Are you facing a stalking charge in Lakeland? You need to defend yourself from these serious accusations. In many cases, it may be a simple misunderstanding between the two parties. If these circumstances apply to you, hire Robert Zlatkin, an experienced Lakeland defense attorney, to review your case.
In Florida, stalking is a serious charge, and it can lead to severe consequences. The act of following, continuous contact, and cyberstalking are all considered stalking in the state. Many of these first-time offenses are misdemeanors. However, the penalties are harsh, with hefty fines and jail time. If the individual makes a threat of injury or death, there could be an aggravated stalking charge. In that case, it carries a fine of $5,000 and five years in prison.
Along with those criminal charges, the alleged victim can also file a restraining order in court. This prevents the accused from coming within a specific distance of the person. In many cases, the victim is also a family member. With that restraining order, you may be prevented from seeing other members of your household.
According to Florida state law, stalking and aggravated stalking are recognized as domestic violence. Some of these other domestic violence crimes include:
Under Florida Statute Title XLVI Chapter 784.048 (1, a-d), harassment occurs when the person causes distress or aggravation to the victim. When there is a pattern of intent, those actions are considered a “course of conduct.” Credible threats can be verbal or nonverbal. In turn, the victim is in fear for his or her safety. The offender also must make a legitimate threat to the victim.
With cyberstalking, any communication or an attempt to communicate to a victim via an electronic device is considered a crime. Cyberstalking is intended to install fear in the victim.
In Lakeland, several activities can constitute stalking in the state. Some of these conditions can include:
Any behavior or activity that threatens, distresses, or invades an individual’s privacy is defined as stalking. Depending on the circumstances of the crime, penalties could include prison time or fines.
These crimes are serious, and you need the help of a Lakeland defense attorney. Don’t risk your future! Schedule a consultation with Robert Zlatkin.
Anyone who willfully and intentionally (with malicious intent) follows or cyberstalks a victim could be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor. Some of these penalties include prison time and a fine of $1,000.
If the offender has stalked and threatened the safety of the victim, then the charge is elevated to aggravated stalking. These offenses are considered third-degree felonies. Punishment includes a $5,000 fine and prison time.
There are special laws to protect minors (16 years of age and younger) from stalking. These crimes are considered aggravated stalking. This offense is a third-degree felony. They are punishable by a $5,000 fine and prison time.
In Florida, there are enhanced charges if the harassment is defined as “sexual cyberstalking.” This form of cyberstalking involves the publication of sexually explicit images of the victim without any consent. In many situations, the offender had no legitimate reason to publish these images other than to threaten or cause distress to the victim.
Anyone who “willingly and intentionally” sexually cyberstalks a person can be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor. They may face a fine of $1,000 or prison time of less than a year.
If the individual has previously cyberstalked a person, the penalties increase to a higher fine and prison time. However, it is still considered a first-degree misdemeanor.
The alleged victim could seek an injunction against the stalker. With proof of at least two incidents of stalking, the courts will grant an injunction against you. For a repeated violence injunction, there must be two stalking incidents within the past six months. Any violations of an injunction can result in hefty fines, jail time, the loss of your rights, and changes to child custody. In other words, you need the help of an experienced Lakeland defense attorney to consult with your case. If you head to court without legal representation, you could lose some valuable rights.
Any time someone is stalked or cyberstalked, the victim can head to court for an injunction against the offender. If the person violates the injunction, the courts may have to step in to determine the criminal intent. Anyone who violates a court injunction for previous stalking and cyberstalking offenses might be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor. These penalties include prison time of less than a year and a fine of $1,000.
However, anyone accused of two or more prior stalking convictions that violate an order of protection or injunction could be charged with a third-degree felony. Anyone convicted might have to pay a $5,000 fine or spend five years in prison.
Any charges of stalking must be proved “beyond a reasonable doubt.” However, there must be evidence of the crime. Some common defenses include:
These are some of the most common defenses, but your strategy will depend on the circumstances of the case.
No matter the charge, you will want to avoid contact with the victim until you have consulted with an attorney.
Stalking charges are serious, and you want to have the best legal representation in the area. Robert Zlatkin, Lakeland defense attorney, has the experience to handle your stalking or cyberstalking case. The penalties for these crimes are severe and could change your life. You don’t want to risk your freedom or livelihood. We can craft a defense for your specific case. If you want to schedule a consultation, please contact our Lakeland office.