Accusations of stalking can be grave and have widespread repercussions for your life. As a result, you likely will need immediate legal advice to protect your rights and build your defense. By talking to a Weston stalking Lawyer from the outset of your case, you may be in a better position to fight back against the criminal charges.
By enlisting the help of one of our trusted Attorneys at Leifert & Leifert, you can assess the evidence against you. You also can fully explore your options for resolving the case and make an informed decision about your case. Together, you can develop the defense that is likely to be most successful in your case.
Stalking Under State Law
Under Fla. Stat. § 784.08, the criminal offense of stalking occurs when individuals intentionally, maliciously, and continually follows, harasses, or cyberstalks another person. Conduct qualifies as harassing if the actors engage in a course of conduct directed toward another person that serves no valid purpose other than causing substantial emotional distress.
Furthermore, cyberstalking refers to communicating with a person via electronic mail or other electronic means or accessing or attempting to access the online accounts or Internet-connected home electronic systems of a particular person without consent and to cause substantial emotional distress.
Various forms of conduct could qualify as stalking under state law. Some common examples of behavior that might lead to a stalking charge include:
- Repeatedly contacting individuals with disturbing and unwanted messages via text, email, phone calls, and letters
- Leaving or sending unwanted or disturbing “gifts” for individuals at their homes, schools, workplaces, or vehicles
- Vandalizing, destroying, or otherwise damaging personal property
- Following or appearing at various places where the persons are present, including in public spaces, at their homes, at their workplaces, and their schools
When these behaviors occur continually over even a relatively short period, stalking charges may result. As the consequences of a stalking charge in the local area can be devastating, getting the advice of a stalking Attorney may be highly beneficial.
Potential Punishments for Stalking
State law provides that stalking is a Class 1 Misdemeanor. A conviction for this level of a Misdemeanor can cause a jail sentence of one year and a maximum fine of $1,000. A stalking conviction may involve other penalties, as well.
For instance, the stalking statute specifically provides that a sentencing Court in a stalking case is required to consider entering a restraining order prohibiting all contact between the parties involved. The Court can put a restraining order into place for up to ten years, which can significantly restrict movement and activities even for individuals who are not or no longer are incarcerated. Additionally, individuals can face additional criminal charges if they violate the restraining order in the future.
Aggravated Stalking Charges
In some cases, individuals can face aggravated stalking charges, which is a more severe charge than stalking. Aggravated stalking charges may occur when individuals commit typical stalking behaviors, but also make a credible threat toward the person. A credible threat is a verbal or nonverbal threat that places people in fear of their safety or the safety of others who are close to them, based on a reasonable perspective.
Under state law, aggravated stalking is a third-degree Felony offense. As such, the potential penalties for aggravated stalking are more severe than those for stalking. A conviction on a third-degree Felony carries the potential for individuals to receive up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. As a Felony conviction can have widespread implications for the future, getting the advice of a stalking Attorney in the nearby region can be crucial.
Look to a Weston Stalking Attorney for Advice
Stalking charges can be a significant threat to your future. A conviction potentially can leave you with a criminal record, a loss of some civil rights, and a term of incarceration. A Weston stalking Lawyer may be able to minimize the potential impact of the charges against you.
By getting the legal advice that you need, you may be able to build the defense that will be most advantageous to you. Together, you may be able to reach the best possible outcome in your case.