Tampa Stalking Defense Attorney
If you have been charged with stalking, cyberstalking or aggravated stalking you must speak with an experienced stalking defense lawyer in Tampa immediately before talking with law enforcement. The Tampa defense lawyers of All Family Law Group are here to help you beat these charges and to help you get on with your life without a criminal record or lengthy prison sentence squandering your future. Contact us today for a free consultation for immediate, responsive assistance.
What is Stalking/Cyberstalking?
The prosecutor must show the following: See Florida statute 784.048.
- There must be a “course of conduct” involved which means a pattern of conduct composed of a series of acts over a period of time, however short, which evidences a continuity of purpose.
- There must be a “credible threat” which means a verbal or nonverbal threat, or a combination of the two, including threats delivered by electronic communication or implied by a pattern of conduct, which places the person who is the target of the threat in reasonable fear for his or her safety or the safety of his or her family members or individuals closely associated with the person, and which is made with the apparent ability to carry out the threat to cause such harm. It is not necessary to prove that the person making the threat had the intent to actually carry out the threat. Furthermore, the present incarceration of the person making the threat is not a bar to prosecution under this section.
- “Cyberstalk” means to engage in a course of conduct to communicate, or to cause to be communicated, words, images, or language by or through the use of electronic mail or electronic communication, directed at a specific person, causing substantial emotional distress to that person and serving no legitimate purpose.
Penalties for Stalking/Cyberstalking:
- A person who willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly follows, harasses, or cyberstalks another person commits the offense of stalking, a misdemeanor of the first degree is punishable bu a definite term of imprisonment not to exceed one year.
- For a second degree misdemeanor is punishable by up to a definite term of imprisonment not to exceed 60 days.
- If the person is convicted of a noncriminal stalking violation, he or she may not be sentenced to a term of imprisonment nor in general to any other punishment more severe than a fine, forfeiture, or other civil penalty.
What is Aggravated Stalking?
Aggravated stalking is considered to be all of the following by:
- Willful, malicious, and repeated following, harassing, or cyberstalking another person while making credible threats to that person;
- After an injunction for protection against repeat violence, sexual violence, or dating violence, a person knowingly, willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly follows, harasses, or cyber stalks another person;
- After an injunction against domestic violence, a person knowingly, willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly follows, harasses, or cyber stalks another person;
- After any other court-ordered prohibition of conduct toward the victim or their property, a person knowingly, willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly follows, harasses, or cyber stalks another person;
- A person knowingly, willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly follows, harasses, or cyber stalks a child under the age of 16; and
- Knowingly, willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly following, harassing, or cyberstalking a former victim and the defendant has already been sentenced with one or more of the following crimes (and the defendant is prohibited from contacting that victim):
- Lewd or lascivious offenses committed upon or in the presence of persons less than 16 years old, or
- Sexual battery; or
- Computer pornography, prohibited computer usage, or traveling to meet minor
Penalties for Aggravated Stalking:
Aggravated stalking is normally charged as a third degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison and a maximum fine of $5,000. However, if there is a monetary gain as a result of the crime, then the fine may be increased an amount equal to or double the gain. In addition, if the victim suffers a monetary loss then the fine may be double by the amount of the victim’s loss.
Stalking Statistics and Evidence Through Texts, Social Media, and Emails
It is easy to see why stalking crimes, particularly aggravated stalking offenses, are punished so severely, when the following information, compiled by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, is taken account
- 14 out of 1,000 people in a 12-month period are victims of stalking;
- 11 percent of stalking victims have been stalked for five or more years;
- People who are divorced or separated have almost a 300 percent higher chance of being stalking victims than others;
- Nearly half, or 46 percent, of stalking victims felt fear of the future; and
- The majority of stalking victims lose workdays because of the stalking;
To make matters more difficult for defending against unfair allegations, stalking is becoming easier to track because of the permanency of text messages, emails, social media content, and cell phone calling records. This means that your normal, consensual, contact with the alleged victim via calling and texting may be taken completely out of context by the prosecution. People send more texts and emails these days than ever, and the frequency with which your messages were sent could be made to appear as if you were stalking the other person.
Contact an Aggressive, Knowledgeable Tampa Criminal Defense Stalking Attorney
If you are facing stalking or aggravated stalking charges, you need professional legal defense to defend you against the allegations charged. It is imperative that you contact an experienced Tampa criminal lawyer today before speaking with law enforcement to protect and preserve your rights. Contact us at All Family Law Group, P.A. by telephone at [Phone] or email us to schedule a free consultation with one of our criminal responsive, dedicated criminal attorneys.