Stalking is a crime that is a direct violation of another individual’s personal space and rights. Because stalking has become increasingly more common over the last few decades, Colorado is one of the few states that have implemented distinct laws that go into detail about the offense. If you have been accused of stalking in Denver, there is a high potential that you’ll receive consequences. Learn more about your rights in a Colorado stalking case by talking to our skilled team at The Law Center P.C.
Because stalking is considered a criminal offense in Colorado, an individual who is convicted of it can face misdemeanor or even felony penalties. At The Law Center P.C., our vast knowledge of criminal law ranges from stalking and harassment to DUIs and drug crimes. We have a team of attorneys who share decades of experience defending Colorado residents and are devoted to working toward favorable solutions. Any kind of stalking accusation is serious, so don’t be afraid to reach out for legal help when you need it.
In most stalking cases, the defendant must “make a credible threat” to the victim or their immediate family. Colorado law defines a “credible threat” as any sort of communication, conduct, threat, or action that would make a reasonable individual afraid for their safety. Stalking often involves repetitive actions that alone may not be illegal, but consistently performed can create a credible threat. For someone’s behavior to qualify as stalking in Colorado, they must knowingly do one of the following:
Because most states consider stalking to be a form of harassment, they don’t have other laws in place that discuss the offense. Colorado, however, has some of the most in-depth stalking legislation in the country. This includes the state’s general harassment laws in addition to what is known as Vonnie’s Law.
Vonnie’s Law is a piece of legislation implemented back in 2012. This law helps to better protect victims of stalking by requiring all defendants arrested for the charge to attend a hearing with a judge before they are allowed to be released on bail. In this hearing, a judge will make the defendant agree to the terms of a restraining order and ensure they understand its rules. This hearing also helps to cause a reasonable delay that allows the defendant to calm down instead of being released immediately and attempting to take revenge on the victim. Vonnie’s Law was implemented in memory of a teaching assistant who was murdered by her stalker after he was released on bail.
Oftentimes stalking situations affect more than just a victim. Their romantic partner, immediate family, and other loved ones can all suffer emotional distress because of stalking directed toward them. In a stalking case, immediate family can include spouses, parents, grandparents, children, and siblings. This means that if any of them are impacted by the behavior of a stalker, they may also be able to hold the defendant legally accountable or testify for the victim.
Because stalking has the potential to result in emotional or physical harm to a victim and their loved ones, the state of Colorado considers all stalking offenses to be felony violations. Legal consequences for a stalking charge in Colorado can look like the following:
If you are convicted of a first-time stalking offense, it will most likely be charged as a Class 5 felony. This means you may face anywhere from one to five years in state prison, a fine ranging from $1,000 to $100,000, and mandatory parole for multiple years after your release. You will also have a felony on your criminal record.
Because stalking puts a victim at “extraordinary risk,” any offense that is not an individual’s first will result in intensified consequences. Your second or subsequent stalking conviction will generally be charged as a Class 4 felony. With Class 4 felonies in Colorado, you can expect anywhere from two to ten years in state prison, fines from $2,000 to $500,000, and mandatory parole upon your release for at least three years.
Retaining a defense lawyer can come with a collection of advantages for anyone arrested for stalking in Colorado. At The Law Center P.C., you can expect us to:
Most criminal offenses carry statutes of limitations to ensure that the claims remain solid and use valid evidence. In Colorado, any form of stalking charge has a three-year statute of limitations. This means a victim or a prosecution has three years from the date the last incident occurred to take legal action against the defendant. If three years have passed, the victim’s right to file a claim against the defendant for that specific offense has now been terminated.
Retaining a criminal defense team is one of the first steps anyone should take after being arrested for suspicions of stalking. Your defense lawyer can help you better understand the accusations against you and the rights you hold during your case. They can also evaluate your unique situation and your alleged behavior to build a defense for your trial. Because stalking is most often a felony offense in Colorado, you need an experienced defense lawyer to combat a potential conviction.
With the guidelines implemented by Vonnie’s Law, a defendant accused of stalking must sign a mandatory protective order. This is a restraining order that is legally required to help protect the victim in case the defendant is released on bond. When someone is arrested for stalking charges in Colorado, they will have to attend a hearing before they are released on bond, where they sign this protective order.
There is a wide range of evidence that both the prosecution and your defense attorney may attempt to use during your criminal trial. Common evidence in stalking cases includes phone records, videos, photos, eyewitness testimony, physical letters, and other forms of recorded communication between the defendant and the victim. If your defense attorney is able to disprove key pieces of evidence, your case may ultimately be dropped.
Colorado’s stalking laws are more drastic than other states. This means when you are accused of stalking, you may face a felony conviction. At The Law Center P.C., our lawyers have been protecting the rights of Denver residents for years. Our insight into varying stalking laws, in addition to our extensive negotiation practice, helps us to provide powerful defense services for our clients. If you or someone you know were accused of stalking in Denver, contact The Law Center P.C. immediately and request your consultation today.