Since stalking and harassment charges can result in harsh consequences, contacting a Pompano Beach stalking lawyer can be essential to defending yourself against these types of accusations. A hard-working criminal defense attorney from Leifert & Leifert might be able to work with you to resolve any charges made against you and pursue a positive outcome in your case. If you are facing charges for stalking, call today and set up a consultation.
Stalking in Pompano Beach
Florida Statutes §784.08 defines the criminal offense of stalking as occurring when individuals intentionally and/or cruelly follow, harass, or cyberstalk others on repeated occasions. Harassment includes various types of conduct that occur over time and has no valid purpose other than to cause emotional distress to an individual. In a similar vein, cyberstalking involves all electronic communications specifically designed to harass and inflict emotional pain on a specific person.
Some examples of behaviors that might fall within the definition of stalking under Florida law include:
- Sending repeated text messages, emails, messages via social networking platforms, letters, or other correspondence
- Leaving flowers or unwanted gifts in vehicles, at home, at school, or at work
- Damaging personal property or making threats to do so
- Following or waiting for others at their places of residence, work, or school in a repeated and unwanted manner
Any of these behaviors could constitute stalking, especially if they occur over a protracted period. If you are accused of stalking or harassment, a Pompano Beach stalking lawyer may be able to assist you.
When individuals make a credible threat to others in the course of stalking them, they may commit aggravated stalking. Aggravated stalking is a third-degree Felony charge which could carry a maximum five-year prison sentence and a $5,000 fine if it results in a conviction.
Aggravated stalking can also occur in the absence of any credible threats. For instance, if the target is a child who is under the age of 16, the offense may be regarded as aggravated stalking. Likewise, if the stalking or harassing behavior occurs after a court has entered an injunction for protection against repeated, sexual, dating, or domestic violence offenses, or if a court has issued a no-contact order in a related criminal case, the offense constitutes aggravated stalking.
What Is a Credible Threat?
In the context of an aggravated stalking charge, credible threats are threats that can cause the target someone to fear for their own safety or the safety of their family members or others closely associated with them. These threats, which can be verbal or nonverbal in nature, must cause the individual to believe that the person making the threats can carry out the threats.
Credible threats may include those made via electronic communications or implied by a pattern of conduct. However, prosecutors need not prove that the accused had the capability of carrying out the threat—all that matters is the reasonable perception of the target of the stalking.
Penalties for Stalking in Pompano Beach
Stalking is a first-degree Misdemeanor under Florida law, which can result in a jail sentence of one year and a fine of $1,000. Additionally, as part of the punishment for any stalking or aggravated stalking offense, the court may issue an order restraining the accused from having any contact with the target of their alleged stalking for up to ten years. Since the implications of a stalking conviction can result in a no-contact order that may last for years, getting advice from a stalking lawyer in Pompano Beach may be wise.
Allow a Pompano Beach Stalking Attorney to Help
Stalking charges could have severe consequences, including a permanent criminal record and the implementation of a protection or no-contact order that can last for several years. Having a stalking conviction on your record can also be harmful to you both professionally and personally. In this type of situation, a Pompano Beach stalking lawyer may be able to help you.
Strong legal representation may be essential to avoiding or minimizing the potential results of the charges against you, but building a solid defense to the charges may be easier with the assistance of legal counsel. To schedule a consultation and get started on your case, call the Law Offices of Leifert & Leifert today.