Fredericksburg Stalking Lawyer
Stalking is defined by Virginia Code Section 18.2-60.3. Stalking occurs when any person, on more than one occasion, contacts another person when he or she knows or reasonably should know that the conduct places that other person in a reasonable fear of death, criminal sexual assault, or bodily injury.
Stalking is a complex offense that is sensitive in nature. As such, it is important to consult with a Fredericksburg stalking lawyer will protect your interests when fighting the charge and prepare the best possible defenses for to you.
Elements of Stalking
Multiple unwanted or unwarranted phone calls, threats, visits, emails, and/or social media contact are examples of behavior that can lead to a stalking charge. Sometimes a misunderstanding can lead to a stalking charge–in that case, it is essential to retain a Fredericksburg stalking lawyer to prepare your defense.
Charges that may be associated with stalking include, but are not limited to, violations of protective orders, threats in the heat of passion, and telephone threats.
While stalking occurs when someone is putting another in fear of death, sexual assault, or bodily body injury, harassment can occur when there is intent to annoy, coerce, or intimidate another person. Aggressive or abusive language over the phone, email, on social networking sites, and unsolicited visits can be considered harassment. A person can be charged with both harassment and stalking.
Actions that begin as harassment may elevate and put the other person in fear of death, bodily injury, or sexual assault on more than one occasion. If this occurs, a person can be charged with both the offense of harassment and the elevated offense of stalking.
Stalking is a Class 1 misdemeanor, which is punishable with up to 12 months in jail and a $2,500 fine. For a third stalking charge within a five-year time period, the penalty for a stalking conviction can be elevated to a Class 6 felony, which can be penalized with up to five years in jail making it imperative that a stalking attorney in Fredericksburg is contacted.
Order of Protection
An order of protection could result from a stalking conviction. The protection order is a document, from a court, requiring someone to stay away from another person, that person’s family, and their home.
Hiring an Attorney
It is imperative for an attorney to gather as much information as possible from their client about the details of the alleged offense. A Fredericksburg stalking lawyer that is familiar with the area, the judges, and the jury pool will know the best way to advise you on the individual charges.
Every case is different so there is no uniformity in what a criminal lawyer will do first in preparing a defense. It is important in every stalking case, however, to gather as much evidence as possible, which can include any videos, photos, identification, and witness statements. When speaking with an attorney for the first time, a person should have as much information that is readily available as possible. This will equip the attorney with the necessary tools to evaluate your case and prepare your defense. A trustworthy and zealous advocate is necessary when selecting a lawyer in a Fredericksburg stalking case.