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Cyberstalking in Virginia/Washington, D.C.

Cyberstalking is the crime of stalking but by means of electronics. Both Washington, D.C. and Virginia have laws addressing it. A conviction of cyberstalking in either jurisdiction can lead to incarceration and fines, among other penalties. So it is good to know a cyberstalking charge can be defended. 

S.L. England, respected criminal defense attorney serving clients in the D.C./Virginia metro area, defends clients again accusations of cyberstalking. Through experience and insight, he will develop the best defense for you. Contact his office today to learn more about his approach to cyberstalking allegations. In the meantime, here is a brief overview of the laws in Washington, D.C. and Virginia.

Washington, D.C. Cyberstalking Laws & Penalties

According to D.C. Code § 22–3133, stalking occurs when a person purposefully engages "in a course of conduct directed at a specific individual" with the intent to cause or knows the conduct would cause or should have known the conduct would cause a reasonable person under the circumstances to:

(A) Fear for his or her safety or the safety of another person; 
(B) Feel seriously alarmed, disturbed, or frightened; or 
(C) Suffer emotional distress.

This code is applied in cases where a person stalks another person using any device, like electronics or the internet. 

According to D.C. Code § 22-3134, a first-offense is punishable by up to 12 months in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000. These penalties increase possible imprisonment for up to five years and up to $10,000 in fines if the offender:

  • was on parole at the time of the crime;
  • had one prior stalking conviction in any jurisdiction within the last 10 years;
  • was four years older than the victim who was under 18 years of age; or
  • caused financial injury in the amount of $2,500 or more.

If a stalking offender has two prior convictions of stalking, then he or she can anticipate imprisonment for up to 10 years and/or a fine of up to $25,000.

A conviction is dependent in part on the prosecutor proving the event that caused the fear was not a one-time event but a series of events and that only a reasonable person would have felt that fear.

Virginia Cyberstalking Laws & Penalties

According to Virginia Code § 18.2-60.3, stalking occurs when a person 

on more than one occasion engages in conduct directed at another person with the intent to place, or when he knows or reasonably should know that the conduct places that other person in reasonable fear of death, criminal sexual assault, or bodily injury to that other person or to that other person's family or household member.

This conduct applies to any device or use of the internet. A first-time offense is a Class 1 misdemeanor, which can result in up to one year in jail and/or a fine up to $2,500 (Virginia Code § 18.2-11).

 A second offense within the last five years in any jurisdiction is a Class 6 felony, which can result in a minimum imprisonment sentence of one year but can go up to five years and/or a fine of up to $2,500.

If convicted, a protective order will also be issued prohibiting contact between the offender and the victim.

A conviction is dependent in part on the prosecutor proving the event that caused the fear was not a one-time event but a series of events and that only a reasonable person would have felt that fear.

How a Cyberstalking Defense Attorney Can Help 

A cyberstalking defense attorney can help you in many ways. But first, there are two things to keep in mind:

  1. You should never try to fight a criminal charge like cyberstalking on your own – the laws can be confusing and the State will be aggressive and throw everything at you.
  2. You should never plead guilty because that effectively ends your ability to defend yourself – so plead not guilty and hire an experienced cyberstalking attorney.

An experienced criminal defense attorney like S.L. England will look at the facts and circumstances leading up to your arrest. He will then look at the circumstances involving your arrest. The manner in which you were arrested may have been unlawful and this can cause some evidence to be excluded. 

There may also be viable defenses, like:

  • freedom of speech;
  • mistaken identify; or
  • false accusation.

S. L. England will look at all the facts, circumstances, and evidence and create a defense strategy accordingly. Each case is different and, thus, requires its own specific strategy. The key for you to remember is this: you are innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. S.L. England will hold the prosecutor, judge, and jury accountable to this principle.

Aggressive, Smart Cyberstalking Defense Attorney in D.C. & Virginia

If you have been charged with a cyberstalking crime in Virginia or Washington, D.C., you need a strong defense. These crimes are taken very seriously today. A good defense may be the difference between spending time in jail and walking out of court without a criminal record. 

Contact S.L. England, PLLC today to learn more about how he can provide the best defense for your unique situation.

Aggressive Representation

When you hire S.L. England, we will assign your case to a seasoned trial attorney that cares about getting results. We represent our individual clients as aggressively as represent our corporate business clients. Check our reviews on Google and Yelp to see what our clients have to say. We look forward to representing you.

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