Stalking basically means aggressively annoying someone who’d rather be left alone. It’s a pattern of conduct that includes intimidating or harassing someone by watching, following, calling, messaging or emailing a person who doesn’t want to have any contact with you. The charges most often arise in the wake of broken relationships. It’s “a course of conduct directed at a specific person which causes substantial emotional distress to that person and serves no legitimate purpose,” according to Florida Statute 784.048.
In addition to following someone around and sending unwanted messages and calls, stalking behavior includes damaging or defacing property, and surreptitiously videotaping or taking their picture — more or less or spying on someone. Stalking done over the internet is referred to as Cyberstalking. Stalking is a serious offense, a first-degree misdemeanor that carries a sentence of up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine.
Aggravated Stalking is a pattern of harassment combined with making a credible threat of death or injury to the victim or the victim’s family. Making a threat in the process of stalking is a third-degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine up to $5,000.
A conviction for Stalking or Aggravated Stalking can have serious consequences. As with any case, a criminal defense attorney can make pretrial motions to have certain evidence suppressed (if the police violated procedure) and make motions to dismiss the case altogether if the prosecution has a weak case. If the case goes to court, your lawyer may present mitigating evidence that your act was not intentional, or use other appropriate measures or tactics in your defense.
An experienced criminal defense attorney knows that laws can be vaguely worded and actions can be taken out of context. Sometimes charges arise from a misunderstanding, especially in the context of relationships. A police officer who made an arrest may not have the whole story. In any case, if you’ve been arrested, it’s important to talk with an attorney as soon as possible. Naturally, you’ll want the best criminal defense lawyer available. Consider the Orlando Stalking Charges Defense Attorneys at Rivas Law. Call 407-644-2466 to talk to a lawyer and discuss your options.