Legal consequences for a criminal charge of stalking often vary and may depend upon the circumstances of the alleged incident. Accordingly, a stalking offense can be charged as a Misdemeanor or a Felony in Palm Beach Gardens.
When facing a stalking charge, consulting a Palm Beach Gardens stalking defense lawyer may play an important role in the outcome of your case. Understanding the laws surrounding the offense and how they may influence your criminal case could assist you with building a credible defense. Call the skilled criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Leifert & Leifert to get help choosing the right course of action and gain access to strong and experienced legal representation.
Understanding a Stalking Charge in Palm Beach Gardens
Florida Statutes §784.048(2) allows “a person who willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly follows, harasses, or cyberstalks another person” to be charged with stalking. Typically, an offense of this nature may be charged as stalking or aggravated stalking in Palm Beach Gardens. An aggravated stalking offense can generally be differentiated by the issuance of a credible threat of bodily harm.
A stalking offense is usually charged as a First-Degree Misdemeanor, while an aggravated stalking offense may be charged as a Third-Degree Felony. Additionally, a stalking offense committed against a person under the age of 16 typically results in an aggravated stalking charge automatically.
Restraining or protective orders may be levied by a Judge on someone accused of stalking to stay away from the person who brought the complaint against them. Regardless of whether the offense occurred, once an order of protection or restraint is established it is generally in a defendant’s best interests to comply with the directive, as a failure to do so may result in severe penalties that could limit their personal freedom even further.
In most cases, a law enforcement officer can arrest someone for stalking without a warrant. This is particular underscores the potential importance of retaining a skilled Palm Beach Gardens stalking defense lawyer who is familiar with regulations surrounding stalking in the state of Florida.
Potential Penalties for Violating a Protective Order in a Stalking Case
Typically, there are different circumstances that may apply to a stalking case and potentially influence the way a penalty is issued. The penalties for violating a protective order may include:
- Minimum sentence of 21 months in prison
- Up to five years of additional prison time, as determined by the judge
- Up to five years of probation
- Up to $5,000 in fines, again determined by the judge
The penalties for a stalking charge can be severe, therefore, it is imperative for you to reach to an experienced defense attorney.
Defending Against a Stalking Charge in Palm Beach Gardens
Someone who is charged with stalking may have several legally valid defenses. For instance, you could be arrested on a stalking charge while engaging in public protest or a picketing event. The First Amendment typically preserves a person’s right to engage in such activities. In order to enforce this right, however, you may nonetheless need to seek assistance from a Palm Beach Gardens stalking defense lawyer.
Speak with a Palm Beach Gardens Stalking Attorney Today
If you were charged with a stalking offense, consulting a Palm Beach Gardens stalking defense lawyer could be very beneficial to your future. Court proceedings often can become confusing and it may become difficult to understand what legal course of action you should take.
Contact Leifert & Leifert for a free examination of your case. Our dedicated attorneys could help you identify effective legal strategies that may fit the circumstances of your case.