Stalking and Aggravated Stalking - Florida Statute 784.048

assault and batteryDefinition of Stalking

Florida Statute 784.048 prohibits stalking which is defined as the defendant willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly following, harassing, or cyberstalking another person.

Maliciously means wrongfully, intentionally, and without legal justification or excuse.

Harassment means to engage in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that causes substantial emotional distress in the person and it has no legitimate purpose.

Cyberstalking means engaging in a course of conduct to electronically communicate (via words or images) at a specific person, causing substantial emotional distress to that person and serving no legitimate purpose.

Punishment for Stalking

Stalking is a first-degree misdemeanor which means that an individual can be punished up to 1 year in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Aggravated Stalking

Aggravated stalking is a more serious form of stalking. There are four types of aggravated stalking: (1) credible threat aggravated stalking, (2) child aggravated stalking, (3) injunction violation aggravated stalking, and (4) victim of a previous crime aggravated stalking.

Punishment for Aggravated Stalking

If a defendant is convicted of any of the four types of aggravated stalking, they are committing a third-degree felony which is punishable with imprisonment up to 5 years and a potential fine of $5,000. If the defendant is repeat felony offender, they may receive more punishment. See Florida Statute 775.084.

Aggravated Stalking – Stalking and Making a Credible Threat

To be convicted of aggravated stalking with a credible threat, the state prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:

(1) The defendant willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly followed, harassed, or cyberstalked another person; and

(2) The defendant made a credible threat with the intent to put the victim in reasonable fear of death or physical injury.

A credible threat can be a verbal and/or nonverbal threat which places the intended victim in reasonable fear for his safety, his close friend’s safety, or his family’s safety which is made with the apparent ability to carry out the threat to cause such harm. Inability to actually carry out the threat is no defense nor is the lack of intent to carry out the threat. For example, a defendant locked up in prison cannot make the defense that they themselves could not get out and kill the person.

Aggravated Stalking - Stalking a Child Under 16 Years of Age

For this charge, the state prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:

(1) The defendant willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly followed, harassed, or cyberstalked; and

(2) The victim was a child under the age of 16 years.

Aggravated Stalking- Stalking Which Violates Some Type of Injunction or Court Ordered Prohibition

For this type of aggravated stalking, the state prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:

(1) The defendant willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly followed, harassed, or cyberstalked another person;

(2) At the same time either:

  1. An injunction had been entered for the victim’s protection against:
    1. Repeat violence;
    2. Sexual violence;
    3. Dating violence; or
    4. Domestic violence; or
  2. Any other court-imposed prohibition of conduct toward the protected person or that person’s property; and

(3) The defendant knew the injunction or prohibition had been entered against him.

Aggravated Stalking – Stalking Where a Person Was Sentenced for a Certain Crime Contacts His Victim

The state prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:

(1) The defendant was sentenced for:

  1. Sexual battery;
  2. Lewd lascivious offenses upon or in the presence of a person under 16 years; or
  3. Prohibited computer transmissions viewable to children under 16; and

(2) While the defendant was prohibited from contacting the victim of the previous sentence;

(3) The defendant willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly followed, harassed, or cyberstalked the previous victim.

Contact The Law Office of Roger P. Foley, P.A.

If you have been arrested and charged with stalking or aggravated stalking in the South Florida area, you should contact an attorney at The Law Office of Roger P. Foley, P.A. so you can discuss your case.

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