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Can I go to jail if I have a stalking charge in Florida?


Stalking is illegal in Florida under Florida Statutes Section 784.048, which says, "A person commits the crime of stalking if they willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly follow, harass, or cyberstalk another person." Under this section of the law, "harass" means "to act in a way toward a specific person that causes that person serious emotional distress and has no legitimate purpose." Also, "cyber stalk" means to "engage in a course of conduct to communicate, or cause to be communicated, words, images, or language by or through electronic mail or electronic communication, directed at a specific person; or to access, or try to access, the online accounts or Internet-connected home electronic systems of another person without that person's permission."



What happens if you follow someone in Florida?


In Florida, stalking is a first-degree misdemeanor, which means that the person could spend up to a year in jail, go on probation for a year, and pay a $1,000 fine. A ten-year restraining order, or injunction, will also be put on the person who broke the law. If needed, a stalking charge can be added to other charges like breaking and entering or trespassing.

If a person is found guilty of any of the aggravated stalking charges listed above, they have committed a third-degree felony, which carries a prison sentence of up to five years and a fine of $5,000. If the person has been found guilty of stalking before, the penalties may be harsher.



The parts of each crime that the state must prove in order to convict.


Many people think that stalking only happens when someone hides behind bushes on someone else's property, but that's not always the case. In fact, people who are no longer together often make false or exaggerated stalking claims against each other. In general, someone is stalked when they keep calling someone at their home or place of work, sending them unwanted gifts or notes, or damaging their personal property.


Also, Florida law protects people from cyberstalking, which is when someone uses electronic means of communication to harass a specific person. Cyberstalking is when a person repeatedly talks to his or her victim through email, text messages, or social media. The message must not have a good reason for being sent, and it must also make the victim feel bad.



Credible Threat Aggravated Stalking


To be found guilty of aggravated stalking with a credible threat, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly followed, harassed, or cyberstalked another person, and that the accused made a credible threat with the intention of making the victim reasonably fear physical injury or death. A credible threat can be verbal or nonverbal, but it must make the person being threatened feel like their safety is in danger. A credible threat can also be made against a friend or family member of the person being threatened. In these situations, it must be clear that the person who is accused has the power to carry out the threat. Even if the threat can't be carried out, like if the person making it is in jail, that is not a defense for aggravated stalking.



Aggravated Stalking of a Child


This charge will be brought against a person if the prosecution can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the suspect maliciously, willfully, and repeatedly followed, cyberstalked, or harassed a victim who is 15 or younger.







Injunction Violation Aggravated Stalking


To prove this crime, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused maliciously, willfully, and repeatedly followed, harassed, or cyberstalked another person and that the victim had an injunction against the suspect for repeated violence, dating violence, sexual violence, domestic violence, or some other kind of behavior toward the protected person. In this case, the suspect must be aware that a court order has been made against him or her.


Someone who has been a victim of a crime before.


The prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the person who is accused of stalking was convicted of lewd and lascivious crimes against or in the presence of a child under the age of sixteen, sexual battery, or sending illegal computer transmissions that can be seen by children under the age of sixteen while the accused was not allowed to have contact with the person who was the target of the previous conviction; and the suspect maliciously, willfully, and repeatedly tried to get in touch with the person who was the target of the previous



Defenses to Stalking in Florida


A Florida criminal defense lawyer with a lot of experience can help a person accused of stalking come up with a strong defense plan. You may not be guilty of stalking if the contact was for a good reason; (ii) the allegations were false; (iii) the allegations were exaggerated; (iv) the evidence was bad; (v) you were engaging in First Amendment activities like picketing or organized protesting; (vi) you were mistaken for someone else; and (vii) the facts and circumstances of the case would not make a reasonable person afraid.


Contact Arroyo Law Firm Today. Your Life and Your Liberty Depend Upon It!

Here at the Arroyo Law Firm, we offer complete defense services and inexpensive payment plans to help offenders defend their rights. For a free case evaluation, reach out to us online or by phone at 407-770-9000. Knowing your alternatives won't cost you anything, even if you decide not to hire us.


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