Stalking is a crime.

In Virginia, stalking is defined as repeated conduct which places a person, or his or her family, in reasonable fear of death, sexual assault, or bodily injury.

The stalking law went into effect on July 1, 1992.

In 1998, the penalties associated with convictions were increased. A first conviction carries a penalty of not more than one year in jail and a $2,500 fine (Class 1 misdemeanor).  The penalty for a third or subsequent conviction within five years is not more than five years in prisonand a $2,500 fine (Class 6 felony).

Stalking is a unique crime, because stalkers are obsessed with controlling their victims’ actions and feelings. Stalkers will frequently threaten and harass, and in many instances will actually physically injure their victims. Stalking is a crime that can be committed against anyone, regardless of gender, race, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, or geographic location.

Facts:

• 1.4 million people are stalked annually.

• Only one half of stalking cases are reported to authorities, and 25% receive a restraining order.•

1 in 20 women will be stalked in their lifetimes.

• 79% of women know their stalkers; 50% were in anintimate relationship with their stalker; 80% of theserelationships were abusive.

*Statistics supplied by the National Institute of Justice

CODE OF VIRGINIA18.2 – 60.3

STALKING PENALTY

A. Any person who on more than one occasion engages in conduct directed at another person with the intent to place, or with the knowledge 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 shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.

B. A third or subsequent conviction occurring within five years of a conviction for an offense under this section or for a similar offense under the law of any otherjurisdiction shall be a Class 6 felony.

C. 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 which occurred outside the Commonwealth may be admissible, if relevant, in any prosecution under thissection provided that the prosecution is based upon conduct occurring within the Commonwealth.

The Code of Virginia also provides that:

•Upon conviction for stalking, the court must issue an order prohibiting contact between the defendant and the victim or the victim’s family or household member. (18.2-60.3D)

• The Department of Corrections, sheriff or regional jail director must notify, prior to release of an inmate, any victim of the offense who, in writing, requests notice,or any person designated in writing by the victim, provided the inmate was sentenced to a term of incarceration of at least forty-eight hours. The responsibleagency above must also give notice, if an inmate escapes. (18.2-60.3E)

• Persons subject to protective orders may not purchase or transport any firearms. (18.2-308.1:4)

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