Today's advances in technology and our seemingly endless access to others; our ability to "Tweet" our thoughts, "Snap" our stories, and "Share" our way into the hands of anyone who has a smartphone, has created not only a world of connection but one of potential danger.
The ease with which we can find one another is astounding. A simple Google search can sometimes reveal a person's academic history, phone number, even address. Such access makes criminal stalking or cyberstalking very easy. Further, such access may cloud the definition of stalking and can potentially create a number of false accusations of otherwise innocent actions.
Stalking allegations are very serious. Simply filing for a temporary restraining order can drastically alter a person's life. If you or someone you know has been accused of stalking, contact the experienced criminal defense attorneys at Meltzer & Bell, P.A..
Our attorneys pride themselves on hands on, in-depth legal counseling, and will walk with their clients throughout every stage of the litigation. We accept cases in West Palm Beach, Florida and in the surrounding counties of Broward County and Miami-Dade County, FL.
To schedule an in-person consultation with one of the experienced criminal defense lawyers at Meltzer & Bell, P.A., call (561) 283-3259 now.
Florida Statute § 784.048 defines stalking as, a person who (1) willfully, (2) maliciously, and (3) repeatedly follows or harasses another person.
Stalking, in this context, also includes cyberstalking. Cyberstalking is defined as communicating words, images, or language over e-mail or other electronic communication that is directed at a person and causes substantial emotional distress.
Being accused of cyberstalking can include actions like sending text messages, e-mails or other electronic communication, or any of the following:
The target of the stalking can determine the seriousness of the criminal offense. For example, stalking or cyberstalking a minor child is punished more harshly than stalking an adult. In Florida, stalking a minor is considered aggravated stalking.
Useful Definitions for Stalking
“Credible Threat” is defined as a verbal, nonverbal, (including electronic), or implied communication that places a person in reasonable fear for his or her safety or the safety of their family, friends, and close associates, that is made with the present ability to carry out such a threat.
“Course of Conduct” is defined as a pattern or method of doing things accumulated over time, which shows some illustrated purpose.
“Harass” is defined as engaging in a method of conduct directed at a specific person, which causes substantial emotional distress.
Aggravated stalking is subject to felony consequences. Any of the following actions can turn simple stalking into aggravated stalking under FL law:
If the State is able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that an individual is guilty of stalking or cyberstalking in violation of Section 784.048, then the penalties are as follows:
Florida courts may order two types of restraining orders in response to stalking allegations. It is important to note, that temporary protective orders can take immediate effect until a hearing can be held to determine the validity of the stalking allegations.
The two categories of injunctions include:
Rules for Filing an Injunction – Visit the Florida Courts website makes available the forms required to successfully file a protective order against an individual. Also, find information about the Florida procedure for processing the request
Florida Chapter 741 – Visit the official website of the Florida Legislature for the full legislative chapter on domestic violence, including the definition of "family" under Florida law.
Florida Coalition of Against Domestic Violence – Visit FCADV, created to free the world of violence by empowering women and children through the elimination of personal and institutional violence. The website provides extensive resources regarding how to obtain a temporary injunction or a regular civil injunction due to domestic violence, dating violence, or repeat violence in Florida.
Stalking is a serious criminal offense. Having an attorney who is an experienced litigator and who understands the ins and outs of courtroom procedure is invaluable when fighting protective orders and other injunctions.
At Meltzer & Bell, P.A. we dedicate our work to fighting for the rights of criminal defendants. If you or someone you know has been charged with a violent crime, or any other felony or misdemeanor charges in Broward County or Miami-Dade County, Florida, then call our office.
Call (561) 283-3259 for more information about how our attorneys can help you.
This article was last updated Thursday, July 20, 2017.
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I just had to commend you on the outstanding job you did on behalf of your client in court yesterday. If my clients were ever to ask me if I know of a good DUI defense attorney, I know to whom I can refer them!
I was facing hard prison time and punishment. [Larry] did everything to pull strings and get me into rehab. After meeting with many therapists I finally got one to diagnose me successfully with Bipolar. Thanks to Larry I have been sober since 6/19/09. My health is great and my family life is amazing. It's because he saw something in me and my family that I wasn't just an alcoholic there was something that told me it was something else.
I was charged with a felony and facing the scary thought of losing my job, but thank you Attorney Steven Bell for helping me. Now I’m able to keep my job and take care of my family. I am truly amazed by your service, and you for understanding what I have to deal with. To me I’m very impressed by way you handled my case and was here to listen and make things OK!
Mr. Steven Bell, Words cant explain how thankful I am for you and your firm. I was facing felony charges and even looking at doing 5 years in jail! Not only did you fight for me, you got my case dismissed and dropped. For that, I don't have words to say “thank you” you were always kind and believed in me. You looked for every opportunity and you won! Thank you for being my guardian angel in disguise and steering me in the right direction. You are forever my “too go guy” thank you soooo much!