Stalking is a serious accusation that requires a vigorous defense. You must have legal counsel to defend yourself against this crime and any subsequent charges that come along with it. This is common in stalking cases.
If you need a stalking charges lawyer in Richmond, you’ve come to the right place. Pendleton Law Team’s skilled criminal defense lawyers can help defend you against these charges and give you guidance on how to properly follow protective orders to avoid more trouble.
What Is Stalking?
According to Code of Virginia § 18.2-60.3, stalking is any conduct directed at another person with the intent to place that person in reasonable fear of death, criminal sexual assault, or bodily injury to that person or that person’s family. It is a Class 1 misdemeanor.
For a stalking charge to stick, usually there must be repeated instances of harassing behavior. A single incident will probably only provoke some kind of harassment charge. However, it is possible to receive both harassment and stalking charges at one time.
The exact action isn’t the key to this crime, but the fear it generates in the victim. It’s not limited to personal contact. Mail, phone, email, and social media are all channels for behavior that could be considered stalking.
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The Prior Relationship Between the Stalker and the Victim
A key part of stalking cases is the relationship between the alleged perpetrator and the victim. For example, if two people were in an intimate relationship, then broke up with instructions to never see each other again, trying to reconnect could be seen as stalking.
The courts want to find out if a “reasonable” person in the same shoes as the victim would feel fear by the actions done by the alleged stalker. Thus, knowing the prior relationship is essential, as well as any actions done in the past by either party that could amplify that fear.
Your stalking charges attorney in Richmond can investigate the particulars of your relationship with the alleged victim to build a defense strategy in your case.
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Orders of Protection for Stalking in Virginia
An order of protection, commonly known as a restraining order, is a legal mechanism to protect victims of stalking and other crimes. If you violate the order and are found guilty, you’ll face a sentence of up to 12 months and a $2,500 on top of any other charges.
There are three types of protective orders related to stalking in Virginia:
- Emergency protective orders
- Preliminary protective orders
- “Permanent” protective orders
Emergency protective orders can be filed by a victim or a law enforcement agent if there is a warrant out for you and the judge feels there is danger.
Preliminary protective orders are similar, just without the immediate threat of danger. Both of these kinds of protective orders can be filed without your presence in the courtroom. If it is granted, you’ll be notified by mail and a hearing will be scheduled.
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Protective Order Hearings for Stalking in Richmond
A protective order will come if you’re convicted or can come if you show up to your hearing about a preliminary protective order. The court must find that there is a preponderance of evidence against you. If so, they may ban you from all contact with the alleged victim for up to two years.
A full protective order can make it difficult to live your life, especially if you live close to the other person. Having a stalking charges lawyer in Richmond on your side during this hearing can help keep these orders from jeopardizing your home and workplace.
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Get Help From a Richmond Lawyer Skilled in Stalking Charges
Due to the complexities of protective orders and the damage to reputation, you do not want to face a stalking charge on your own. Sadly, some people do use these legal mechanisms for revenge.
A stalking charges lawyer in Richmond will help you get your side of the story out there and potentially expose any lies from the opposition. Call Pendleton Law Team for a free consultation as soon as you’re aware of stalking charges or of a protective order against you in the city of Richmond.
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