexual assault or bodily harm. A person can be charged with stalking and harassment. It will often depend on the amount of contacts that were made or in what form there were made. It is not uncommon for individuals to be charged with both stalking and harassment.
Behavior That Can Lead to Stalking Charges
The behavior that can typically lead to a stalking charge would be repeated unwanted contacts with an individual to get their attention, threaten them, or scare them. It is common with relationships in which an individual wishes to continue to contact another individual after it has been made it clear that they no longer want to be contacted. Typically, these contacts will develop into threats, overtly or not, that put that person in fear.
An individual can be charged with stalking even over a misunderstanding. In many cases the misunderstanding occurs when an individual simply does not understand the impact their contacts are having with that individual. In many of these cases, stalking attorneys in Richmond try to get the matter resolved so it does not result in a criminal conviction, or have a no-contact order put in place.
What Constitutes Harrassment
Harassment would be contacts by phone, in person, via e-mail, or text that are done to put a person in fear of their safety or in physical harm. Typically, criminal offenses tied to stalking would be domestic assault and battery, sexual assault, or charges that result in a protective order being issued.
If a person is convicted of stalking in Richmond and it is a first offense, it is a Class 1 misdemeanor which carries up to 12 months in jail and up to a $2,500 fine. If it is a second offense or an offense after a person was convicted of domestic assault and battery with the same victim, it is a Class 6 felony which typically results in an incarceration period.
Some penalties include not being able to retain or obtain current or future employment, housing, ability to own a firearm, and even general acceptance within the community. The penalties for a stalking charge become more severe when an individual has been repeatedly been warned of the issue, has taken some action to harm another, or if the threats are more overt. If accused it is important to consult with a Richmond stalking lawyer as soon as possible.
Order of Protection
An order of protection is an order issued by a court for an individual to not contact another, not reside in the same property, or not approach them in any way, shape, or form. Typically, a protective order will include language that an individual is to stay from 200 yards to 500 yards away. An individual will be forbidden from contacting this person by all means, including phone, e-mail, text message, and letter. If an individual breaks the protective order, they will typically receive an active jail sentence.
Harassment charges will typically result in a protective order if the victim asks for it. In many cases, when these orders are filed initially, a 72-hour protective order that goes into effect. If the victim asked for the protective order and the findings show harassment has occurred, the judges will typically grant a protective order that can extend up to two years.