30th May 2017
Unlike the misdemeanor version of stalking, a criminal defense attorney in Fort Lauderdale can explain that aggravated stalking charges are considered a third degree felony and carry with them serious penalties. When facing serious criminal charges, it is important that a defendant seek assistance from a skilled criminal defense attorney in Fort Lauderdale.
Definition of Aggravated Stalking
To prove aggravated stalking, the prosecutor must first demonstrate that the defendant committed the elements of the less serious misdemeanor stalking charge. This requires the prosecutor to prove that the defendant willfully, maliciously and repeatedly harassed or cyberstalked the victim. Additionally, the prosecutor must show that the defendant made a credible threat against the life or safety of the victim so that the victim would be afraid for his or her safety and that the threat was made with the intent to cause the victim to be afraid of his or her own safety or that of his or her spouse, parent, child or sibling.
Aggravated stalking carries a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment and a $5,000 fine. Many aggravated stalking charges coincide with other criminal offenses that carry their own hefty set of penalties, such as domestic violence.
Defenses Against Aggravated Stalking Charges
A criminal defense attorney can evaluate the evidence against a defendant. In many cases, allegations may be false or exaggerated. Individuals may be trying to use the charges to gain some other type of advantage, such as a custody battle when the defendant is the victim’s spouse, former romantic partner or co-parent. These charges may also arise when a divorce is pending as a way to try to influence decision makers. In other cases, there may be financial motivations for lodging these charges. A criminal defense attorney can explore whether these dynamics may be at play.