The Casper Star-Tribune reported that Anthony Medina stalked his neighbor, a mother of two and teacher’s aide who worked with troubled students named Yvonne “Vonnie” Flores, for at least two years. Flores’ husband erected an 8-foot fence between the two homes in Leadville, Colorado, and police issued a restraining order against Medina, but Medina spent only three hours in jail and never faced a judge before being released, returning home, and fatally shooting both Flores and himself.
The death of Vonnie Flores called attention to some of the problems with Colorado’s stalking laws, and these types of criminal offenses are now prosecuted far more aggressively than they were in the past. Prosecutors handling these types of cases often intend to have alleged offenders locked up for considerable periods of time.
Stalking is a crime in Colorado, and subsection (8) of Colorado Revised Statute § 18-3-602 requires alleged offenders to appear before a judge before being released on bail, and requires them to acknowledge the terms of the protection order issued against them. This statute is known as Vonnie’s Law.
Were you arrested or do you think that you might be under investigation for an alleged stalking crime in the Denver area? Do not speak with law enforcement until you have contacted an attorney!.
The Law Office of Kevin Pauly handles all kinds of criminal cases, including stalking, and we can help you avoid some of the most serious penalties associated with the criminal charges you are facing. Call (720) 941-6816 or fill out an online contact form to schedule a free case evaluation.
Colorado Revised Statute § 18-3-602(1) states that a person commits the crime of stalking if they directly or indirectly through another person knowingly do any of the following:
Make a credible threat to another person and repeatedly follow, approach, contact, or place that person, a member of their immediate family, or someone with whom that person has or has had a continuing relationship under surveillance
Make a credible threat to another person and repeatedly make any form of communication with that person, a member of their immediate family, or someone with whom that person has or has had a continuing relationship
Repeatedly follow, approach, contact, place under surveillance, or make any form of communication with another person that causes them to suffer serious emotional distress (although a victim does not need to prove that they received professional treatment or counseling for serious emotional distress).
Colorado Revised Statute § 18-3-602(2) also establishes several important definitions related to stalking crimes. Colorado Revised Statute § 18-3-602(2)(a) defines conduct “in connection with” a credible threat as “acts that further, advance, promote, or have a continuity of purpose, and may occur before, during, or after the credible threat,” while Colorado Revised Statute § 18-3-602(2)(b) defines a credible threat as “a threat, physical action, or repeated conduct that would cause a reasonable person to be in fear for the person’s safety or the safety of his or her immediate family or of someone with whom the person has or has had a continuing relationship,” although the threat does not need to be directly expressed if the totality of the conduct would cause a reasonable person such fear.
Under Colorado Revised Statute § 18-3-602(2)(c), immediate family is defined as including a person’s spouse and their parent, grandparent, sibling, or child. Colorado Revised Statute § 18-3-602(2)(d) established that the terms repeated or repeatedly mean on more than one occasion.
Stalking is a felony offense in Colorado. The class of felony a person is charged with will depend on other factors.
Stalking is a class 5 felony for most first offenses. The crime is a class 4 felony when it is an alleged offender’s second or subsequent offense, or if there was a temporary or permanent protection order or other court order in effect against the alleged offender at the time of the alleged offense.
A class 5 felony conviction is punishable by a presumptive range of one to three years in prison and a fine of $1,000 to $100,000. A class 4 felony conviction is punishable by two to six years in prison and a fine of $2,000 to $500,000.
Furthermore, a stalking case involving a violation of a temporary or permanent protection order will result in a separate criminal charge being filed for that violation. A conviction for the violation could result in a separate jail or prison sentence and fines.
There are several possible defenses for stalking charges, and an experienced lawyer will know which defense will work best in your case. Some of the most useful stalking defenses include:
Lack of evidence
Lack of knowledge that the alleged victim would be in the area
Unreasonable fear on the part of the victim (i.e. reasonable people would not fear for their safety in a similar situation)
Mistaken identity, common in cases where the alleged victim does not know the alleged offender, and can therefore misidentify them
False accusations, common in cases where the alleged victim and the alleged offender have a previous relationship, and so the alleged victim has a motive to defame the alleged offender
If you were arrested for an alleged stalking offense in Denver, you will want to act quickly in order to avoid major criminal consequences. Contact the Law Office of Kevin Pauly as soon as possible. Until you have legal representation, avoid speaking to law enforcement.
Kevin Pauly understands that many people accused of stalking crimes had no criminal intent and can work to possibly get your criminal charges reduced or dismissed. You can have our lawyer review your case and help you understand all of your legal options when you call or contact us online to set up a free consultation.