Virginia Beach Stalking Lawyer

In Virginia Beach, stalking occurs when a person repeatedly puts another in fear of injury or death. State law treats stalking offenses harshly, meaning a conviction could have a significant impact on your life and livelihood.

Stalking cases can be subjective and often result from a misunderstanding. In some cases, law enforcement will rush to judgment in making an arrest for stalking despite lacking the evidence of a crime. It could take the assistance of a seasoned criminal attorney to fight back against these charges.

If you are facing criminal charges for stalking, it is imperative that you discuss your legal options with experienced counsel right away. A Virginia Beach stalking lawyer could help you defend yourself at trial and clear your name of these serious charges.

Elements of Stalking

Virginia Code Section 18.2-60.3 governs the charges of stalking. In order to obtain a conviction, the Commonwealth’s attorney must identify certain elements at trial.

Stalking involves repeated conduct directed by the defendant to the alleged victim. This conduct must put the alleged victim in fear of injury or death. These acts do not require the intent to put another person in fear of injury. Instead, it is enough that the defendant knew or should have known that fear was a likely outcome.

Additionally, stalking requires a pattern of behavior. While a single, isolated incident can never be stalking, two instances could be. This behavior commonly involves repeated phone calls or text messages, following a person throughout the day, waiting outside their home, or sending unwanted gifts.

Due to the specific nature of the stalking statute, the law provides some built-in defenses that could be effective at trial. A diligent Virginia Beach stalking attorney could provide additional insight into strong defense strategies.

Consequences of a Conviction

A person in Virginia Beach convicted of stalking could face a variety of penalties. The severity of these penalties depends entirely on a person’s criminal history. An experienced Virginia Beach stalking attorney could work diligently to help the defendant limit these consequences or avoid them entirely.

Criminal Penalties for Stalking

For first-time offenders, a conviction for stalking is a Class 1 misdemeanor under state law. This charge brings a maximum jail term of 12 months as well as a fine of no more than $2,500. The penalty for second and subsequent offenses is much more significant. In these cases, a conviction will result in a prison sentence of up to five years.

Protective Orders

In addition to the penalties prescribed by the statute, the court could also grant a protective order against the defendant. These orders guarantee an alleged victim of stalking a ‘safe zone.’ These orders typically prevent a defendant from contacting the alleged victim in any manner, including by phone, in person, or online. A violation of a protective order could lead to additional charges and punishment.

Let a Virginia Beach Stalking Attorney Help

A conviction for stalking could have many unwanted consequences, such as a criminal record, jail time, and loss of certain rights. Immediately following an accusation for stalking, retain the services of a tenacious defense attorney.

You do not need to handle your case alone. Let an experienced Virginia Beach stalking lawyer help you fight the charges. Call today to get started building your defense.