If you are facing felony charges for stalking in Colorado, you must take it seriously because prosecutors do. This is because stalking that includes repeated conduct, threats, or statements designed to cause someone else to fear for their lives and emotional stress is usually a predecessor to some acts that lead to actual violence.
To prevent escalation, there are severe penalties for felony criminal stalking. This is the reason why it’s a good idea to have an experienced and reputable stalking attorney Colorado Springs on your side if you are facing these charges. There are many other reasons why it makes sense to hire a stalking attorney. This page discusses why you need to hire a stalking attorney.
Understanding criminal stalking
Colorado brought its felony stalking law which is also called Vonnie’s Law in 2012. The legislature passed this law because it wants to encourage and authorize effective interventions before stalking escalates into behavior that leads to more serious consequences.
Colorado law doesn’t define stalking as an act of rudeness or annoyance. Anti-stalking laws, such as Vonnie’s Law usually don’t ban one-time ill-advised comments or actions. Instead, they consider stalking as a pattern to behavior that can be extreme, disturbing, or threatening that the victim is reasonably and justifiable scared by the stalking and what may happen next.
Felony criminal stalking includes three major elements. One of them is a credible threat. The prosecutor needs to prove a credible threat occurred to have a felony stalking conviction. In most cases, the accused is regarded as a credible threat to either the victim or any member of their immediate family.
You should note that the law considers a credible threat as a statement, repeated conduct, or physical act that can cause a reasonable individual to fear for their safety or even the safety of their immediate family members, such as parent, spouse, child, sibling, and grandparent. It can also be the safety of any other person who has a continuing relationship with the victim. It’s worth mentioning that you can be jailed for stalking even when there is no credible threat, but the conduct caused the victim serious emotional distress.
Another factor prosecutors consider is the repeated conduct. A prosecutor usually doesn’t base their felony stalking charges on a single occurrence regardless of whether it was a communication through email, or phone, or it was a physical act. Repeated conduct is a crucial element of the crime, so it has to happen more than once.
A prosecutor looks at a conduct associated with a credible threat to have criminal stalking charges. This can include repeatedly following, contacting, approaching, or putting under surveillance the victim or an immediate family member.
Repeatedly making any type of communication with the victim or their immediate family member regardless of whether or not there was a conversation can also lead to criminal stalking charges.
Lastly, serious emotional distress is also a criminal stalking charge. Even if you haven’t made a credible threat to the victim or their immediate family member, your ongoing behavior can be considered to be a threat.
This means that you can face charges when you repeatedly approach, follow, contact, communicate, or place under surveillance any of the immediate family members of the victim or the victim. But this should be in a manner that can lead to any reasonable individual to experience serious emotional distress.
Felony criminal stalking penalties
Stalking is a felony in Colorado and it’s also regarded as an extraordinary risk crime. You should note that extraordinary risks mean that you can face the chances of a lengthy time in jail.
First-time felony stalking conviction is a class 5 felony. The first conviction can lead to a sentence of at least 1 to 5 years in prison. You can also receive a mandatory two-year parole period or a fine of up to $100,000.
A second or subsequent felony stalking conviction, especially if you commit them within 7 years of a prior conviction or a second conviction or subsequent offense is considered to be a class 4 felony. When they convict you, you can spend at least 2 to 10 years in jail followed by a three-year parole which is mandatory, or a fine of at least $2,000 to $500,000.
Lastly, there is stalking which is a violation of court orders. This type of stalking is also regarded as a class 4 felony when it happens while you were under a protective order, an injunction, or any other court order which prohibited any contact or communication with the victim.
As you can see, the penalties for felony criminal stalking tend to be harsh, so you need to take action right away to protect your reputation, freedom, rights, and future if a prosecutor believes you committed such acts. A reputable and experienced attorney can assist prepare the best defense against these charges and offer you the chance of putting the situation behind you.
Unfortunately, a stalking conviction can be there forever. This is why you must have a strong defense to fight against the stalking charges. You can decide to prepare and have a great defense against these charges, but it’s always hard. This is because the stalking law in Colorado includes several elements, each of which may be the basis of efforts to overcome the charges or even convince a prosecutor to drop them immediately.
This is crucial as a conviction for stalking can have a significant and lasting impact on the lives of accused individuals. As mentioned earlier, the prosecutors in Colorado take stalking charges seriously. Therefore, they need to prevent stalkers from escalating their acts into more serious acts of violence. Regardless of whether or not it’s a first conviction, the penalties can be severe. Worse still, these charges can affect your reputation and tend to last forever. The good news is that a stalking attorney also understands the seriousness of these charges. Therefore, they usually prepare well when it comes to the defense. A good attorney can also investigate your situation and let you know your rights.