Anti-Stalking Order DC

Explore our in-depth guide on anti-stalking orders in DC. Learn about the legal process, requirements, and how Scrofano Law PC can assist you in these challenging times.

Has an Anti-Stalking Order Been Issued Against You?

If you are facing stalking charges or an anti-stalking order has been issued against you in the District of Columbia, it’s crucial to understand the complex legal landscape surrounding this order.

An anti-stalking order (ASO) in Washington, DC, is a court order directing someone to refrain from stalking another person. Violating an anti-stalking order can lead to severe legal consequences, including criminal charges, monetary fines, and imprisonment. Therefore, if you are served with an anti-stalking order, it is crucial to adhere strictly to its terms while seeking legal counsel to ensure that your actions are within the bounds of the law.

Our criminal defense attorneys at Scrofano Law PC have extensive experience defending persons served with any protection order.

Understanding Anti-Stalking Orders in DC

Anti-stalking orders are primarily designed to provide protection by prohibiting alleged stalkers from engaging in behaviors that threaten or harass the individual seeking the order.

The person filing the anti-stalking order petition is called a petitioner, while the person against whom the order is filed is called a respondent.

What is an Anti-Stalking Order?

An anti-stalking order is a court order in which a judge typically includes instructions for the alleged stalker to maintain a certain distance from the petitioner’s home or workplace, refrain from committing any offense against the petitioner, and perhaps even avoid contact through electronic means.

Anti-stalking orders can be valid for up to two years. Furthermore, you may face criminal charges if you do not comply with these orders’ requirements.

Types of Stalking Behaviors Covered

Under DC Code § 22–3133, many behaviors can constitute stalking. For example, following, placing under surveillance, entering someone’s home illegally, or using someone’s personal information can be considered stalking. These behaviors are known as the course of conduct.

However, the alleged stalker must intend to cause or know that they would cause the person they allegedly stalk to:

  • Fear for their safety or the safety of another person
  • Feel seriously frightened or disturbed
  • Suffer emotional distress.

The Legal Process for Obtaining an Anti-Stalking Order

The course of conduct has to occur within 90 days on at least one occasion before someone can file an anti-stalking order. If it happens more than once, for example, on two or more occasions, every 24-hour period can be considered a separate incident.

A petition for an anti-stalking order can be filed in the Domestic Violence Division of the DC Superior Court. When filing for an ASO, the petitioner can request the court to issue a temporary anti-stalking order. 

If the petitioner’s safety is considered to be immediately endangered by the respondent, a judge can hold an ex parte hearing without the respondent’s presence. A temporary anti-stalking order can be valid for up to 14 days and extended if necessary.

A final anti-stalking order can be issued after a court hearing to which a respondent has been properly served with notice of the court date. At the hearing, both parties can present evidence to the judge. After the hearing, the judge decides whether to issue the final order.

However, the final anti-stalking order can be issued even if the stalker fails to appear at the hearing and both parties consent to the order being issued. The final order can last up to two years. 

The length of the order’s validity can change if either party petitions the court and proves a good cause to extend it, change it, or even cancel it.

Fighting an Anti-Stalking Order

The final order will be issued if the judge believes it is more likely that you stalked the petitioner. In other words, fighting an anti-stalking order requires you to prove the petitioner’s charges are false.

If the order is issued, you have the right to appeal any final Superior Court order or decision.

However, appealing any civil protection order may be difficult if the judge didn’t make a mistake regarding the incorrect application of the law, procedural error, or the admissibility of crucial evidence.

If you decide to fight an anti-stalking order, consider retaining an experienced attorney. They will know what evidence can be substantial and how to argue your case if you choose to appeal.

After an Anti-Stalking Order Has Been Granted

Even if you feel the charges against you were exaggerated or false, obeying any temporary anti-stalking order provisions may be in your best interest.

Potential Consequences of Being Subject to an Anti-Stalking Order

Protection orders contain prohibitions against respondents owning firearms, even in connection with employment. That can seriously impact your job if you are working as a security guard, member of the military, or police officer.

Furthermore, you may be ordered to stop using property you own with the petitioner. You also may be ordered to pay for the petitioner’s costs and attorney fees.

Having a lawyer who can help you at the trial level may be a better move than waiting for an appeal.

Enforcement and Violations

Protective Order Violations in DC should be taken seriously. An individual who violates an anti-stalking order can be held in civil or criminal contempt. That means the judge can issue another, more restrictive order, and it can also result in criminal charges, potentially leading to fines and jail time.

How Can Scrofano Law PC Help With Anti-Stalking Orders in DC?

If you have been served with an anti-stalking order in DC, it’s crucial to understand your obligations and the potential legal repercussions. The first step in fighting this order is to attend a hearing. You will have the opportunity to argue your case and present evidence. Although you are not required to be represented by an attorney, you may want to consider seeking the assistance of a knowledgeable lawyer.

Every criminal lawyer at Scrofano Law PC has experience defending a wide range of criminal charges, including:

  • Domestic violence offenses

  • Assault

  • Gun offenses

  • Sex offenses

  • Traffic offenses.

Our team at Scrofano Law PC can successfully guide you through complex legal and criminal matters, including anti-stalking orders. With years of experience, we can offer comprehensive assistance tailored to your specific circumstances. From building a strong case to providing legal representation during the hearing, we are dedicated to achieving the best possible outcome.

If you are being accused of stalking or facing an anti-stalking order issued against you, don’t hesitate to contact our team for skilled assistance.

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