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September 12, 2023READ THE POST
Stalking is a serious crime that can lead to harsh penalties under the law, especially in Colorado. If you are found guilty of stalking and it has a domestic violence enhancement, then you could have a long legal battle in front of you.
What is stalking in Colorado? What penalties can you face? When is a domestic violence enhancement added? Read on to find out more about the crime of stalking in Colorado and how it ties in with domestic violence crimes, then how to best defend yourself against these types of charges.
Under Colorado law, stalking is a felony. It is defined as behavior that is predatory, involving more than simply bothering someone else.
Vonnie’s Law in Colorado requires two things to be met in order to charge someone with stalking. They have to first be a credible threat to another person and then also repeat the stalking behavior that puts another person in reasonable fear or emotional distress.
In the state, actions that are not considered stalking include:
The types of behavior that do line up with stalking, aside from credible threats made to another, are actions like repeatedly following, contacting, surveilling, or communicating with a person or their family or partner in a way that causes them emotional distress.
Credible threats are made in certain ways. They can be done in person or through:
The stalking laws in Colorado apply to any victim, even if they’re a well-known public person or private citizen. The credible threats listed above as an element of stalking are illegal no matter where they happen, whether it be in a workplace or in private – at home or in public.
Stalking is a felony in Colorado, because it is considered a crime of extraordinary risk. The level of felony depends on how many times someone has been previously convicted of stalking.
Anyone convicted of stalking for the first time faces a Class 5 felony. The penalties for this level include:
If a person is convicted of stalking for a second time within seven years of their first conviction, then it’s considered a Class 4 felony. That is punishable by:
Stalking can also carry with it a domestic violence enhancement for harassment if the stalking behaviors are perpetrated against a spouse or ex-spouse, anyone with whom you share a child, or someone with whom you’ve had or currently have a romantic relationship.
In addition to any penalties associated with stalking, domestic violence harassment is another misdemeanor charge that can lead to six additional months in jail. It also can subject the perpetrator to a protection order, which can lead to further penalties if it is violated.
If someone violates a protective order by stalking someone else, then it’s considered a Class 4 felony even if it’s a first offense. That can lead to up to eight years in prison and fines of as much as $500,000.
Proving stalking in court can be quite difficult, which is where the help of an experienced defense attorney comes into play. It’s possible that the victim simply misunderstood the intentions of the person accused of stalking.
While the best defense for each case depends on individual circumstances and facts, the most common defenses used against allegations of stalking include:
If you are found guilty of stalking, it can impact so many areas of your life. So make sure if you are charged, you mount the best defense possible.
About the Author:
Andrew Bryant is a well-respected Colorado Springs criminal attorney who has been practicing in the area for years. A Colorado native, he returned to the home he loves after graduating from the University of Kentucky College of Law. Now, he uses the knowledge he gained as an El Paso County District Attorney to fight tirelessly for his clients’ rights. He is AV-Preeminent rated, has been recognized for his work by The National Trial Lawyers, and has been named to Best of the Springs lists by The Gazette for years.
Contact The Law Office of Andrew Bryant today for a free consultation concerning your criminal or family law case. You are just a click away from a top-rated and respected team with the experience and tenacity to ensure you get the best legal services offered in Colorado Springs – call or email now.