Criminal Defense Attorney in Fort Lauderdale: Stalking Overview

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27th Feb 2018

A criminal defense attorney in Fort Lauderdale can explain that stalking is considered a domestic violence crime.  It is considered a serious crime that carries serious penalties.  Some of the important aspects of this crime that a criminal defense attorney in Fort Lauderdale will explain to you include:

Legal Definition of Stalking

Stalking under Florida law is defined as willfully, maliciously and repeatedly committing any of the following:

  • Following the victim
  • Harassing the victim
  • Cyberstalking the victim

Furthermore, harass is defined as engaging in a course of conduct which causes substantial emotional distress and serves no legitimate purpose.  It is conduct targeted at a specific person.  Cyberstalking is defined as communicating words, images or language through electronic means that is targeted at a specific person and that causes substantial emotional distress to that victim.

Penalties for Stalking

Stalking is typically charged a first degree misdemeanor which carries a maximum sentence of one year in jail, a fine of $1,000 and one year of supervised probation.  However, this offense is classified as a third degree felony if the defendant made a credible threat to the victim, the victim already acquired an injunction against the defendant or the victim is 16 years old or younger.  This offense is punishable by a maximum prison sentence of five years, a fine up to $5,000 and five years of supervised probation.

Potential Defenses for Stalking 

The potential defenses that may apply to stalking charges depend on the individual circumstances.  One defense that may apply is that the act was an isolated incident rather than a course of repeated conduct.  Another defense is that the contact did not cause the victim to experience substantial emotional distress.