Criminal Defense Attorney in Broward County: Stalking 101

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1st May 2018

A criminal defense attorney in Broward County may represent individuals who are charged with crimes involving domestic violence, including stalking.  As part of an effective defense, it is important to know the basics surrounding the criminal charges.  A criminal defense attorney in Broward County can explain the following information about the crime of stalking:

Definition of the Crime

Stalking is defined as the willful, malicious and repeated following, harassment or cyberstalking of another person designed to make the victim suffer substantial emotional distress.  Cyberstalking is further defined as electronically sending words, images or language to a person that are designed to make the victim suffer emotional distress and that serve no legitimate purpose.

Potential Penalties

Stalking is considered a first degree misdemeanor.  This crime carries a maximum penalty of up to one year in jail, a year of probation and a fine up to $1,000.  The defendant may also be restrained from making contact with the victim for up to ten years.

Potential Defenses

Most defenses to the crime of stalking surround the elements of a crime.  For example, the prosecution must establish that you had the intention of causing substantial emotional distress.  If you were joking with the victim or otherwise not trying to hurt them emotionally, the prosecutor should not be able to establish this element of the crime.  Another potential defense aimed at the elements of the crime is that the conduct served a legitimate purpose.  For example, the defendant may have been picketing the alleged victim’s business, taking part in organized protesting or otherwise exercising his or her First Amendment rights.  Likewise, if the conduct was based on a legitimate purpose, such as discussing child custody or business matters, this defense may be raised by your criminal defense attorney.