What is Virginia Law on Stalking?
Virginia Code 18.2-60.3 on Stalking says:
Any person … who on more than one occasion engages in conduct directed at another person with the intent to place, or when he knows or reasonably should know that the conduct places that other person in reasonable fear of death, criminal sexual assault, or bodily injury to that other person or to that other person’s family or household member is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. If the person contacts or follows or attempts to contact or follow the person at whom the conduct is directed after being given actual notice that the person does not want to be contacted or followed, such actions shall be prima facie evidence that the person intended to place that other person, or reasonably should have known that the other person was placed, in reasonable fear of death, criminal sexual assault, or bodily injury to himself or a family or household member.
So, stalking is defined as any action that places the other person in reasonable fear of death, sexual assault, or bodily injury to themselves or a family member. The Commonwealth has to prove that you knew, or should have known, that the conduct would create such fear. If you have been told to stop, that is generally sufficient evidence that you knew or should have known that the conduct would create fear. Stalking is a Class 1 Misdemeanor, subject to a fine of up to $2,500 and/or up to a year in jail.
A second offense within 5 years is a Class 6 Felony, punishable by up to the same $2,500 fine, and incarceration of up to 5 years.
Upon a conviction for Stalking, the Court shall also order no contact between the Defendant and the Victim and/or Victim’s family and household members. However, prior to a trial for stalking, and perhaps even before a charge, the alleged victim is likely to file for a civil Protective Order on their own. This is important to consider. Protective Order hearings move faster than criminal trials. You may be inclined to represent yourself to fight the Protective Order. Doing so may involve you making statements that can be used against you in the criminal trial. For this reason, we typically advise our Client’s to see a continuance of the Protective Order hearing, so that it can be addressed after any criminal proceedings. Because the two are related, it is best to have your attorney represent you for both. Our lawyers are experienced in defending Protective Order cases in Northern Virginia.
Hire A Northern Virginia Stalking Lawyer
Stalking is a serious criminal offense that carries the possibility of jail time, and it is likely to involve other criminal charges or civil proceedings. Contact our Northern Virginia Criminal Defense Attorneys to learn more about how we can help you.