What Does Colorado Law Say About Stalking?

Stalking is a crime that happens when a person purposefully and repeatedly harasses another person or acts intending to harass them. Stalking comes in many forms, including cyberstalking, celebrity stalking, workplace stalking, and workplace harassment.

Colorado Springs criminal defense lawyers explain that you can be charged with unlawful stalking in Colorado if you credibly threaten the victim and engage in repeated behavior that instills fear or makes the victim suffer emotional turmoil. Sometimes stalking may be charged without the need for a credible threat, repeatedly follows, approaches, contacts, places under surveillance, or makes any form of communication in a way that causes emotional distress.

The act is not considered stalking if you only made the threat once, the threat was not credible, and not against the victim or their immediate family member. It’s also not stalking if the action did not scare or distress the victim. Defending yourself against the charges can be complex, so you should get the help of skilled Colorado Springs domestic violence lawyers.

What is Credible Threat?

Credible threats can be issued in various ways, such as the following:

  • Social media
  • Phone calls
  • Text messages
  • Gestures
  • Typed or handwritten letters
  • Actions
  • Cyberstalking
  • Email
  • In-person threats

Stalking laws in Colorado apply to anyone subjected to the crime, whether a private citizen or a well-known public person. The above credible threats are illegal as they apply to stalking, no matter where they happen, whether at home or in the workplace.

Stalking can also be charged as an act of domestic violence if they are commited against an intimate partner. The penalties upon a conviction can be stiff and curtail your freedom if you get an imprisonment sentence. Consult skilled domestic violence lawyers in Colorado Springs to help you create a solid defense strategy.

What is Considered Domestic Violence in Colorado?

Colorado laws define domestic violence as:

  • Any act or credible threat of violence against an intimate partner
  • Crime against a person or property to punish, threaten, coerce, control, intimidate, or punish them.

Intimate partners under domestic laws include:

  • Spouses and former spouses
  • Persons with whom the stalker shares a child
  • Current and former unmarried couples

What Does Domestic Violence Constitute?

According to Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-6-800.3 (2022), domestic violence crimes include the following:

  • Assault
  • Strangulation
  • Sexual assault
  • Protection order violations
  • Trespassing
  • Arson
  • Harassment
  • Stalking
  • Criminal mischief

Anyone who commits these crimes against an intimate partner is considered to have committed a domestic violence offense. If you’re facing charges for stalking, the offense could be classified under domestic violence charges. Consult a skilled domestic violence attorney in Colorado Springs to help you prepare for your defense.

What Are the Consequences of a Stalking Conviction?

The penalties following a stalking conviction depend on whether it’s a first-time or subsequent offense.

First-Time Offense

If you’re facing charges for a first-time stalking offense, the crime is a Class 5 felony. Stalking is considered an “extraordinary risk” crime with the following penalties upon conviction:

  • 1-4 years in prison and mandatory 2-year parole or
  • A fine of between $1,000 and $100,000

Additional penalties include community service and mandatory counseling depending on the severity of the case. Depending on the circumstances, the victim could also sue you in a civil case.

Subsequent Stalking Within 7 Years of a Previous Conviction

A subsequent stalking offense within seven years of a prior conviction is a Class 4 felony in Colorado. The penalties upon a conviction are:

  • 2-8 years in prison with a mandatory 3-year parole
  • A fine of between $2,000 and $500,000

Stalking that Violates a Probation or Protection Order

Stalking that violates a protective order or a parole or probation condition is a Class 4 felony, even if it’s a first offense. The consequences of a conviction are:

  • 2-8 years in prison with a mandatory 3-year parole
  • A fine of between $2,000 and $500,000

Stalking charges can carry a domestic violence enhancement for harassment if the offense is against someone with whom you have or had a romantic relationship. In addition to the penalties associated with stalking, you can also get additional penalties related to domestic violence treatment and supervision, including loss of the right to own firearms.

How Can I Defend Myself Against Stalking Charges?

Colorado district attorneys take stalking charges very seriously, but there are elements they must prove to have you convicted. For example, they must prove that you made a credible threat that would cause fear to a reasonable person about their safety or the safety of a continuing relationship.

Often, the alleged victim or witness simply misunderstands the defendant’s actions. Defending yourself depends on specific facts. Experienced criminal defense lawyers in Colorado Springs can evaluate your case and help you determine the most favorable strategy. Common defenses include:

  • You did not threaten anyone
  • The victim did not suffer any serious emotional harm or distress
  • You contacted the victim only once, so it doesn’t qualify as stalking
  • You contacted or followed the victim more than once, but it had nothing to do with the thre
  • Misconduct by law enforcement officers, such as coerced confessions or entrapment

If your defense team can show that you never intended to cause fear to the victim or threaten them, that could serve as your defense. If the threat was ridiculous or grandiose that its execution is unlikely, that could also be your defense. Skilled domestic violence lawyers in Colorado Springs can advise you accordingly.

An Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer Helping You Fight Stalking Charges

Stalking is one of the crimes that fall under domestic violence charges. If a victim is worried about their safety or that of someone they love, they can pursue a stalking charge against you.

Defending yourself against the accusations can be challenging, but skilled domestic violence attorneys in Colorado Springs can help you.

Joyner Law has a team of skilled domestic violence attorneys who can evaluate your case and provide the legal counsel and representation you deserve. Our law firm has dedicated years of practice defending those accused of domestic violence and related crimes. Don’t suffer in silence for your mistakes. Call us at (719) 294-0566 to schedule a FREE consultation.