This is the next post in our series on whether you should retain a private attorney when charged with a Virginia crime. Our last post discussed why one should hire a private attorney when charged with marijuana possession. In today’s post we will be discussing why hiring representation for a stalking case can help prevent a criminal conviction.
Stalking a Virginia resident results in a misdemeanor charge with criminal consequences
Stalking is a term that is often used loosely in popular jargon. However, a criminal charge of stalking has real consequences and a legal definition. A person may be convicted of stalking if they engage in repeated contact with a person that could reasonably cause the person to fear death, injury, or sexual assault. As a class 1 misdemeanor, Virginia punishes stalking with a sentence of up to one year in jail and a $2,500 fine.
One of the biggest mistakes people make in a stalking case is to assume that a “misunderstanding” has occurred. Many think the problem can be cleared up if only the accused can speak about it with the alleged victim. Do not, under any circumstances, contact your accuser if you have been charged with stalking. Every phone call, email, or personal visit you make will be used as evidence in the event of a trial. In cases in which two people share a child, this rule of no contact may be extremely frustrating. This is why hiring an attorney is important in stalking cases; if two people share a child, but a restraining order is in effect then your attorney may arrange any child care or visitation needs you may have in a way that respects the law. In short, hiring a Virginia criminal defense lawyer to assist in navigating the process is a far better option than trying to handle things yourself.
A Virginia Beach criminal attorney can defend your stalking case by challenging the victim’s claims
To be convicted of stalking, your attorney will often attempt to prove that 1) the alleged victim showed no evidence of feeling threatened, and 2) that the communication was not one-sided. In contentious family law cases, it is not unusual for one party to make false stalking claims while simultaneously initiating communication with the person they allegedly fear. Your lawyer will present the Court with evidence showing that communication with the accuser has been mutual and that the alleged victim was not in fear. In these cases, it is important to retain all records of communication and show them to your attorney. You must also strictly abide by all temporary restraining orders. If a restraining order is in place, and your accuser attempts to contact you, it is important not to respond and contact your criminal lawyer immediately.
In stalking cases, many of the accused assume that the matter is a private issue between the two parties. These same accused assume that the accuser will drop the charges prior to trial. This is not the case; stalking is a real criminal charge with lasting effects. If you are accused of stalking then contact our Virginia Beach office today. We also service Norfolk, Chesapeake, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Newport News, Hampton, Williamsburg, and Yorktown, as well as in the surrounding counties of Northampton, Isle of Wight, York, and James City.