Criminal Defense Law Firm For Aggravated Stalking Arrest in Fort Walton Beach, Destin Or Anywhere In Okaloosa County
Florida Law defines aggravated stalking (§784.048(3)) as willfully, maliciously and repeatedly following, harassing or cyberstalking another person and making a credible, verbal or non verbal threat that puts the person in reasonable fear for their safety, their family’s safety or their close associate’s safety. It is also considered aggravated stalking if the alleged victim is under the age of 16.
But perhaps the most common type of aggravated stalking charge is based on the situation where a person has obtained a No Contact Order or Domestic Violence Injunction against the Defendant.
Elements of Aggravated Stalking Charge In Okaloosa County
To prove Aggravated Stalking beyond a reasonable doubt, there are two elements in which the State must prove:
- Defendant willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly followed, harassed or cyberstalked victim, and;
- Defendant also made a credible threat to the victim.
The Difference Between Stalking & Aggravated Stalking under Florida Law
The first difference is that Stalking is a misdemeanor and Aggravated Stalking is a felony. Stalking is a lesser included offense of the felony version because the only factual or elemental difference is that Aggravated Stalking requires the State to additionally prove that the Defendant actually made a credible threat through word or act to the alleged victim during the course of the stalking incident.
Penalties For Aggravated Stalking
Aggravated Stalking is a third degree felony and is punishable by a term of imprisonment of up to five (5) years and a fine up to an amount of $5,000.00, and possibly reporting probation with GPS monitoring or house arrest (community control supervision). Additionally, a felony conviction for a charge of this nature would likely be a career killer.
Defenses Strategies For Aggravated Stalking
The criminal defense strategies for dealing with Aggravated Stalking are very similar to Stalking. And since the additional element of the credible threat can be difficult for the State to prove at trial, so it may be possible to get the charge reduced to a misdemeanor and therefore eliminate the risk of prison exposure, then we can be more aggressive in challenging the allegations.
As these cases are rare, it is important to have criminal defense attorney who knows how to handle this type of charge. These types of cases are not easily resolved and require a close look at the State’s case and examination of all available defenses to determine the appropriate response.
If you have been charged with Aggravated Stalking in Fort Walton Beach, Destin, or anywhere else in Okaloosa or Walton County, call my office at (850) 362-6655 today for your free consultation.