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Florida Stalking Attorney

Defend Yourself from Charges of Stalking in Florida

Have you been accused of stalking someone? It may be easy for a simple misunderstanding or lesser situation to be blown out of proportion. At Musca Law, our Florida stalking lawyers are experienced in representing clients who have been accused of stalking or aggravated stalking. We can review your particular case during a free case evaluation in order to determine exactly how a defense lawyer at our firm can help you. We represent clients throughout Florida in both state and federal court, and no case is too small or too big for our legal team to handle.

Take advantage of a free consultation with our firm to learn more about your options. Call (800) 687-2252 today for more information!

Penalties for Stalking in Florida

Penalties for Stalking in Florida

Stalking is a serious criminal offense. In Florida, the act of harassing, following, continually contacting, or cyberstalking another constitutes stalking. This offense is a first-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to 12 months in county jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000. If a person commits the crime of stalking and makes a credible threat of death or injury to the victim or the victim’s family, that is classified as aggravated stalking and may be punishable by up to 5 years in state prison and/or a fine of up to $5,000.

In addition to filing charges against you, an alleged stalking victim may file a restraining order against you. This will mean that you cannot come within a certain distance of the victim. You may also be prohibited from contacting the victim in any way. If a spouse, ex-spouse or family member accuses you of stalking, you may be unable to see your family again.

Stalking Is a Form of Domestic Violence

Based on Florida Statute Title XLIII Chapter 741.28, stalking and aggravated stalking are listed as varieties of domestic violence recognized by Florida State Law. Other crimes included in this category include assault (including aggravated), battery, sexual assault, kidnapping, or additional crimes which are related to inflictions of injuries and/or death.

Understanding the Concepts of Stalking

To understand the severity of the crime, here is a layout of concepts associated with crimes that will be categorized as a form of stalking, as outlined in Florida Statute Title XLVI Chapter 784.048 (1, a-d):

  • “Harass” refers to a situation when a person takes part in a course of conduct as a means to aggravate or cause distress towards the victim (without any purpose).
  • “Course of conduct” refers to a cluster of acts that take place over a designated period of time which reveals a pattern of intent. (Picketing and protesting do not fall under this category.)
  • “Credible threat” refers to a threat (verbal and/or nonverbal) that may be delivered by means of electronic communication, verbal communication, or a physical threat, which ultimately puts the victim in a state of fear for his/her safety. The culprit must also indicate that he/she is going to make a legitimate purpose to carry out this dangerous act against the victim. (Authorities do not need to know that the person had actually meant to harm the individual.)
  • “Cyberstalk” refers to communication or an attempt to communicate (via words and/or imagery) via electronic devices with a victim, which serves no purpose whatsoever and is intended to instill fear in the victim.

Stalking a Victim in Florida

As dictated by Florida Statute Title XLVI Chapter 784.048(2), any individual who willfully and intentionally (with malicious intent) continuously follows or cyberstalks a victim will be charged with a 1st-degree misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of $1,000 and/or prison time that does not exceed 1 year.

In a similar case, Chapter 784.048(3) dictates that any individual who willfully and intentionally (with malicious intent) stalks a victim and threatens the safety of this victim will be charged with aggravated stalking (charged as a 3rd-degree felony), punishable by a fine of $5,000 and/or a prison time that does not exceed 5 years.

Likewise, Chapter 784.048(4) dictates that any individual who has previously been charged with an injunction for previous cases of stalking or sexual violence (domestic and/or dating) and who has willfully and maliciously stalked a victim will be charged with aggravated stalking (charged as a 3rd-degree felony), punishable by a fine of $5,000 and/or a prison time that does not exceed 5 years.

Stalking Minors in Florida

Additionally, Florida Statute Title XLVI Chapter 784.048(5) dictates that any individual who maliciously stalks a victim who is 16 years old or younger will be charged with aggravated stalking (charged as a 3rd-degree felony), punishable by a fine of $5,000 and/or a prison time that does not exceed 5 years.

Committing an Act of Sexual Cyberstalking

Florida Statute Title XLVI Chapter 784.049 (2c) defines “sexual cyberstalking” as a form of cyberstalking that constitutes the publication of a picture depicting sexually explicit content (e.g. nudity) without the consent of the subject. Ultimately, the culprit does not have a legitimate cause for this action, besides threatening and causing great distress to the victim.

Remember that (under Chapter 784.049, section 2d), a “sexually explicit image” constitutes an image that portrays any form of nudity and/or people taking part in sexual activities (pornography).

As Chapter 784.049(3a) dictates, any person who willingly and intentionally (for malicious purposes) cyberharasses a person will be charged with a 1st-degree misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of $1,000 and/or prison time that does not exceed 1 year.

Meanwhile, Chapter 784.049(3b) states that any person who has previously cyberstalked a person and has completed a second crime of this nature will be charged with a 1st-degree misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of $1,000 and/or prison time that does not exceed 1 year.

Violating Injunctions for Defense against Stalking and Cyberstalking

According to Florida Statute Title XLVI Chapter 784.0487(1), if a culprit has violated an injunction against a previous crime of stalking or cyberstalking and if he/she has not been caught, the clerk of court will discuss this violation with a circuit court. In regards to reporting this violation, the clerk will release an affidavit that (in essence) will serve as a report of this latest breach of an injunction.

However, Chapter 784.048(3) clearly states that, if the court can determine (without a doubt) that the victim is in critical danger due to this breach of an injunction, an order of appointment will be held for the courts to determine this activity was a form of criminal intent.

Chapter 784.048(4a) dictates that any individual who violates an injunction for a previous stalking and/or cyberstalking crime by means of one or more of the following activities will be charged with a 1st-degree misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of $1,000 and/or prison time that does not exceed 1 year:

  • Staying at a distance of 500 feet from the victim’s residence, workplace, school, the victim (himself/herself), and the victim’s family members
  • Stalking the petitioner
  • Sharing any form of communication with the petitioner (through direct and/or indirect means), unless the court has allowed an avenue of third-party communication through the petition
  • Intentionally and willingly walking or traveling within 100 feet of the victim’s vehicle
  • Damaging and/or destroying the property of the victim
  • Failure to surrender firearms or other weapons (as directly ordered by the court)

However, under Chapter 784.048(4b), any individual with two or more prior convictions for violating injunctions who commits another violation of an injunction or foreign protection order against the same petitioner (victim) will be charged with a 3rd-degree felony, punishable by a fine of $5,000 and/or a prison time that does not exceed 5 years.

Exceptions for Injuries Following Violations of Petitions

Keep in mind that, under Chapter 784.048 (5), any person who sustains injuries or suffers a loss as a direct result of a violation of a petition (against stalking or cyberstalking) can potentially may be granted an award of economic damages, after the court issues an injunction. Costs and attorney fees will be covered by this award.  

Determining a Valid Case for Stalking

As indicated by the Florida Statutes, Chapter XLVI, § 784.048(2), instructions listed for members of a Criminal Jury highlighted in Case 8.6, members of the court must prove (without any shred of doubt) that the defendant:     

  • Willingly and intentionally (with malicious intent) followed, harassed, or cyberstalked a victim repeatedly.

Determining a Valid Case for Aggravated Stalking

As indicated by the Florida Statutes, Chapter XLVI, § 784.048(3), instructions listed for members of a Criminal Jury highlighted in Case 8.7(a), members of the court must prove (without any shred of doubt) that the defendant:      

  • Willingly and intentionally (with malicious intent) followed, harassed, or cyberstalked a victim repeatedly.
  • Was a credible threat to the victim(s).

Keep in mind that the court does not have to prove that the culprit had any intention to carry out the threats he/she had directed toward the victim(s).

Determining a Valid Case for Aggravated Stalking on the Grounds of Injunction Entered

As indicated by the Florida Statutes, Chapter XLVI, § 784.048(4), instructions listed for members of a Criminal Jury highlighted in Case 8.7(b), members of the court must prove (without any shred of doubt) that the defendant:        

  • Willingly and intentionally (with malicious intent) followed, harassed, or cyberstalked a victim repeatedly.
  • Had an injunction filed against him/her for a previous conviction of sexual, dating, and/or domestic violence that had been filed on behalf of the victim.
  • Had an imposition of a prohibition of conduct on the victim/victim’s property.
  • Fully knew that the court had filed the injunction against him/her.

Determining a Valid Case for Aggravated Stalking of a Victim 16 Years of Age or Younger

As indicated by the Florida Statutes, Chapter XLVI, § 784.048(5), instructions listed for members of a Criminal Jury highlighted in Case 8.7(c), members of the court must prove (without any shred of doubt) that:

  • The defendant willingly and intentionally (with malicious intent) followed, harassed, or cyberstalked a victim repeatedly.
  • The victim had been 16 years of age or younger at the time of the crime.

Determining a Valid Case for Aggravated Stalking on the Grounds of Previous Injunction for Sexual Offense Crimes

As indicated by the Florida Statutes, Chapter XLVI, § 784.048(7), instructions listed for members of a Criminal Jury highlighted in Case 8.7(d), members of the court must prove (without any shred of doubt) that:  

  • The defendant had been previously convicted for a crime of sexual battery (as dictated by Florida Statutes 800.04 and 847.0135(5).
  • As directed by the subsequent sentencing, the court had ordered the defendant to avoid any sort of contact with the victim.
  • After the sentencing initiated by the court, the defendant had willingly and intentionally (with malicious intent) followed, harassed, or cyberstalked a victim repeatedly.  

Determining a Valid Case for Violation of an Injunction for a Previous Crime of Domestic Violence

As indicated by the Florida Statutes, Chapter XLVI, § 741.31(4)(a), instructions listed for members of a Criminal Jury highlighted in Case 8.18, members of the court must prove (without any shred of doubt) that:    

  • The court had issued a temporary or final injunction with the purpose of protecting the victim against potential further counts of domestic violence against the defendant.
  • The defendant had willingly and intentionally violated this injunction (in violation of Florida Statute 741.31(4)(a).

Determining a Valid Case for Sexual Cyberharassment

As indicated by the Florida Statutes, Chapter XLVI, § 784.049(3), instructions listed for members of a Criminal Jury highlighted in Case 8.26, members of the court must prove (without any shred of doubt) that:   

  • The defendant willingly 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 maliciously posted the picture of the victim.  
  • The victim did not agree to this act.   

Fight for Your Future with a Stalking Defense Lawyer in Florida!

Our firm can take the steps necessary to challenge any restraining orders or stalking charges you may currently face. At Musca Law, we have over 150 years of combined legal experience and the resources to fully investigate your charges in order to develop a more effective strategy for your defense.

Contact Musca Law today to begin your defense. We are available 24/7!

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