Orlando Stalking Lawyer
In Florida, physically following an individual or communicating with someone in a way that causes that person emotional distress is considered stalking. Stalking may be accomplished on the Internet, by harassing someone in person or over the telephone, or in any manner in which one person can reach another. Given the huge popularity of the Internet and growing technologies including cell phones, cyber stalking has become a huge problem not only in Florida, but across the nation. In fact, Florida's Statute 784.048 makes it possible for someone to be charged with stalking based solely on the word of the accuser. Whether you have been accused of physically stalking another person, stalking someone on the telephone, or through the use of an electronic device, it is vital that you consult with an experienced Orlando stalking lawyer immediately.
Whether or not law enforcement officers arrest someone for stalking may depend on his or her opinion about whether a crime was actually committed, because of the vagueness of stalking laws. What one officer may consider to be just persistence may be considered by another officer to be legitimate stalking or harassing behavior. You do not have to make threats to be charged with stalking; the fact that the alleged victim experiences emotional distress due to the conduct of the alleged offender is sufficient to be arrested. Something as simple as an ex-spouse or partner repeatedly texting messages such as "I miss you" or "I cannot live without you" may be considered cyber stalking. Regardless of your situation, if you have been accused it is urgent that you seek legal counsel at once.Defense to Stalking Charges in Florida
There are several defense strategies which may be effective in challenging accusations of stalking. These defenses include, but are not limited to:
- Lack of credible threat. The person claiming that he/she is being stalked often cannot produce evidence of physical or verbal stalking or harassment.
- Prosecution fails to prove all elements. In every criminal defense case, a prosecutor must "prove" all of the elements of the crime in order for the defendant to be found guilty. In a stalking case, the prosecution has the burden of proving that a pattern exists, that the alleged victim legitimately felt fear or emotional distress, and that a credible threat exists. If all of these elements cannot be proven, the accused cannot be convicted.
- The alleged victim was not truthful
- Case of mistaken identity; in some situations, the alleged victim may intentionally identify someone out of spite or revenge
Criminal Penalties for Stalking in Orlando & Central Florida
Stalking is a first-degree misdemeanor offense in the state. However, an individual may be charged with a felony if he or she has been convicted in the past, or due to the degree/seriousness of the stalking or threats. In addition, the age of the alleged victim and whether there was a protection order in place against the alleged stalker may also determine the penalties the accused faces.
First-degree misdemeanor may result in a maximum of one year in jail, along with up to $1,000 in fines.
A second-degree felony stalking charge involving written threats to cause bodily injury or kill someone will result in a maximum prison sentence of 15 years, a fine of up to $10,000, or both.Contact Adams & Luka Now
As is evident from the above, a conviction for stalking is serious, and could cost you your freedom. Even more concerning, your career and reputation could be ruined. At Adams & Luka, we use our experience, skill, and committed approach to secure positive results for our client. For unsurpassed legal representation, contact us now at (407) 872-0307 or (352) 787-2101.