Criminal Defense in Your Neck of the Woods
The offense of Stalking in Florida may be one of the broadest crimes on the books. As a criminal defense lawyer practicing in Orlando, Sanford, Deland and elsewhere our office sees prosecutors use the stalking statute when they may not have any other crime to prosecute. Conventionally, stalking charges arise out of domestic disputes or unwanted contact and harassment after a romantic relationship ends. In order to prove the crime of stalking the State of Florida must show beyond a reasonable doubt that a person willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly follows, harasses, or cyberstalks another person. As you can see the elements of the crime are very broad. Further, the legislature defines the following within the stalking statute pursuant to Florida Statute 784.048”
(a) "Harass" means to engage in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that causes substantial emotional distress in such person and serves no legitimate purpose.
(b) "Course of conduct" means a pattern of conduct composed of a series of acts over a period of time, however short, evidencing a continuity of purpose. Constitutionally protected activity is not included within the meaning of "course of conduct." Such constitutionally protected activity includes picketing or other organized protests.
(c) "Credible threat" means a threat made with the intent to cause the person who is the target of the threat to reasonably fear for his or her safety. The threat must be against the life of, or a threat to cause bodily injury to, a person.
(d) "Cyberstalk" means to engage in a course of conduct to communicate, or to cause to be communicated, words, images, or language by or through the use of electronic mail or electronic communication, directed at a specific person, causing substantial emotional distress to that person and serving no legitimate purpose.
In order to prove any syndicate of a stalking charge the State must show the conduct in question was repeated. The stalking statutes is so broad; for example, if a person calls another twice and the state can prove the call was in a harassing manner they may be able to produce a conviction for stalking. That said, stalking like most crimes is a specific intent crime, meaning in order for a legal conviction the individual accused of the crime must at some point intended to willfully and maliciously follow harass or cyber stalk another.
Our office has successfully represented individuals throughout Orlando, Sanford, Deland and most other parts of Central Florida when they have been arrested for stalking, aggravated stalking, or cyberstalking. Proudly, our office has successfully defended an individual in Orange County for the offense of stalking. The individual was exercising his first amendment right to free speech while protesting and was eventually arrested. Over the course of more than a year and after the filing of several motions the State eventually dropped all charges.
If you have been arrested for stalking in Sanford, Seminole County, Orlando, Orange County, or Deland, Volusia County call Ryan for a free consultation.