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Stalking and Cyberstalking in Florida

A wide variety of activity is criminalized as “stalking,” including “cyberstalking.” It is possible to be arrested and charged due to false accusations, or a misunderstanding of seemingly innocent behavior. Phone calls, text messages, notes, gifts, and social media posts can all be criminalized as “stalking.” You may even face felony charges if there is already a protective order in place, the accuser is under the age of 16, or the accuser claims that violent threats were made.

Gainesville Stalking Lawyer

Being charged with stalking in Florida can be a difficult, time-consuming experience. The qualified stalking and cyberstalking defense lawyers of the Galigani Law Firm in Gainesville have nearly 50 years of combined legal experience and know what it takes to expose any weak links in the prosecution's case to defeat charges of stalking, such as accusations of cyberstalking. Dean Galigani is Board Certified for professionalism and expertise in Criminal Trial Law, and is experienced in all areas of criminal defense, including charges of stalking and cyberstalking accusations.

If you have been arrested for or face charges of stalking in Alachua County, Marion County, Levy County, Gilchrist County, Columbia County, Baker County, Bradford County, or Union County, put the many years of experience and criminal defense specialization of the Galigani Law Firm behind you and your case. Your first consultation concerning your Gainesville stalking or cyberstalking case with Galigani Law Firm is free, so call (352) 375-0812 today to plan an appointment.


Overview of Stalking Law


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Stalking and Cyberstalking in Florida Defined

Stalking is defined by Fla. Stat. § 784.048 as willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly following, harassing, or cyberstalking another person. For purposes of this law, “harrassing” is defined as engaging in a course of conduct evidencing a continuity of purpose directed at a specific person that causes substantial emotional distress to that person and serves no legitimate purpose.

Cyberstalking is defined by Fla. Stat. § 784.048(1)(d) as engaging in a course of conduct that directs electronic communication at a specific person that causes substantial emotional distress and serves no legitimate purpose. Not only threats, but also verbal abuse, sexual harassment, and repeated requests to meet in person or enter a private chat can all be considered cyberstalking.

You can be charged with stalking not only for the physical following of a person, but also continuously calling, texting, e-mailing, messaging on social media, leaving notes or sending letters, or even leaving or sending objects or "gifts" that are not wanted by the recipient.


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Penalties for Stalking and Cyberstalking in Florida

If convicted of stalking, including cyberstalking cases, it is a first degree misdemeanor. You can be sentenced to up to:

  • A year in jail; and
  • $1,000 fine.

However, there are many circumstances which can lead to a charge of aggravated stalking, which is a third degree felony. You can be charged with aggravated stalking if:

  • Credible threats intended to place a person in reasonable fear of death or bodily injury to himself, herself or a family member are made;
  • There is already a protective order or other court-imposed prohibition of conduct toward the subject person or that person’s property; or
  • The alleged victim is a child under the age of 16.

If convicted of aggravated stalking, you can be sentenced to up to:

  • Five years of prison; and
  • $5,000 fine.

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Defenses for Stalking and Cyberstalking in Florida

Some defenses are available to you if you are accused of cyberstalking or other forms of stalking. The accusations may be false, and the person making the accusation may not have any evidence to support their claims.

However, the victim may have kept a log of behaviors associated with with the stalking or cyberstalking allegation, including dates, times, witnesses, locations, and a description of the behaviors. The victim may also have saved e-mails, letters, photographs, text messages, social media posts or messages, photos of the messages or social media posts that have been deleted, phone call logs, or recordings of messages. If the victim has compiled a log or saved evidence of the behaviors, it will be much harder to contest the credibility of the accuser.

Some activities are constitutionally protected and can not be criminalized as stalking. If you are engaged in picketing or other organized protests, you are protected by the First Amendment and should not be charged or convicted of stalking.


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Finding the Best Stalking or Cyberstalking Attorney in Alachua County, Florida

If you have been accused of cyberstalking or otherwise charged with stalking in Gainesville or the surrounding areas, including Alachua County, Ocala in Marion County, and Lake City in Columbia County, contact the experienced stalking and cyberstalking defense lawyers of the Galigani Law Firm. They will do whatever it takes to fight for a favorable outcome in your Gainesville stalking or cyberstalking case. To schedule a free initial stalking or cyberstalking case consultation with the Galigani Law Firm, call (352) 375-0812 immediately.