Violent Crime: Stalking

Violent Crime: Stalking

Intentionally engaging in conduct that places another person in fear of death, criminal sexual activity, or bodily injury.

To convict an offender of stalking in Virginia under code §18.2-60.3, the Prosecutor must prove that the offender:

  • engaged in conduct,
  • at least twice,
  • directed against another person,
  • with the intent
  • to place that person or member of his family in fear of death, criminal sexual activity or bodily injury:


Engaged in conduct: Examples of this include following another person, waiting at a person’s home or work, making phone calls (generally considered threatening or obscene), or unwanted contact online (this would include social media).

At least twice: To convict an offender of stalking, the offender must have intentionally engaged in conduct with the intent to place the victim in fear of death, sexual assault or bodily harm (on 2 separate occasion).

Intent to place in fear: The intent required to convict an offender is the intent to place the Victim in fear or knowledge the conduct will cause fear. The offender can also be convicted if he should have known his conduct will cause fear.

FEAR: refers to reasonable fear of death, criminal sexual activity or bodily injury. The fear does not need to be caused or the same each time.

Person: The conduct intended to cause that fear must be directed at another person. This person could be a family member or household member. (This is defined under §16.1-228).

Penalty

First Offense (Class one misdemeanor)

  • Up to 12 months in jail
  • A fine of up to $2,500
  • And an order prohibiting contact between the offender and the victim or his or her spouse or his or her child.
    • A violation of this no contact provision would be separate contempt charge. (Va. Code §18.2-60.3 (D))

    Second Offense

    • If you have a prior conviction of the Stalking offense within the last five years. (VA Code §18.2-60.3(B)).
    • You can be convicted of a Class 6 Felony
    • This would include not less than 1 year nor more than 5 years
    • OR in the discretion of the jury or court confinement of not more than 12 months
    • A fine of up to $2,500


    Va. Code 18.2-60.3. Stalking; penalty.

    Any person, except a law-enforcement officer, as defined in § 9.1-101, and acting in the performance of his official duties, and a registered private investigator, as defined in § 9.1-138, who is regulated in accordance with § 9.1-139 and acting in the course of his legitimate business, who 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 is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. If the person contacts or follows or attempts to contact or follow the person at whom the conduct is directed after being given actual notice that the person does not want to be contacted or followed, such actions shall be prima facie evidence that the person intended to place that other person, or reasonably should have known that the other person was placed, in reasonable fear of death, criminal sexual assault, or bodily injury to himself or a family or household member.

    Any person who is convicted of a second offense of subsection A occurring within five years of a prior conviction of such an offense under this section or for a substantially similar offense under the law of any other jurisdiction is guilty of a Class 6 felony.

    A person may be convicted under this section irrespective of the jurisdiction or jurisdictions within the Commonwealth wherein the conduct described in subsection A occurred, if the person engaged in that conduct on at least one occasion in the jurisdiction where the person is tried. Evidence of any such conduct that occurred outside the Commonwealth may be admissible, if relevant, in any prosecution under this section provided that the prosecution is based upon conduct occurring within the Commonwealth.

    Upon finding a person guilty under this section, the court shall, in addition to the sentence imposed, issue an order prohibiting contact between the defendant and the victim or the victim’s family or household member.

    The Department of Corrections, sheriff or regional jail director shall give notice prior to the release from a state correctional facility or a local or regional jail of any person incarcerated upon conviction of a violation of this section, to any victim of the offense who, in writing, requests notice, or to any person designated in writing by the victim. The notice shall be given at least 15 days prior to release of a person sentenced to a term of incarceration of more than 30 days or, if the person was sentenced to a term of incarceration of at least 48 hours but no more than 30 days, 24 hours prior to release. If the person escapes, notice shall be given as soon as practicable following the escape. The victim shall keep the Department of Corrections, sheriff or regional jail director informed of the current mailing address and telephone number of the person named in the writing submitted to receive notice.

    All information relating to any person who receives or may receive notice under this subsection shall remain confidential and shall not be made available to the person convicted of violating this section.

    For purposes of this subsection, “release” includes a release of the offender from a state correctional facility or a local or regional jail (i) upon completion of his term of incarceration or (ii) on probation or parole.

    No civil liability shall attach to the Department of Corrections nor to any sheriff or regional jail director or their deputies or employees for a failure to comply with the requirements of this subsection.

    1. For purposes of this section:

    “Family or household member” has the same meaning as provided in § 16.1-228.