Dinwiddie Stalking Lawyer

Stalking is one of the many crimes that you can be accused of committing when you did nothing wrong. In fact, many criminal charges for stalking in Dinwiddie shock the person who is being accused. This is because the purported victims of stalking often read nefarious intent into what is completely harmless behavior and then call the police out of irrational fear. Unfortunately, this puts an innocent person into serious legal trouble.

Defending against an allegation of stalking can take the help of a Dinwiddie stalking lawyer. Calling a seasoned attorney as soon as you hear of the allegations – and before talking to the police – can drastically increase your odds of beating the charge and protecting your future.

The Offense of Stalking

In Dinwiddie, stalking is defined as any repeated conduct that puts a purported victim in objectively reasonable fear of bodily injury, sexual assault, or death. This comes from Virginia Code Ann. § 18.2-60.3. The two most important factors involved in this definition of stalking are the repeated conduct, and the objectively reasonable fear that it must cause.

Any Repeated Conduct Can Suffice

Stalking is often portrayed in movies and in TV shows as someone closely following their target and making thinly veiled threats against them or their family. However, this is far from necessary to break the statute against stalking in Dinwiddie. Instead, all that is necessary to commit stalking in Dinwiddie is repeated conduct – any conduct – that creates fear.

Repeatedly driving closely behind someone while brandishing a weapon can be just as unlawful as repeatedly sitting at a picnic table across the street as the purported victim leaves work. All that matters is a repeated action, and the apprehension of harm that it creates.

Objectively Reasonable Fear

While the conduct can nearly anything in order for it to satisfy the stalking law, so long as it happens multiple times, the apprehension of fear that it creates in the purported victim must be objectively reasonable. People who are especially paranoid, therefore, cannot use their paranoia to make their stalking claim stronger. Challenging the reasonableness of the purported victim’s fear is one of the ways that a Dinwiddie stalking lawyer can defend against an allegation of stalking.

Penalties for a Stalking Conviction 

Hiring a Dinwiddie stalking attorney is critical for people who have been accused of stalking because the penalties for a conviction are not light. Not only are there fines and jail time on the table, but there are also restraining orders that are likely to prevent defendants from doing what they want to do and being where they want to be.

Typically, a stalking conviction is a Class 1 misdemeanor that can carry up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500. However, repeat offenders are subjected to higher penalties. A second stalking conviction within five years is a Class 6 felony that comes with between one and five years in jail and a fine of up to $2,500.

Additionally, restraining orders are common if a criminal allegation of stalking is proven in court. These orders can force defendants to stay away from the purported victim or refrain from going to the places that they used to visit. Violating a restraining order is a serious offense that can lead to further criminal charges.

A Dinwiddie Stalking Attorney Can Defend Your Rights

Being accused of stalking someone is a serious situation. Your future can be held on the line, and all for what could simply be a miscommunication or a string of coincidences that put you and the purported victim in the same place at the same time. However, arguing your case on your own in front of law enforcement intent on pressing charges can be a bad mistake.

Calling a Dinwiddie stalking lawyer is a better move. By hiring a lawyer to invoke your rights and defend your interests, you can beat these groundless charges. Call an attorney today.