Virginia Stalking Laws
In the state of Virginia, the crime of stalking can have very severe penalties- particularly if an individual is convicted of stalking multiple times. Furthermore, if an individual is stalking a person across different states, that individual is not necessarily safe from Virginia stalking laws. In fact, even if an individual’s course of conduct occurred mostly outside of Virginia, only one occasion of stalking conduct within Virginia is necessary to prosecute the individual for stalking in Virginia under Title 18.2, Chapter 4, Section 18.2-60.3. If you have been charged with stalking, please contact a Virginia stalking lawyer today to schedule a free initial case analysis.
If an individual, who is not a law enforcement officer or registered private investigator acting as part of his/her legitimate business or official duties, (1) on more than one occasion acts in a way directed at a person, (2) with the intent to place that person in reasonable fear of death, injury, or sexual assault to that person or someone in that person’s family, then that individual is guilty of stalking. Virginia Code Ann. Section 18.2-60.3(A). This also applies to cases where the individual knows or should know that the individual’s conduct would place the targeted person in reasonable fear as described above. Section 18.2-60.3(A).
If an individual is guilty of stalking, then the individual faces a Class 1 misdemeanor. Section 18.2-60.3(A). This means that the individual faces penalties of up to 12 months in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,500. Section 18.2-11(a). Furthermore, if an individual is convicted of stalking, then the individual will be issued a court order prohibiting any contact with the targeted person or the targeted person’s family. Section 18.2-60.3(E).
Stalking with Prior Offenses
If an individual, within a five-year period, is (1) convicted for a second time for stalking the same victim, and (2) is convicted of violating the protective order, or a violent crime (see note below) against that same victim or a member of the victim’s family, then the individual’s second stalking crime becomes a Class 6 felony. Section 18.2-60.3(B). As a Class 6 felony, the individual guilty of stalking in such a case will face one to five years in prison, or, at the discretion of a jury or the court, will face penalties of up to 12 months in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,500. Section 18.2-10(f).
The violent crimes referred to above include shooting and stabbing (Section 18.2-51); aggravated malicious wounding (Section 18.2-51.2); strangulation (Section 18.2-51.6); an attack with acid, fire, or explosives (Section 18.2-52); or an assault and battery (Section 18.2-57). Section 18.2-60.3(B).
If an individual is guilty of stalking and has at least two (2) prior stalking offenses (or offenses from other jurisdictions that would qualify as stalking in Virginia) within a five-year period, then the individual is guilty of stalking as a Class 6 felony. Section 18.2-60.3(C). Thus, the individual faces the penalties of a felony conviction with one to five years in prison, or, at the discretion of a jury or the court, lesser penalties of up to 12 months in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,500. Section 18.2-10(f).