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Stalking in Virginia: Criteria and specific points

When you are infatuated with someone, you likely want to spend as much time as possible with that person. While that isn't always a bad thing, it can easily turn into allegations of stalking if the person you are enamored with doesn't return those feelings. In Virginia, it is possible to face charges of stalking if someone feels that you are acting in a manner that is threatening him or her with sexual assault, death or bodily injury.

Stalking often involves exes or celebrities, but it can occur in other cases as well. The key to stalking is that there isn't only one isolated incident. Instead, it is a series or pattern of incidents. These incidents can be as simple as showing up somewhere daily to wait for someone or making threats.

When a person is accused of stalking, it is possible for the person who is being stalked to seek a protective order. This order can include instructions that the alleged stalker stay away from the person. It can prohibit contact between the alleged victim and the alleged stalker.

In Virginia, there are specific laws against stalking. On a first offense of stalking, the charge is a misdemeanor. A third offense in five years increases that charge to a Class 6 felony. In all cases, restraining orders are issued upon conviction.

If you are facing stalking charges, it is vital that you present a solid defense. Knowing your rights, your options for defense and the possible penalties can help you to decide how you want to handle your case.

Source: FindLaw, "Virginia Stalking Laws" accessed Jan. 30, 2015

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Ronald E. Smith, P.C.

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