Fredericksburg Harassment and Stalking Lawyer
If a person is convicted of stalking or related charges like harassment and receives a suspended jail sentence, the court can order the person to have no contact with the victim and issue an order of protection. In some cases, a protective order is separately filed by the victim and if the court enters that order, the defendant can be ordered to stay away from the victim for up two years. There are many potential penalties someone issued such charges could face.
It is important to retain the help of a Fredericksburg harassment lawyer if you are charged with either offense as they are going to be taken seriously in court. The penalties can be serious not only in the short-term but also in terms of how it can affect the person’s career going forward making it imperative an experienced lawyer is consulted.
Difference Between Harassment and Stalking
The primary difference between harassment and stalking is the location of the accused. Charges of harassment can often occur by telephone or via computer, whereas a stalking charge requires the defendant to engage in threatening behavior, not just harassing behavior.
A person can be charged with both stalking and harassment as they have different elements under Virginia law. A person might be charged with stalking and harassment if they continually call or contact the accuser and appear at the accuser’s home, despite being directed not to. It is not a violation of the double jeopardy clause to charge an individual with both.
Preparing a Defense
When preparing a defense for stalking charges, understanding the history between the defendant and their accuser is imperative. Developing witnesses and other evidence that will give context to the conduct that the defendant has been accused of is also important.
Determining what information or evidence the government has or believes is paramount in establishing an effective defense. Knowing the local prosecutors and judges also makes a difference in determining what kind of defense is going to be best. Any of these factors can potentially be pivotal in the case.
A Fredericksburg harassment lawyer considers the background of the accuser because these kinds of cases are often he said, she said and there may be a conflict of the evidence. Knowing whether the accuser has lied in the past or has made inconsistent statements in the past can be critical evidence in these kinds of cases. If a reduced charge or a less severe penalty than what the defense attorney believes is likely to be the outcome at trial, a plea agreement should be discussed and considered.
Working with a Defense Attorney
When speaking with an attorney for the first time, you should have all of the documents that you have received from the police and the court. You should have thought about the facts and circumstances and, if possible, prepared a written timeline of what occurred. A harassment attorney in Fredericksburg will need to know all of the factual details, the procedural posture of the case, and any interaction that the defendant had with law enforcement and the court to that point in order to begin building a defense.
When researching defense lawyers, the primary consideration should be the level of experience they have. If you are facing charges, you want to find someone that has experience locally like a Fredericksburg harassment attorney.