Stalking is considered to be a form of domestic violence since it is recognized as a form of harassment and in some cases, even intimidation. Individuals charged with this offense should act quickly as both the social stigma and the legal penalties could derail a person’s life.
An Attorney experienced in stalking defense cases provides services that show a Judge or Jury that your actions were not intentional and not meant to cause harm. The right legal professional subsequently helps you do damage control that prevents injuries to your reputation. To get started on your case, schedule a consultation with a Boca Raton stalking Lawyer at Leifert & Leifert today.
How Do Florida Laws Define Stalking & What are the Penalties?
Title XLVI, Chapter 784, Section 048 of the Florida Code details what the state constitutes as stalking and harassment, as well as the related penalties. Stalking is defined as the willful, repeated, and malicious following of another individual without a legitimate reason and designed to inflict emotional harm . In contrast, aggravated stalking is considered willful, malicious, and repeated following with intent to make the individual afraid of bodily injury or death.
Stalking is a first-degree Misdemeanor punishable with up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine, while aggravated stalking is a third-degree Felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. Cyberstalking is a second-degree Misdemeanor with penalties including a $500 fine and 60 days in jail. Violating a protective order or injunction is a first degree misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail.
Police officers can arrest individuals accused of stalking without a warrant if there is probable cause. Since Florida uses discretionary rather than mandatory or preferred arrest policies, legal professionals note that the officer cannot arrest an accused person if harassment or stalking evidence is lacking. Mandatory policies require arrests when there is probable cause, while preferred policies prefer officers make arrests if there is probable cause.
Common Defenses in Stalking Cases
To combat a stalking case, an Attorney might focus on establishing reasonable doubt. For example, if someone claims their neighbor follows them to work every morning, the legal representative could show that the defendant simply uses the same commuting route. An Attorney can also prove reasonable doubt if the defendant uses the same grocery stores, gym, or retail stores as their accuser. Frequenting these places is not criminal, which casts doubt over the accuser’s claims’ legitimacy.
Other typical defenses include constitutionally protected activities. For example, if the defendant is accused of stalking but was merely exercising their constitutional rights via picketing or protesting engagements, they may not be found guilty of committing a crime. Legitimate communications, such as those concerning childcare or business matters, do not fall into stalking or harassment categories either.
Get in Touch with a Boca Raton Stalking Attorney Today
Make an appointment with a Boca Raton stalking Lawyer immediately if you have been accused of following someone. Swift legal action shows you do not take the accusations lightly and have every intention of proving your innocence.
Call one of our Attorneys at Leifert & Leifert today to discuss your case in-depth and begin formulating a viable defense that shows you are an asset to the community instead of a danger.