What to do if Wrongfully Accused of Stalking

In many cases, accusations of stalking result from a simple misunderstanding. Perhaps you are often in the same place at the same time as another person and it is misconstrued, or someone from a former relationship thinks you are following them. No matter the case, stalking is a serious problem and as many as 12% of women report being stalked during their lifetime, according to recent statistics.

In this brief article, a Tampa stalking defense lawyer with The Rickman Law Firm shares a few important things to know about stalking accusations and what to do if you have been wrongfully accused of stalking.

What is Stalking

Florida Statute Chapter 784 defines stalking as: “A person who willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly follows, harasses, or cyberstalks another person…”

An example of this would be if you continually and willfully follow a coworker with whom you have had multiple altercations, especially if this is done maliciously. Stalking can also take the form of following a former lover and tracking their whereabouts, or even continually and maliciously stalking them online (cyberstalking). Cyberstalking is still relatively new, but is equally as serious as stalking offline in the real world.

To take stalking one step further, you can also be charged with aggravated stalking. The same statute defines aggravated stalking as: “A person who willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly follows, harasses, or cyberstalks another person and makes a credible threat to that person commits the offense of aggravated stalking…”

Think of the same scenario mentioned before, wherein you have been caught willfully following a coworker around maliciously outside of work. If you have made a credible threat, such as threatening to harm their family, slash their tires, or fight them, you may be charged with aggravated stalking.

Aggravated stalking may also include stalking a person who has taken out a court ordered injunction against you (like a restraining order), be it for domestic violence, sexual violence, or repeated violence; as well as stalking of a person with whom you share a no-contact order. You may also be charged with aggravated stalking if the victim is 16 years of age or younger.

It should be noted that there are specific types of stalking, including cyberstalking, workplace stalking, and even celebrity stalking. However, the majority of stalking cases involve estranged spouses or partners.

What are the Penalties for Stalking

The penalties for stalking depend on whether you are being charged with aggravated stalking. Stalking is a first-degree misdemeanor which carries a punishment of up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine. If stalking progresses to aggravated stalking, it is a third-degree felony with potential imprisonment of up to 5 years along with a $5,000 fine. This can become even higher if you have multiple charges of stalking.

What Should I Do If Accused of Stalking?

If you’ve been wrongfully accused of stalking you might worry that it’s their word against yours. This is why it’s so crucial to hire Tampa stalking lawyers with The Rickman Law Firm. We have years of experience working with cases just like yours and will be able to pursue all necessary evidence and witnesses to obtain a favorable outcome. Our attorneys will not only look into the event, but will also examine the arrest to determine if your rights were violated.

For a free consultation with a Tampa stalking defense lawyer, please contact The Rickman Law Firm today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

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