If you are facing charges of stalking in Florida, you may not be sure what you are up against. Conviction of criminal charges of any kind can lead to serious consequences, such as time behind bars and other life-altering penalties. Stalking is a serious allegation, and you would be wise to take immediate action to develop an appropriate defense strategy.
One of the first steps to developing a strong defense plan is to understand the nature of the charges against you. Stalking involves a pattern of behavior that indicate malicious intent, and it can include various types of harassment. Florida laws define stalking as repeated harassing behavior or following another person in a way that communicates the potential threat of harm.
Stalking laws in Florida
According to Florida law, stalking is behavior that is willful and malicious. In many cases, stalking charges involve estranged spouses and family members locked in disputes. It may be helpful for you to understand more about the two different types of stalking:
- Stalking – This is happens when a person willfully follows or harasses another person. In Florida, stalking is a first-degree misdemeanor, which is a serious crime.
- Aggravated stalking – This happens when an individual repeatedly follows or harasses another person while making threats, causing that person to fear for his or her personal safety. Charges for aggravated stalking, which is a third-degree felony, are applicable for stalking a person age 16 or younger, or violating a protection order or other type of court order.
Repeat offenses of stalking can lead to serious repercussions as well. Penalties for repeat offenders can include time in prison, extensive probationary period and excessive fines. Conviction of any type of stalking will go on your criminal record, and it may lead to expensive fines, time behind bars and the loss of your personal reputation.
Quick action to build the right defense
If you are facing this type of criminal charge, you will find it beneficial to take immediate action to develop the right defense strategy for your unique situation. When there is much at stake for you, you may want to rely on the guidance of a defense attorney experienced in stalking cases.
If you are unsure of where to begin or you are currently under investigation, you will find it helpful to seek an assessment of your case and explanation of the specific legal options available to you.