Virginia Man Arrested for Internet Stalking
A Virginia man was recently arrested by Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents and local police at a regional Texas airport for an outstanding cyber stalking warrant, according to San Angelo Live. The man is being charged with stalking his ex-girlfriend via technology (the internet), and his bail was set at $100,000. The judge set bail higher because of the type of stalking that the man is being charged with, and also because he is from out of state. Stalking, in Virginia, is defined a person 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,” according to Virginia Code 18.2-60.3. A first time offense of stalking carries a charge of a class 1 misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to 12 months in jail and a fine of $2,500, according to Virginia statute 18.2-11. The crime is elevated to a felony on subsequent charges within a five-year period.
Interstate Stalking Carries a Much Heavier Punishment
Interstate stalking is defined in 18 U.S. Code § 2261 A as the travel across state lines “with the intent to kill, injure, harass, intimidate, or place under surveillance with intent to kill, injure, harass, or intimidate another person.” It is punishable with a maximum fine of $250,000 and up to five years in prison. The Virginia man who was arrested for cyberstalking his ex-girlfriend could be facing such penalties. If he had committed an act of violence against her, the penalties would have been even higher.
Interstate Stalking that Results in Injury or Death of the Victim
Congress passed an anti stalking law in 1996 as part of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), according to the U.S. Department of Justice. Interstate domestic violence, as defined by 18 U.S. Code § 2261, is committed when a person travels across state lines, “with the intent to kill, injure, harass, or intimidate a spouse, intimate partner, or dating partner, and who, in the course of or as a result of such travel or presence, commits or attempts to commit a crime of violence against that spouse, intimate partner, or dating partner.” Punishment for interstate stalking and then committing a crime is as follows:
- If the victim is killed, life in prison or any term of years;
- Up to 20 years in prison if there is life threatening bodily injury or permanent disfigurement of the victim;
- Up to 10 years in prison if serious bodily injury occurs or if a dangerous weapon is used;
- Up to five years in prison in any other case; and
- No less than one year in prison if the defendant has any type of no-contact or restraining order placed on them by the victim.
Contact a Virginia Criminal Defense Attorney
If you have been charged with interstate stalking or stalking within Virginia, do not hesitate to contact an experienced Virginia criminal defense attorney today with the law office of Simms Showers at 703-997-7821. We are prepared to help you today.