Stalking & Aggravated Stalking
The term “stalker” is often thrown around loosely, but it has serious implications. Stalking is a crime punishable by an injunction, fines, probation, and even prison time. According to a Center of Disease Control study, 7.5 million people were stalked nationally in one year. Of that total, 44% of male victims and 61% of female victims were allegedly stalked by former or current intimate partners. Although exes and current relationship partners are most commonly accused of stalking, any person who inflicts emotional distress as a result of their conduct may be arrested. Examples of stalking include:
- Secretly using a GPS to track someone
- Following someone
- Compiling information on a persona via web searches, public records, private investigators, or people who know the individual
- Monitoring someone’s digital activity (social media updates, cell phone use, etc.)
- Appearing at someone’s school, home, or workplace
- Sending unwanted gifts
- Secretly recording or taking pictures of someone
If you were picked up and booked on stalking charges, waste little time in securing legal representation. The Orlando stalking lawyers at The Umansky Law Firm are well-versed in such niche areas of criminal law and can help lead you through this troubling time. We can take a detailed look at the presented charges and pursue the most appropriate course of action.
Responding to Stalking Allegations
If you receive an injunction, are arrested, charged with a stalking-related crime, or even made aware that someone has reported you to law enforcement officials for stalking, you should act swiftly. Do not assume that you can persuade the individual to have a restraining order lifted or to drop charges. Merely contacting that person can result in additional charges and intensify sentencing.
Instead, reach out to a local criminal defense attorney who has experience mitigating stalking charges. Your attorney can do the following for your benefit:
- File the necessary paperwork
- Investigate case facts
- Research statutes and cases related to yours
- Craft defense strategies to implement in negotiation with the prosecution
- Represent you at trial if need be
Your attorney can also make you aware of the penalties associated with stalking and aggravated stalking.
Penalties for Stalking & Aggravated Stalking in Orlando
Stalking is a first-degree misdemeanor in Florida. This form of stalking is when an individual exhibits a pattern of malicious or willful behavior over time. This is punishable by:
- Up to 1 year in jail;
- Up to $1,000 in fines or both
Aggravated stalking is a third-degree felony and can result from four situations: when the victim is under 16, when the individual makes a credible threat, when the individual violates an injunction, and when the individual stalks his or her victim of a previous crime. The penalties are as follows:
- Up to 5 years in prison;
- Up to $5,000 in fines or both
Aggravated stalking becomes a second-degree felony when an individual makes a written threat to physically harm or kill the victim. The penalties in this instance increase to:
- Up to 15 years in prison;
- Up to $10,000 in fines or both
Defending Against Orlando Stalking Charges
Being charged with stalking can be a life-changing experience. Not only may it provide a false representation of your character, but a conviction can permanently tarnish your reputation. It is for these reasons and many others why should waste little time in acquiring legal representation. A knowledgeable attorney can analyze the specifics of the case and present the most appropriate defense: Some of the most efficient defenses to stalking charges include:
- Lack of Knowledge: The defendant wasn’t aware that the plaintiff believed that he or she was stalking him or her. An example would be individuals who often go to the same supermarket. Merely being somewhere at the same time as another is not grounds for a stalking charge.
- Failure to Prove Stalking Elements: The prosecution only partly proves elements of stalking, if any at all. Not proving all elements of stalking can result in dropped charges.
- Mistaken Identity: The defendant is not the actual individual the plaintiff believes to be the stalker.
- False Accusation: Th defendant did not commit the crime of stalking as described in Florida § 784.048.
The Orlando stalking lawyers at The Umansky Law Firm are aware of the scope of your legal issues and can serve as your legal representation throughout court proceedings. Our firm boasts a staff of former prosecutors at the state and local level who understand what it takes to combat such charges.
With over 100 years of combined experience, we are knowledgeable of how the opposition will approach the case and can use our insight to prepare you for your day in court. Don’t allow time to pass without taking action. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.