There are numerous laws pertaining to stalking in the state of Florida, including those set aside for cyberstalking, or stalking by digital means. Being arrested for stalking can be both scary and confusing. The laws regarding thees types of offenses can be confusing and sometimes difficult to understand. The penalties for stalking-related crimes range from probation to five years in prison, along with significant fines and court fees.
Having a good Florida criminal defense lawyer on your side can mean the difference between your freedom and additional time behind bars. Many times, stalking cases can be cleared up in court. This is because the majority of these cases are domestic disputes, arguments among friends, or lover's quarrels that revolve around gossip or “he said, she said” conversations. However, there are also much more severe cases of stalking that are dealt with by Florida law.
Aggravated stalking involves a credible threat of violence, a violation of a protective or restraining order, or the repeated stalking of a person under the age of 16. Aggravated stalking is a third degree felony in the state of Florida. Penalties for aggravated stalking can be much more severe. In addition, judges tend to hand down much harsher sentences when stalking charges are in conjunction with family violence charges or other types of violent offenses. In these instances, it is very important to seek the professional advice of an experienced Florida criminal defense lawyer.
Under Florida law, stalking can be defined as communicating or physically following someone for no apparent reason, to the point of causing emotional distress. The law is very vague and open to interpretation by the courts. This means that a conviction, as well as the accompanying sentencing, depends a great deal on the evidence presented in court. A law enforcement officer can arrest a person suspected of stalking without a warrant, as long as they have probable cause.
Cyberstalking is a new area of the law that is of an increased level of importance. Many young people do not understand exactly what cyberstalking is, much less how the law affects them. In the state of Florida, cyberstalking is communicating words, images, or language through the use of electronic mail or electronic communication, directed at a specific person, that causes substantial emotional distress and serves no legitimate purpose. Cyberstalking is a first degree misdemeanor under Florida law.
If you or a loved has been arrested for, or is being charged with, crimes related to stalking, harassment, or cyberstalking in the state of Florida, an experienced Florida criminal defense lawyer is ready to help you. Call the law offices of T. Andrew Marks to discuss your case today. He can answer your questions over the phone or help you schedule a free in-person consultation.