STALKING / AGGRAVATED STALKING
Stalking arrests occur when an individual engages in a repeat course of conduct that’s designed to cause a substantial amount of emotional distress to another. Although typically misdemeanors, stalking charges can quickly become serious felonies when the repeated conduct/harassment is accompanied by a threat of harm that places the victim in fear of death or bodily injury. In those circumstances, “stalking” can quickly turn into “aggravated” stalking.
Often times claims of “stalking” are inflated by the victim with respect to the threat of harm and the quantity of acts alleged to have been committed. Stalking charges usually occur when there are allegations of domestic violence, or when “stalking” is being used as a basis for a temporary injunction for protection against violence. Arrests for stalking/aggravated stalking are simply a way for partners to excises power or get leverage for a breakup or divorce.
Pursuant to Florida Statute § 784.048(2), the offense of stalking is a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to 364 days in the county jail and/or a fine up to $1,000.00. For the state to prove the crime of stalking the state must prove the following elements at trial beyond and to the exclusion of all reasonable doubt.
The Defendant repeatedly, maliciously, and willfully did one of the following to the victim:
1. Harassed, which means to engage in a course of conduct directed at the victim which serves no legitimate purpose and causes the victim substantial emotional distress; or
2. Cyberstalked, which means to engage in a course of conduct to communicate or cause communication of language, words or images through the use of electronic communications or electronic mail which is directed at the victim, and serves no legitimate purpose, but instead causes the victim substantial emotional distress.
Pursuant to Florida Statute § 784.048(3), the offense of aggravated stalking is a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in Florida State Prison and/or a $5,000.00 fine. Aggravated stalking requires the state to prove the offense of stalking plus that the defendant:
1. Made a credible threat, which means a threat against the life of or a threat to cause bodily injury to the victim and the threat was made with the intent to cause the victim to fear for her safety.
2. The threat was made with the intent to place the victim in reasonable fear of bodily injury or death to the victim, or the victim’s child, sibling, spouse, or parent. Many felony charges of aggravated stalking arise after an injunction or order of probation has already been granted.
For a free consultation with an experienced Fort Lauderdale Stalking Defense Attorney and to see how David J. Sobel can defend you, contact Mr. Sobel at (954) 383-3000. You will be able to speak directly with Mr. Sobel 24/7.