If someone has accused you of stalking, it’s in your best interests to consult a criminal defense attorney near Denver right away. Even if you have not yet been charged with a crime, consulting a criminal attorney promptly will ensure that your legal rights are upheld. In addition, your criminal defense attorney can advise you as to which steps you need to take to protect yourself against a criminal charge.
Definition of Stalking
Under Colorado law, an individual can be accused of stalking in two primary ways. An individual may be accused of making a threat or committing a physical action that causes the alleged victim to become fearful for his or her own life, or those of family members or a partner. For example, an individual might be accused of repeatedly approaching or contacting someone, or placing them under surveillance. However, an alleged stalking victim does not need to be in fear for his or her life for the accusation to be made. He or she could also claim severe emotional distress because of the alleged actions, threats, or other form of conduct of the accused. Additionally, a charge of stalking may be leveled if the alleged victim’s intimate partner or immediate family members suffer serious emotional distress.
Protection for Victims
An alleged stalking victim may obtain an order of protection, which may be temporary or permanent. If an order of protection has been filed against you, you should contact a criminal defense attorney. Your lawyer can help you remain in compliance to avoid further charges.
Penalties of Conviction
Crimes of harassment are typically defined as misdemeanors. However, due to the serious nature of stalking and the potential for incidents to turn violent, this offense is treated much more severely. As your criminal defense attorney can advise you, the first conviction of stalking is a class five felony. This carries a prison sentence of one to three years. A subsequent conviction of stalking is a class four felony, which may involve two to six years behind bars.