Stalking is a criminal offense in Lake Park that involves repeatedly following, contacting, harassing, or threatening another individual. Even if you had no malicious intent, attempting to repeatedly contact another person who has indicated they do not want to communicate with you can result in stalking charges. Let a Lake Park stalking Lawyer represent you if you have been charged with a stalking offense.
A conviction for stalking can result in such penalties as confinement and a substantial fine. If there is a history of prior stalking-related offenses, more severe sanctions can be imposed for a subsequent offense. One of our trusted Attorneys at Leifert & Leifert can zealously protect your legal rights, defend you against stalking charges, and fight to obtain an optimal outcome in your case.
Stalking Laws in Lake Park
Stalking offenses, which include cyberstalking and aggravated stalking, are described in Section 784.048 of the 2019 Florida Statutes. Stalking refers to willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly following, contacting, harassing, or cyberstalking another individual. Harassing behavior is defined as a pattern of conduct directed at a specific individual which causes that person severe emotional distress and does not serve any legitimate purpose.
Cyberstalking involves the repeated harassment of an individual using electronic communications, including electronic mail. Accessing or attempting to access another person’s online accounts or home electronic systems connected to the Internet without that person’s permission also constitutes cyberstalking.
Stalking and cyberstalking offenses are elevated to aggravated stalking when any of the following actions occur:
- Credible threats are made to the person being stalked or cyber-stalked
- Stalking behaviors continue even after an injunction for protection has been issued
- Stalking behaviors, including cyberstalking, are directed at a child under age 16
- Contacting or stalking the victim of certain offenses, such as those involving sexual battery or lewdness in the presence of a minor, after being convicted and prohibited from contacting the victim
Penalties for a Stalking Conviction
Stalking and cyberstalking are both Misdemeanor offenses of the first degree in Lake Park. The penalties for either offense are confinement in jail for up to one year and a fine up to $1,000. However, subsequent stalking offenses can result in harsher penalties being imposed.
Aggravated stalking is a Felony offense of the third degree and is punishable by confinement in prison for up to five years and a fine up to $5,000. Subsequent convictions for aggravated stalking or another Felony offense can result in a person being identified as a habitual Felony offender or violent career criminal, which is associated with an extended term of imprisonment upon conviction.
Injunctions Against Stalking
An injunction for protection can be issued against a person charged with or convicted of a stalking offense. The injunction prohibits the charged or convicted individual from contacting the alleged victim. Violating an injunction for protection against stalking can result in charges of contempt or prosecution for a criminal violation of an injunction.
A subsequent violation of an injunction when there are at least two prior convictions is charged as a third-degree Felony, which carries the same penalty as for aggravated stalking. A Lake Park criminal Lawyer who handles stalking cases can explain injunctions in greater detail and provide examples of prohibited behaviors or actions that may be considered violations of a typical injunction.
Contact a Lake Park Stalking Attorney
You do not have to fight criminal charges of stalking, cyberstalking, or aggravated stalking on your own. With a Lake Park stalking Lawyer on your side, you can have someone fighting for you and advocating for your best interests.
It can be to your advantage to have legal assistance when fighting stalking charges, especially if you have prior convictions. Contact a criminal defense attorney who handles stalking cases to discuss your options.