Stalking charges are prosecuted very aggressively and are considered a serious crime with potential for very stern penalties.
What is Stalking?
There are two Degrees of Stalking in Florida: Misdemeanor and Felony.
Florida Statute 784.048(2) is the law that defines Misdemeanor Stalking:
- Willfully, maliciously and repeatedly;
- Following, harassing or cyberstalking another person.
Florida Statute 784.048(3) is the law that defines Felony Aggravated Stalking:
- Willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly;
- Follow, harass or cyberstalk another person AND
- Makes a credible threat towards the other person
- The other person is under the age of sixteen, or;
- The other person has obtained a no contact order.
Cyberstalking – Electronically sending words, images, or language to a person that causes substantial emotional distress and serves no legitimate purpose
Harassment – Engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person, which causes substantial emotional distress in that person and serves no legitimate purpose.
Credible Threat – Verbal or nonverbal threat that places another person in reasonable fear for their safety, their family’s safety, or their close associates safety.
Potential Penalties for Stalking
Misdemeanor Stalking is classified as a 1st degree misdemeanor.
- Up to 364 days in County Jail
- Up to 12 months of Probation
- Up to $1,000.00 in fines.
Aggravated Stalking is classified as a 3rd degree felony
- Up to 5 years in prison
- Up to 5 years of probation
- Up to $5,000.00 in fines
Potential Defenses to Stalking
- First Amendment Free Speech Activity
- If the language alleged to be used falls under constitutionally protected speech, then it is a defense to the charge of Stalking.
- Contact was for Legitimate Purpose
The major point in any stalking case is that the defendant allegedly contacted and harassed for no legitimate purpose at all. If it can be shown that the Defendant was contacted the alleged victim for a legitimate purpose, be it a business dispute, child custody issues, customer complaints etc. Then it can be argued that the contact was for a legitimate purpose and defeat a charge of stalking.
Contact a Broward County Stalking Defense Lawyer
Just because you were arrested, cited or served with a court summons for Stalking Charges, does not mean that you are guilty of anything illegal. Many times, these charges arise out of neighbor disputes, business disputes or ugly divorces. Be aware that if you are currently facing charges of stalking, any contact with the alleged victim in the case will likely result in your being taken into custody and held without bond. The potential consequences for a Stalking charge on your record could be disastrous. Contact Grant Schwarz, former prosecutor, Avvo.com Superb Rated Criminal Defense Attorney to discuss your Stalking charges and start fighting back.