Stalking charges can significantly affect an individual’s life – especially when the allegations against them are weak or unfounded.
If you are facing Florida stalking charges, contact an experienced Plantation stalking lawyer to review the charges against you and determine how best to defend against them. Work with a qualified criminal defense attorney that can advocate on your behalf.
Forms of Stalking in Florida
Generally speaking, stalking refers to engaging in repeated conduct which causes a substantial degree of emotional distress to someone. It can be the result of following someone, contacting them too frequently, or communicating with them over social media which causes them emotional distress.
According to Florida Statutes Section 784.048, Florida recognizes two forms of stalking. There is regular stalking which includes willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly following or harassing another. Florida stalking offenses are generally considered first degree misdemeanors and can result in spending up to one year in prison.
There is also aggravated stalking which includes willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly following or harassing:
- Another person with credible and intentional threats to place that person in reasonable fear of death or bodily injury
- A minor under 16 years of age
- Another person after receiving an injunction for protection or any court-imposed prohibition of conduct
Interpretations of Stalking Offenses
Florida aggravated stalking offenses are generally considered third-degree felonies which can result in spending up to five years in prison. Florida stalking or aggravated stalking charges can be difficult to prove as defining what constitutes willful or malicious behavior is very subjective and can vary depending on the facts and circumstances of the situation and how the parties know one another.
An experienced Plantation stalking lawyer may understand how local prosecutors and judges might interpret these terms in different situations and can recommend the best course of action. Violating a valid Florida protective order (also referred to as a restraining order, a temporary restraining order (TRO), or an injunction), can result in serious penalties including serving a mandatory 21 month prison sentence and the possibility of serving an additional five years in prison – along with five years of probation and paying fines of up to $5,000.
If an individual is facing Florida stalking charges, they should keep in mind that many Florida judges will err on the side of caution when determining whether to issue orders for protection. In fact, Florida stalking charges are the most common reason cited for anyone seeking a protective order.
While stalking charges can be valid, some may have more to do with personal and dysfunctional relationships. In many situations, arrests for stalking are often a way for someone to obtain leverage in an impending divorce.
While any threat of violence should be taken seriously, those who exaggerate stalking allegations as a vehicle to obtain a protection order or simply to embarrass someone else should never be tolerated. Those who have been falsely accused of stalking should consult a Plantation stalking attorney that can help them build a solid defense and dispel these false charges.
Contacting a Plantation Stalking Lawyer
Contact a Plantation stalking lawyer in order to review your situation. Let your attorney investigate whether there are legal defenses available to you and make sure that the alleged victim’s stalking claims match statutory language.
Your reputation is too important to allow someone to make false or exaggerated stalking allegations against you. Contact a compassionate and capable attorney and learn how they can help.