Stalking or Aggravated Stalking
Stalking and Aggravated Stalking Explained by Tampa Attorney
If you have been arrested for stalking or aggravated stalking under Florida law, contact a criminal defense attorney in Tampa, FL, with the Sammis Law Firm, P.A. Both the felony and misdemeanor version of "stalking" are serious criminal offenses with serious criminal penalties. Many of these cases also involve the alleged victim filing for an protective order or injunction against domestic or repeat violence.
At the Sammis Law Firm we represent people accused of stalking or aggravated stalking in the Tampa Bay area, including Tampa and Plant City in Hillsborough County, St. Petersburg and Clearwater in Pinellas County, Bartow or Lakeland in Polk County, New Port Richey or Dade City in Pasco County, or Bradenton in Manatee County, FL,
Motivation to Make False Charges of Stalking or Aggravated Stalking
In many of these cases the allegations are false or exaggerated. The false or exaggerated allegations are often motivated by a pending or anticipated custody battle or divorce action, or for financial reasons. The allegations can arise when one person wants to remove the other person from living in or even going to a home or business.
Relationship Between the Alleged Victim and the Person Accused of Stalking
Stalking allegations are most commonly alleged between individuals who are "domestically" related because they are related by blood, marriage or have a child in common. These type of domestic violence allegations can also arise between people who have lived together in a romantic relationship.
Even people who have previously dated each other or been romantically involved in a straight, gay or lesbian relationship can suddenly find themselves accused of "stalking" or "aggravated stalking" when the romantic relationship ends.
The allegations can also arise between people who are not domestically related such as neighbors, roommates, friends, or business associates.
Florida's Stalking Statute - First Degree Misdemeanor
Under Florida Statute § 784.048(2), the offense of stalking is a first degree misdemeanor. The criminal offense of "stalking" requires that the prosecutor for the State of Florida prove the following elements at trial beyond all reasonable doubt:
The Defendant repeatedly, maliciously, and willfully did one of the following to the victim:
- Harassed, which means to engage in a course of conduct directed at the victim which serves no legitimate purpose and causes the victim substantial emotional distress; or
- Cyberstalked, which means to engage in a course of conduct to communicate or cause communication of language, words or images through the use of electronic communications or electronic mail which is directed at the victim, and serves no legitimate purpose, but instead causes the victim substantial emotional distress.
Florida's Aggravated Stalking Statute - Third Degree Felony
Under Florida Statute § 784.048(3), the offense of aggravated stalking is a third degree felony punishable by up to five years on probation or in Florida State Prison and/or a $5,000.00 fine. The felony version of stalking, called "aggravated stalking" requires the prosecutor prove the offense of stalking plus that the defendant:
- Made a credible threat, which means a threat against the life of or a threat to cause bodily injury to the victim and the threat was made with the intent to cause the victim to fear for her safety; and
- The threat was made with the intent to place the victim in reasonable fear of bodily injury or death to the victim, or the victim's child, sibling, spouse, or parent.
Many felony charges of aggravated stalking arise after an injunction or order of probation has already been granted. Related charges often involve an allegation of violation of a domestic violence injunction or allegations of violation of repeat violence injunction.
Related Criminal Charges under Florida Law
Finding an Experienced Attorney for Stalking or Aggravated Stalking Charges
If you were arrested for stalking or aggravated stalking in the greater Tampa Bay area, then call an experienced criminal defense attorney with the Sammis Law Firm, P.A. Our attorneys are on call to answer your questions during normal working hours and also on weekends or holidays. Find out what you need to do right now to protect yourself against these serious allegations
Our attorneys are experienced in representing both men and women charged with stalking, aggravated stalking, domestic violence battery, and other serious allegations involving violence or the threat of violence throughout Hillsborough County including Tampa and Plant City, as well as the surrounding areas of Tampa Bay including Bradenton in Manatee County, Bartow or Lakeland in Polk County, Dade City or New Port Richey in Pasco County or Clearwater or St. Petersburg in Pinellas County.