Stalking is defined as the willful and malicious act of repeatedly following or harassing another person. There must be an established pattern of such behavior in order for it to meet this legal definition. Although stalking is often linked to people lurking in the bushes or engaging in other kinds of perverse behavior, you can be charged with stalking if someone claims that you repeatedly make unwanted phone calls to them or continue to show up at their place of work. You can also be charged with cyber stalking, which consists of harassing emails, text messages, and social media posts.
Stalking and cyber stalking are serious crimes in the state of Florida. The minimum sentence, if you are convicted, is 21 months in prison. However, you can be sentenced to up to 5 years in prison and be forced to pay a $5,000.
Being arrested for stalking is humiliating. It can also be frustrating. You may feel that you have been unfairly treated, and that jail is the last place that someone of your status and accomplishments should be. However, you must deal with the realities before you. And the first thing you should do is call a criminal defense attorney.
Remember that you are innocent until proven guilty, and that an arrest for stalking does not amount to a conviction on the crime. You should say nothing to the authorities until your lawyer arrives. It is important to exercise your Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate yourself through statements. Once your lawyer arrives, they will advise you on how to answer the questions put to you by law enforcement. If you are too shaken up to say anything, your lawyer can speak on your behalf.
The accusation and arrest may have come about as a misunderstanding. Stalking charges are often, but not always, levelled by women against men. They usually come about as a result of a relationship that has gone bad or an attempt at intimacy that was executed aggressively or clumsily. Passions and emotions tend to fuel such situations, and it is not always clear what is and what is not permissible behavior.
The person who has accused you of stalking may have done so on a whim. They may have done it to tarnish your reputation or cause you trouble. Either action may have been taken as an act of reprisal. In such circumstances, it is easy to interpret an email, phone message, or public act in which witnesses were present as behavior that is consistent with the legal definition of stalking. If the person who has accused you of the crime is unwilling to withdraw their complaint, you will need to prepare your defense.
William Hanlon criminal lawyer in Tampa can provide you with the legal strategy you need to clear yourself of these charges and get back your reputation. The first thing your lawyer will want to do is hear your side of the story. They will then look at the evidence that the prosecution has against you. This is an important part of the case, as documentary evidence that demonstrates a pattern of harassment, threat, and intimidation can work against you.
However, the matter may not be as straightforward as your accuser makes out. It may be the case that you made a clumsy effort to get a date with someone and in your mind it was simply being gallant. If you have had a previous relationship with your accuser, your persistent attempts at communicating with her may owe to a legitimate claim you have to property or to the exercise your parental rights.