Stalking Lawyers in New Port Richey, Florida
Fight for Your Rights Against Charges of Stalking with Musca Law
Many times stalking is blown out of proportion by the person who is accusing another person of doing this crime. It might really just be a simple misunderstanding. No matter what the reason was for the accuser to report a crime of stalking, the “stalker” needs legal representation from a skilled and experienced attorney.
All of our New Port Richey attorneys fit this bill for representing someone who has been charged with the crime of stalking or aggravated stalking. During a free initial case consultation, our attorneys can review your case and decide the best route for handling your case.
Musca Law Firm has several other offices located throughout Florida, not just in New Port Richey. We serve the entire state, handling both state and federal cases. Don’t hesitate to contact our New Port Richey office today at (727) 480-9675 to speak with one of our highly-qualified attorneys.
Definition of Stalking in Florida
Stalking can best be defined as an act or crime that is willfully and repeatedly harassing or following another individual in any case that would result in a reasonable person to fear their safety or have a fear of being killed because of expressed or implied thoughts.
Penalties for Stalking in Florida
Stalking in Florida is a first-degree misdemeanor. This is penalized by up to one year in jail, one year of probation, $1,000 in fines, and a restraining order for ten years.
Under Florida Statutes 784.048(3), a person commits aggravated stalking when they willingly, repeatedly, or maliciously follow, harass, or cyberstalk another person. They must also make a credible threat towards that person, or that person must be under the age of 16, or the other person has a no-contact order after the defendant was convicted of a sex crime.
A credible threat can be a verbal or non-verbal threat that makes another person fear their safety within reason. They could also fear their family’s safety or the safety of those that are close to them.
Cyberstalking can be defined as sending words, images, or language electronically to an individual to cause emotional distress that serves no legitimate purpose.
Harassment can be viewed as a course of conduct that is directed towards a certain person. This harassment will cause emotional distress, and like cyberstalking, serves no purpose.
Penalties for Aggravated Stalking in New Port Richey
Those who have been charged with Aggravated Stalking with Credible Threat and Aggravated Stalking of Person Under 16 are both felonies in the third degree. This is punishable by up to five years in prison, five years probation time, and $5,000 in fines. They will both be assigned a level 6 offense severity ranking on Florida’s Criminal Punishment Code.
An individual who has been charged with Aggravated Stalking after an Injunction or No Contact Order also has a penalty of five years in prison, five years of probation, and a $5,000. However, it will be assigned a level 7 offense. A judge is required to give at least 21 months in jail but could also sentence the person to a maximum of 15 years in prison.
Cyberstalking in New Port Richey
Cyberstalking is a crime that takes place over the internet via communications. This can happen via email, blogs, blog commenting, forums, text messaging, and direct messaging. Social sites that can include cyberstalking include Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Twitch, and more.
As per Florida Statute §784.048 (1)(d), it states: “Cyberstalk means to engage in a course of conduct to communicate, or to cause to be communicated, words, images, or language by or through the use of electronic mail or electronic communication, directed at a specific person, causing substantial emotional distress to that person and serving no legitimate purpose.”
Many find that those that are cyberstalking attack a person for revenge, control, or for reasons of anger. There are many different variations of cyberstalking that can take place. These include the following:
- Harassing, embarrassing and humiliating the victim
- Harassing the family, friends, and employers of the victim in order to isolate the victim
- Using scare tactics to instill fear.
- Emptying the bank accounts of the victim or other economic control such as ruining the victim's credit score or charging their credit cards to the maximum.
Examples of cyberstalking include sending messages to a person stating they are being watched, threatening to hack a person’s phone or their webcam, or posting rumors about a person on forums or social media pages.
Cyberstalking Online Communication
There are various forms of online communication that can be used for cyberstalking. These include the following:
- Text messages
- Forum posts
- IRC chat
- Instant messages
Types of Online Stalkers
There are various types of online stalkers. These include the following:
Types of Cyberstalking Charges
Any of the following acts are criminal charges that are related to cyberstalking:
Proving Cyberstalking in New Port Richey
In order for the prosecution to have a case for cyberstalking, they must be able to prove all of the following.
The prosecution must then go on to prove the following:
There are various sections of the United States code in which a prosecutor could use to their advantage. However, a successful and skilled attorney will point out any limitations that are on the codes to the judge that is handling the case.
Types of Stalkers
There are two main classifications of stalkers according to Vernon Gerberth: the Psychopathic Personality Stalker and the Psychotic Personality Stalker.
The Psychopathic Personality Stalker is one that has lost control over their victim. In many cases, it is a spouse or a lover and the offender has plans to control or harm them. Typically, this stalker is a male with a macho image that is used to cover up any feelings of inferiority.
The Psychotic Personality Stalker is one that is obsessed with a stranger. They start harassing the person in order to make them aware of themselves. They feel the stranger holds feelings of love for them. They believe the person would act upon advances that they make if it was not for outside factors that interfere with them.
Activities that Stalkers May Do
The following is a list of activities that many stalkers may do when they are stalking an individual:
Restraining Orders in New Port Richey
A person who claims they are a victim of stalking can file for a restraining order against the person who they are accusing of stalking them. In order to have this injunction of stalking against the accused, the victim will need to allege and prove that the stalking happened at least two different times.
Injunctions do have serious consequences. They will be put on your criminal record, which is very easy for anyone that looks at your record to see. The following are consequences that you will have if you do have a restraining order placed on you:
- Catfishers - This type of online stalker happens on social media sites. Fake user profiles are created. These profiles are used in order to make friends with the friends of the victim. Catfishers typically have less than 100 friends and will often use stock photos for their profile pictures or other uploaded images.
- Monitors - These people check your social profile pages to see where you have checked into. This makes it easier for them to find you when you are out and about.
- Visitor via Google Maps - These stalkers look for their victims using Google maps in order to see what kind of neighborhood one lives in or what their home looks like.
- Webcam Hijackers - These individuals will ask you to download and install a malware affected program which allows the cyberstalker access to your webcam.
- Geotagger - These cyberstalkers use digital photos you have taken to see if there is any metadata on them. This metadata reveals information about when and where the image was taken. Cyberstalkers like this as it is a way to find out about a person’s whereabouts.
- Masquerading as the victim online;
- Anonymously posting private information about another person;
- Texting sexually provocative information or pictures, which is also known as sexting
- Online sexual harassment
- It was willful - The accused must intend to stalk someone.
- It was malicious - The accused offender must have base motivations.
- It was repetitious - A single or even a few incidents are not sufficient for the charge of cyberstalking.
- It was directed at a specific person - Targeting an organization or a company will not qualify, it must be a single person.
- It caused substantial emotional distress to the alleged victim. Mere annoyance is not sufficient enough for a charge.
- It served no legitimate purpose. The conduct cannot be speech protected by the First Amendment.
- Repeatedly call you/prank call you, including hang-ups
- Follow you and show up wherever you are
- Repeatedly driving past your residence or work
- Threaten to injury or hurt you, your family, friends, or pets
- Find out anything about you by using public records or online search services, hiring investigators, going through your garbage, or contacting friends, family, neighbors, or co-workers
- Send unwanted gifts, letters, texts, or e-mails
- Damage your home, car, or other property
- Monitor your phone calls or computer use
- Make repeated comments about you on social media pages
- Use technology, like hidden cameras or GPS to track where you go
- Drive-by or hang out at your home, school, or work
- Other actions that control, track, or frighten you
- Spreading rumors about you on social media sites
Defenses for Stalking in New Port Richey and the Rest of Florida
There are various defenses that can be used for stalking in Florida. These include the following:
Musca Law Firm’s New Port Richey Office is Waiting to Hear From You
Being charged with any type of stalking charge can haunt you for the rest of your life. It does not matter if it was a cyberstalking incident or one in your everyday life. When a crime like this is on your record, people will look at you differently. Your co-workers might start acting different around you. Family and friends may turn away from you. People might believe the victim instead of you. All of this can make a charge of stalking unbearable. But it does not have to be this way. Help is just a phone call away with the assistance of a trusted attorney.
If you are ready to discuss your case of stalking, our New Port Richey office is waiting for your phone call. We have an answering service to answer our calls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Our firm understands that life happens before and after office hours, therefore, we feel the need to be able to be reached at all times.
All of our attorneys are skilled in handling the most difficult cases. We are never afraid to go head to head with the prosecution. A strong defense will be developed after reviewing every aspect of your case. Many times we can expose the weaknesses of the prosecution. Our main goal is to find a favorable outcome for your case. Don’t hesitate to contact our New Port Richey office today at (727) 480-9675 to schedule an initial case consultation with one of our experienced attorneys.
- Restraining orders will be able to be seen by future employers as they show up on background checks. This can affect if the employer decides to hire you or not.
- If you have a restraining order, it may be hard to travel to various places.
- You will not be allowed to possess any firearm or ammunition.
- A restraining order can affect your ability to land a secret or top-secret security clearance for any federal government jobs.
- If there are any violations of your restraining order, you will be arrested and prosecuted. This could be enforced with a civil or criminal contempt proceeding.
- First Amendment Activity - Under this defense, the offender can be protected if they were engaging in a constitutionally protected activity, such as picketing or an organized protest.
- Legitimate purpose - Communication that is made with another person that is legitimate such as child support matters, legal discussions, etc are not supported by a stalking defense.