Stalking involves making another person either uncomfortable or fearful through repeated and unwanted forms of contact. Florida statutes make stalking a serious criminal offense that may result in jail time along with hefty fines.
If you are facing charges for stalking, you will want to speak with the Miami stalking lawyers at Stroleny Law, P.A. Do not face this criminal offense on your own. Our commitment to personal attention ensures you get the representation you deserve to fight your stalking charges and protect your freedom.
Contact our legal team today and speak with a Miami criminal defense attorney with the experience it takes to come to your defense against stalking charges.
What Is Considered Stalking Under Florida Law?
Under the Florida Statute Title 46 Chapter 784.048, it defines stalking as willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly engaging in harassment, following, or cyberstalking of another person. When a person commits repeated unwanted contact, it is a serious offense under Florida law, one that will absolutely require the expert skills of a defense attorney.
If the malicious intent also involves making a credible threat, your stalking charge may be upgraded to aggravated stalking. With a credible threat, an individual must make a verbal threat, nonverbal threat, or a combination of both that puts the victim in reasonable fear for his or her safety. Additionally, this can extend to the safety of his or her family members. Additionally, this fear may extend to concern for the safety of anyone closely associated with the victim.
A credible threat is considered legitimate if the person making that threat has the apparent ability to carry it out and cause harm. It does not matter if that person making the threat truly had the actual intention of carrying it out.
Stalking may create substantial emotional distress for victims through behaviors such as mailing unwanted packages or unwanted letters to the victim’s home. It can include tracking a person through a phone or other technological device, gathering information about someone, or repeatedly showing up at their home, place of business, school, or other public places that they are known to frequent.
These charges can additionally be upgraded to more serious charges for aggravated stalking. This will depend on the circumstances including the age of the stalking victim as well as if there is a restraining order in place for domestic violence, sexual violence, repeat violence, or dating violence that is under violation. If the victim is under the age of 16, you will automatically be looking at aggravated stalking charges.
What to Know About Aggravated Stalking
You will be facing a third-degree felony if you are accused of aggravated stalking. This charge is imposed when a defendant harasses, follows, or cyberstalks someone in a willful, malicious, and repeated manner. Additionally, threatening to kill the victim or one of their loved ones will elicit this charge.
As mentioned, if you simply stalk someone under the age of 16, you will need strong defense for your aggravated stalking charges. If you knowingly stalk any person regardless of their age that already has a protective order against you, stalking injunction, or an injunction against repeat violence, domestic violence, dating violence, or sexual violence, the prosecution is going to do everything they can to penalize you.
It is imperative that when you are arrested for stalking, especially in regards to domestic violence cases, you must contact a domestic violence attorney. Start immediately with Stroleny Law, P.A., and let an experienced criminal defense attorney help you build an aggressive defense strategy.
Cyberstalking Under Florida Law
In addition to all that stalking involves, Florida is additionally tough with cyberstalking charges. If you engage in electronic communication through words, images, or language via email or social media and it causes substantial emotional distress to the other person without having a legitimate purpose, you may find yourself facing these charges.
The critical element to have a true case of cyberstalking is a course of conduct. This relates to a series of acts over the course of time. This doesn’t mean that the behavior needs to go on for a long period. It only means that a clear pattern of behavior from the alleged stalker must be shown.
No matter what your Miami stalking charges involve, contact Stroleny Law, P.A., to discuss your case in full confidentiality with our stalking lawyers.
What Are the Potential Penalties for Miami Stalking?
In Florida, stalking or cyberstalking is considered a first-degree misdemeanor. If convicted, you may face up to one year in the county jail along with a $1,000 fine. If convicted of aggravated stalking, it is a third-degree felony with a maximum prison sentence of up to five years along with a fine of up to $5,000.
Additionally, an alleged stalking victim may also file a protective order. This would mean you are prohibited from coming within a certain distance of them or contacting them in any way. In the case of these orders for a spouse, ex-spouse, or another family member, you will be prevented from seeing your family. If you have children, you will not want to do anything to jeopardize watching them grow up and being a part of their life. Contact Stroleny Law, P.A., and get the representation you deserve.
Common Defenses for Miami Stalking Charges
Even though the Florida statute involving stalking takes this crime seriously, a criminal defense lawyer can help you with a strong defense strategy. Whether you are facing a first-degree misdemeanor or a felony charge, Stroleny Law, P.A., can come to your aid with an aggressive defense.
For example, the contact you made may have been truly for a legitimate purpose. This would include discussions for business or child custody matters. Constitutionally protected activities that include organized protesting cannot be deemed as stalking. As expected, exaggerated or false allegations are another defense that is common in cases involving bitterness between ex-spouses.
Furthermore, there are cases where it can be shown that you weren’t causing substantial emotional distress. If the alleged victim isn’t in reasonable fear in an aggravated stalking case, then the court can only find that a reasonable person would not be afraid.
When you are facing charges for stalking, you shouldn’t delay in getting the best legal representation to prevent serious consequences. If you have been accused of this conduct, reach out to our attorneys at Stroleny Law, P.A. for a free initial consultation today.
Stroleny Law, P.A. handles a variety of criminal law cases, so call now if you have any questions.