Stalking Attorney in Naples, Florida
Get a Strong Defense for Your Stalking Charges
On the surface, a person can easily be charged for stalking if a situation is blown out of proportion or if general misunderstandings arise. Here at Musca Law, our team of skilled attorneys have experience working with clients who have been accused of stalking or aggravated stalking, which makes us ready to help you clear your record. Contact our office in Naples today to obtain a free case evaluation, so we can determine how one of our defense attorneys can best provide assistance to you. We represent clients across Florida at the state and federal court levels. For us, no case is too small or too big to tackle.
For more information, call (239) 793-5297 to speak to a representative at our office in Naples, Florida.
How Severe Are the Charges for Stalking?
Overall, the act of stalking is a serious criminal offense. In the state of Florida, harassing, constantly following, and continually contacting a person (via Internet, letter, or voicemail) constitutes a number of stalking-related offenses. This crime can produce a charge of a 1st-degree misdemeanor, which can result in a punishment of a year in prison and/or a fine of $1,000. If a person threatens the victim with death or injury, this crime will be classified as aggravated stalking, which may produce a punishment of a 5-year prison sentence and/or a $5,000 fine.
Besides filing charges against you, the alleged victim may also file a restraining order, setting a distance between you and the victim that you cannot cross (by law). Additionally, you may be prohibited from further contact with the victim (in any method). If the victim is a spouse, ex-spouse, or family member, you may be forbidden from seeing your family again.
The Connection Between Stalking and Domestic Violence
As shown in Florida Statute Title XLIII Chapter 741.28, Florida State Law recognizes stalking and aggravated stalking as two forms of domestic violence (violence towards family members). Additional crimes in this category include aggravated assault, battery, kidnapping, sexual assault, and any actions that result in severe injuries or fatalities.
Some Important Facts about Stalking
To understand the dangerous nature of this offense, here is a lineup of concept connected to crimes that are categorized as a form of stalking, outlined in Florida Statute Title XLVI Chapter 784.048 (1, a-d):
- Course of conduct: different acts that occur in a set time, revealing a pattern of intentions (not including picketing or protesting).
- Credible threat: verbal/nonverbal threat (or a combination) that a culprit may deliver via written, electronic, or verbal means of communication, which ultimately gives the victim cause to fear for his/her safety and life (police do not have to consider if the culprit intended to carry out this threat or not).
- Cyberstalking: communications (or attempts to communicate) via words or imagery with a victim, serving no purpose and intended to trigger terror in the victim.
- Harassment: a situation when a person makes an attempt to aggravate or cause distress (without any purpose) to his/her victim.
Charges for Stalking Victims in Florida
Florida Statute Title XLVI Chapter 784.048(2) dictates that any person who intentionally (maliciously), willingly, and purposefully pursues and/or cyberstalks a victim (who suffers emotional and physical distress as a result) on multiple occasions will be charged with a 1st-degree misdemeanor, punishable by a 1-year prison sentence and/or a fine of $1,000.
Similarly, Chapter 784.048(3) dictates that any person who intentionally (maliciously) and willingly stalks victims and threatens this person’s safety on multiple occasions will be charged with aggravated stalking (a 3rd-degree felony), resulting in a punishment of a 5-year prison sentence and/or a $5,000 fine.
Likewise, Chapter 784.048(4) states that any person with a previous record of charges for injunction on past cases of stalking, sexual violence (domestic/dating), or general violence and who has maliciously stalked another victim will also be charged with aggravated stalking (a 3rd-degree felony), punishable by a 5-year prison sentence and/or a fine of $5,000.
Charges for Stalking Minors in Florida
On a different count, Florida Statute Title XLVI Chapter 784.048(5) dictates that any person who intentionally (maliciously) and willingly stalks a victim who is 16 years old or younger will face charges of aggravated stalking. As a result, this person will be charged with a 3rd-degree felony, punishable by a 5-year prison sentence and/or a fine of $5,000.
Charges for Sexual Cyberstalking
As dictated by Title XLVI Chapter 784.049 (2a-c), sexual cyberstalking takes place when people publish pictures depicting sexually explicit content (e.g. nudity, sexual activity) without the consent of the photo’s subject. Ultimately, the culprit does not have any reason to complete this action aside from a malicious purpose to threaten or cause great distress to the victim (the subject).
Under Chapter 784.049 (2d), a sexually explicit image constitutes a photo that portrays any type of nudity and/or people participating in graphic sexual acts (designated as pornography). In many cases, the stalkers have intentionally posted this media to showcase the victim’s sexual activities in a cruel manner, which can ruin his/her reputation.
Likewise, Chapter 784.049 (3a) dictates that any people who intentionally and willingly (for malicious purposes) cyberstalks and harasses a person will face charges of a 1st-degree misdemeanor, resulting in a 1-year prison sentence and/or a fine of $1,000.
Furthermore, as stated in Chapter 784.049 (3b), any person who has faced previous charges of cyberstalking people and has completed a second crime of this nature will face charges of a 1st-degree misdemeanor, punishable by a 1-year prison sentence and/or a fine of $1,000.
What Occurs When Offenders Violate Injunctions for Defense against Cyberstalking and Stalking?
As dictated by Florida Statute Title XLVI Chapter 784.0487 (1), if a culprit has violated an injunction against a stalking or cyberstalking crime that previously took place and has not ultimately been caught, the clerk of court will discuss the severity of this violation with members of a circuit court. In regards to the report of this crime, the clerk of court will subsequently release an affidavit which will (in essence) serve as a report of this latest breach of an injunction.
On the other hand, Chapter 784.048 (3) dictates that, if members of the court can successfully determine that the victim is in critical danger due to this breach, legal officials will initiate an order of appointment for the courts to determine that this activity was part of a criminal intention.
Meanwhile, Chapter 784.048 (4a) states that any person who violates an injunction for previous stalking/cyberstalking charges as a result of one or more of the following acts will be charged with a 1st-degree misdemeanor, resulting in a 1-year prison sentence and/or a $1,000 fine:
- Failure to stay at least 500 feet away from the victim’s residence, workplace, school and/or any location visited by the victim himself/herself (as well as their family members).
- Stalking the petitioner.
- Communicating with the petitioner (via indirect/direct means) unless the court has permitted a form of third-party communication by means of the petition.
- Intentionally/willingly walk or traveling at least 100 feet from the vehicle owned by the victim.
- Taking measures to destroy or damage the victim’s property.
- Failing to surrender dangerous weapons (like firearms), as ordered by members of the court.
Keep in mind that, under Chapter 784.048 (4b), any person having two or more previous convictions for violating these injunctions who violates another injunction (or foreign protection order designed to protect the same victim as before) in a recent period of time will be charged with a 3rd-degree felony, resulting in a punishment of a 5-year prison sentence and/or a fine of $5,000.
What Are Some Exceptions for Injuries Resulting from Petition Violations?
As dictated by Chapter 784.048 (5), any person who suffers from physical injuries or a significant loss stemming from a violation of a petition (for stalking and/or cyberstalking) can potentially be granted an award for economic damages, once the court issues an injunction. This award will also cover costs and fees for attorneys.
Reaching a Final Verdict for a Stalking Case
Florida Statute Title XLVI Chapter 784.048(2) and Criminal Jury Case 8.6 dictates that members of the court must prove (without any shred of doubt) that the defendant:
- Willingly, spitefully, and intentionally (in a malicious manner) pursued or harassed the victim more than once.
Reaching a Verdict on a Case for Aggravated Stalking
Florida Statute Title XLVI Chapter 784.048(3) and Criminal Jury Case 8.7(a) dictates that members of the court must prove (without any shred of doubt) that the defendant:
- Willingly, spitefully, and intentionally pursued and/or harassed a victim multiple times.
- Extended sound threats to the victim(s).
Understand that the Florida Court does not have to prove that the culprit intended to carry out these threats that were maliciously directed toward the victim(s) in order to create a viable case.
Reaching a Verdict on a Case for Aggravated Stalking (Violation of an Injunction)
Florida Statute Title XLVI Chapter 784.048(4) and Criminal Jury Case 8.7(b) dictate that members of the court must prove (without any shred of doubt) that the defendant:
- Willingly, spitefully, and intentionally pursued or harassed a victim on multiple occasions.
- Had an injunction filed against him/her to protect one or more victims from previous crimes of (or attempts at) stalking or violence.
- Knew that the court had an imposition of a prohibition of conduct on the victim and that person’s property.
- Was fully aware that a court had filed this injunction against him/her.
Reaching a Verdict on an Aggravated Stalking Case Concerning Crimes against Minors
Florida Statute Title XLVI Chapter 784.048(5) and Criminal Jury Case 8.7(c) lay out guidelines concerning the determination of a case for aggravated stalking of a minor. Based on these rules, members of the court must prove (without any shred of doubt) that:
- The defendant willingly, spitefully, and intentionally pursued or harassed a victim on multiple occasions.
- At the time the crime took place, the victim of the defendant was 16 years of age or younger.
Reaching a Verdict on an Aggravated Stalking Case for Previous Injunctions of Sex Offense Crimes
Florida Statute Title XLVI Chapter 784.048(7) and Criminal Jury Case 8.7(d) dictates that members of the court must prove (without any shred of doubt) that:
- The defendant had previously been convicted for sexual battery crimes (as defined in Florida Statutes 800.04 and 847.0135(5).
- As directed by subsequent sentencing, the court had ordered the defendant to cut off and avoid any future contact with the victim(s).
- Once the sentencing was set by the court, the defendant still maliciously stalked and harassed the victim on multiple occasions.
Reaching a Verdict on a Case for Violating an Injunction for a Previous Domestic Violence Crime
Florida Statutes Title XLVI, § 741.31(4)(a) and instructions listed for members of a Criminal Jury highlighted in Case 8.18 dictate that members of the court must prove (without any shred of doubt) that:
- The court had approved and passed a temporary/final injunction for the protection of the victim(s) against potential further crimes of domestic violence that may be committed by the defendant.
- The defendant had willingly, spitefully, and intentionally ignored this order (in violation of Florida Statute 741.31(4)(a).
Reaching a Verdict on a Case for Sexual Cyberharassment
Florida Statutes Title XLVI, § 784.049(3) and instructions listed for members of a Criminal Jury highlighted in Case 8.26 dictate that members of the court must prove (without any shred of doubt) that:
- The defendant intentionally and maliciously posted a sexually explicit picture or video of the victim on the internet.
- The image contained private information identifying the victim as the subject of the picture.
- The defendant spitefully shared this photo for no other reason than to harm the victim.
- The victim did not agree to the publication of this photo.
Get the Help of a Stalking Defense Attorney from Musca Law!
We at Musca Law have 150+ years of combined legal experience among our team of attorneys, and we are dedicated to the individual needs and goals of each of our clients. From aggravated assault to minor claims of sexual harassment, our defense attorneys are prepared to help you protect your life from permanent ruination. Don’t hesitate to contact our Naples office today at (239) 793-5297 to schedule a free initial case consultation with one of our experienced attorneys.