The victims of it suffer tremendously -- because they often fear for their lives and safety. As such, state and local law enforcement officials in Florida take stalking allegations seriously, and they act quickly to enforce the law regarding suspected criminal activity of this nature. The problem is, many people falsely accuse innocent individuals of stalking during divorce and child custody proceedings -- or they wrongly accuse someone of stalking due to malice.
If you've been wrongly accused of stalking, you will have the right to defend yourself against the charges. Before engaging in such a defense, however, you should know what Florida law says about stalking:
- Stalking equates to the repeated, willful and malicious harassment or following of someone else. Stalking is a first-degree misdemeanor.
- Aggravated stalking equates to the repeated, willful and malicious harassment or following of someone else along with threats and intents to make the victim fearful of injury or death; the repeated, willful and malicious harassment of a child below the age of 16; the repeated, willful and malicious harassment of someone following an order of protection or a court order to stop conduct. Aggravated stalking is a third-degree misdemeanor.
- Violation of a protective order will result in 21 months in prison and could also involve as many as five years in prison, five years of probation and/or up to $5,000 of fines.
- Individuals may be arrested without a warrant if police have probable cause to believe that stalking has occurred.
If you've been accused of stalking in Florida, it's time to get serious about your criminal defense. You may have various defense strategies available that can help you reduce the chances and/or severity of punishments and other consequences of this type of charge.
Source: FindLaw, "Florida Stalking Laws," accessed Feb. 23, 2018