The crime of stalking involves predatory behavior that’s more than merely harassing or bothering another person. For a crime to be considered stalking it must involve credible threats and frequent harassing behavior. Colorado has implemented strict laws for stalking under 18-3-602 of the Colorado Revised Statutes (C.R.S.), otherwise known as “Vonnie’s Law.”
Colorado has serious consequences for stalking. Even a first-time stalking offense is a felony and if you are a repeat offender or the stalking was in violation of your parole your penalties could be enhanced further. That is why it’s highly recommended you seek help from an experienced criminal defense attorney.
Defense Attorney for Stalking in Colorado Springs, CO
A stalking offense could uproot your whole life. You might be sentenced to prison and be required to pay expensive fines. Thankfully, you have options. If you or someone you know has been charged with stalking, it’s crucial you find quality legal representation.
Find effective and efficient representation with the attorneys at Law Offices of Clifton Black, P.C.. Our legal team has been practicing in Colorado’s court rooms for years. Contact us now at (719) 328-1616 to schedule a consultation for your case today. Law Offices of Clifton Black, P.C. represents people accused of crimes throughout the greater Colorado Springs area including Manitou Springs, Fountain and Calhan.
Overview of Stalking in Colorado
- What Does Colorado Consider to Be Stalking?
- Colorado Penalties for Stalking
- The History Behind Vonnie’s Law
- Additional Resources
What Does Colorado Consider to Be Stalking?
Stalking is a crime with harsh penalties under Colorado law. However, the crime must fit the criteria listed under 18-3-602 in the Colorado Revised Statutes for it to be a stalking offense. Harassing someone or following a person home once doesn’t mean you’re guilty of stalking.
To be guilty of stalking you must either:
- Make a believable threat against another person; and
- As an extension of the threat, you repeatedly approach, contact, communicate with or follow that person or anyone they care about.
- Repeatedly approach, contact, watch, follow put under surveillance or communicate with another person or someone they really care about;
- In a manner that would cause serious emotional distress on the victim or their friends and family; and
- The victim does suffer from serious emotional stress
For you to be convicted of stalking the act must have been repetitive and cause the victim emotional strife. You cannot be charged with stalking if:
- You made a threat one time;
- The threat wasn’t believable or credible;
- A reasonable person wouldn’t be distressed by the event;
- You follow or contact the victim one time; or
- The victim or their family wasn’t concerned when you contacted them
The term “credible threat” is defined as any threat, physical action or repeated conduct that would cause a person to be in fear of their safety or the safety of someone they care about. The threat doesn’t have to be directly expressed if the victim was reasonably afraid because of it.
You can make a credible threat in-person or by:
- Instant messaging;
- Text messaging;
- Written letters;
- Photos; or
- Any other type of communication
Colorado Penalties for Stalking
Colorado has harsh penalties for people convicted of stalking. The offense is considered an “extraordinary risk” crime, meaning it poses a danger to society. Extraordinary risk crimes have extended prison sentences so a first-time stalking offense is a class 5 felony that can result in:
- Up to 5 years in prison; and
- A fine of up to $100,000
This also includes a mandatory parole period of at least two years. A second or subsequent stalking offense within 7 years of the first will enhance the penalties to an extraordinary risk class 4 felony, which is punishable by:
- Up to 10 years in prison; and
- A fine of up to $500,000
You must complete a mandatory parole sentence for 3 years after release. If you violated a protective order by stalking, then you’ll be charged with a class 4 felony. Even if it’s your first stalking offense. The penalties for a class 4 felony include:
- Up to 10 years in prison; and
- A fine of up to $500,000
Why is it called Vonnie’s Law?
In July 2010, a woman named Vonnie Flores was working as a teaching assistant in Leadville Colorado. She had complained several times to the Lakewood County Sheriff’s Department of her neighbor who had been stalking her for two years. Flores’s neighbor would continuously follow her, touch her without consent and make inappropriate comments. He would even look into the windows to watch Vonnie and her husband.
Eventually, the neighbor was arrested for stalking. He made bail and two days later was placed under a temporary protective order. The court order prohibited him from being near Flores, her family or her friends. However, the restraining order wasn’t enough to protect Flores.
Flores returned home one day after running an errand when her neighbor opened fire at her. He then turned the weapon on himself and unfortunately Flores died as a result. In response, Representative Millie Hamner introduced a new bill to honor Flores and strengthen stalking laws. The legislation doesn’t allow people charged with stalking bail until they first appear in front of a judge.
RISE – Visit the official website for the non-profit organization known as RISE (Respect, Inspire, Support and Empower), which provides crisis intervention services to people who are survivors of sexual violence. Access their site to learn about the signs of stalking, stalking statistics, and what happens when stalkers turn to cyber abuse.
Stalking Laws in Colorado – Visit the official website of Colorado’s state laws to learn more about stalking. Access the statutes to learn the penalties and enhancements for stalking someone. You can also read the legislative declaration in support of the new stalking laws.
Defense Lawyer for Stalking in El Paso County, CO
If you or someone you know has been arrested for stalking, it’s not just important but necessary for you to get legal representation. The attorneys at Law Offices of Clifton Black, P.C. have years of experience with violent or sexual offenses such as stalking. We can take over your case no matter how big.
Contact us by dialing (719) 328-1616. We represent people throughout El Paso County and surrounding counties including Denver County and Arapahoe County.