I’ve Been Accused of Stalking – Could I be Arrested?
Stalking is a crime in Florida, as it is in all other states. If convicted, it could mean imprisonment, fines and other longer term effects that could impact on your family, job and career prospects. You could be accused of stalking by someone you didn’t even know, or it could be an ex partner or a spouse. An accusation of stalking may be enough for you to be investigated by the police. You could be charged if they think they have enough evidence to prove that the accusation has some basis to it.
What is the legal definition of stalking?
Stalking involves deliberately following someone, even when you have been asked not to do so. The ‘following’ could mean physically following them to their home or their place of work or other place they frequent. It could involve continually or repeatedly pestering or harassing them through the internet or by phone. Accusations of stalking may be accompanied by other alleged actions, such as domestic violence or threats of violence. People who make allegations of stalking may say they have been followed when driving or walking. They may say they have received verbal, text, social media or email threats. It would be unusual for police to take allegations seriously unless the complainant says that the person allegedly stalking them has continued to do so after being told not to.
Penalties for stalking
Stalking is taken seriously in Florida because if genuine it could potentially lead to a violent incident. The actual penalties depend on the exact circumstances and could be considered a misdemeanor or a felony. If stalking is proven to have been accompanied with other crimes such as assault, or breaking and entering, then the penalties will be compounded. A felony conviction could result in anything up to 5 years in a state prison and up to $5,000 in fines.
Defenses against a charge of stalking
An experienced criminal defense attorney will be able to assess and challenge the evidence available to the prosecution. The main defense used is when the credibility of the alleged victim can be challenged. This is usually because the person making the accusation unreasonably believed that the alleged stalker was actually following him /her or the fact that the alleged stalker seemed to be following the complainant was a coincidence.
In some cases, a celebrity, or well known figure like a politician, may complain of being stalked by someone whose job is in journalism. It could be a defense of the alleged stalker to state their right to investigate the truth about that person. This defense would involve invoking First Amendment rights to free speech by the press.
Stalking is a serious crime, yet a lot often depends on hearsay evidence. If you believe you are being unfairly investigated for stalking someone, you need to talk to an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible before you are arrested. In Miami, contact the Law Firm of Albert Quirantes Esq. at 305-644-1800.
Albert Quirantes: Your Miami Criminal Defense Lawyer & DUI Lawyer
For over 30 years, Miami criminal defense attorney Albert M. Quirantes has been aggressively and zealously defending the rights of those accused of felony and misdemeanor crimesthroughout South Florida. With his dedicated team, reasonable legal fees, and a well-earned reputation for challenging prosecutors at every turn, he has protected over 8,000 clients during some of the roughest times of their lives.
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If you have any questions about this or any other criminal accusation, call Miami Criminal Defense Lawyer Albert Quirantes at: (305) 644-1800 or visit our homepage www.CriminalDefendant.com for a direct link to the office or a text message or a map and directions to our office.