New Kent Stalking Lawyer
Stalking is defined by Virginia Code Section 18.2-60.3. Stalking occurs when a person on more than one occasion, engages in conduct directed at another, with the intent to place that individual in reasonable fear of death, criminal sexual assault, or bodily injury to them or a member of their family. Multiple unwanted phone calls, threats, unwanted or unwarranted visits, emails or social media contacts, and visits at work are examples of behavior that can lead to a stalking charge.
Stalking is a complex offense that is sensitive in nature. Many times a misunderstanding can lead to a criminal charge. A New Kent stalking lawyer protects an individual’s interest while fighting the charge and preparing a strong defense.
Differences Between Harrassment and Stalking
Stalking occurs when someone is put in fear of death or bodily injury, while harassment can occur by simply intending to annoy, coerce, or intimidate another person. Aggressive or abusive language over the phone, email, social networking, or computer along with unsolicited visits can be considered harassment.
Offenses that can be associated with stalking include, but are not limited to, violations of protective orders, trespassing, and phone threats.
Someone can be charged with harassment and stalking. An action that begins as simple harassment at some point could elevate and put someone in fear of death, bodily injury, or sexual assault. If this happens, a person can be charged with both offenses.
Stalking Penalties in New Kent
A first offense for stalking in New Kent is only a Class 1 misdemeanor carrying up to 12 months in jail and a $2,500 fine. However, multiple stalking offenses within a short amount of time can lead to a felony charge. A third or a subsequent charge for stalking within a five-year time period elevates the charge to a class 6 felony carrying up to five years in jail.
Order of Protection
An order of protection is a document from the courts requiring someone to stay away from another person, their family, and their home. Upon the conviction of stalking, an order of protection is issued automatically by the court.
Preparing a Defense
A stalking attorney in New Kent will seek to gather as much information from their client as they can, to learn the who, what, when, where, and how of the alleged offense.
Also, while every case is different, it is important in every stalking case to gather as much evidence as possible. Videos, photos, identification, and witness statements, all need to be collected when conducting a thorough stalking investigation.
It is possible that an attorney might recommend taking a plea deal in certain cases. But the only time this should be considered is when the client is comfortable with the deal, and the evidence against them is strong enough to make a plea deal a reasonable option.
Hiring a New Kent Stalking Lawyer
Stalking charges are very serious and carry a nasty social stigma. Anyone facing these charges needs a lawyer who is willing to fight for them to protect them. It is important for an individual facing stalking charges to look for a trustworthy and zealous advocate when selecting a lawyer to represent them in a stalking case. When first meeting with the New Kent stalking attorney, it is best to have as much information about the who, what, when, where, and how of the charge readily available as is possible. This will equip the attorney with the necessary tools to evaluate the case and prepare a successful defense.