Stalking

The crime of stalking is both a misdemeanor and a felony under State law, and a felony under Federal law.  Stalking is the unwanted or obsessive attention by an individual or group toward another person with the intention to cause harassment and intimidation and may include following the victim in person or monitoring them.  Stalking becomes “aggravated stalking” when a threat is made.

Under Federal law, stalking is when one travels in interstate or foreign commerce or is present within the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States, or enters or leaves Indian country, with the intent to kill, injure, harass, intimidate, or place under surveillance with intent to kill, injure, harass, or intimidate another person, and in the course of, or as a result of, such travel or presence engages in conduct that places that person in reasonable fear of the death of, or serious bodily injury to that person; an immediate family member; or a spouse or intimate partner of that person; or causes, attempts to cause, or would be reasonably expected to cause substantial emotional distress to a person described in clause; or with the intent to kill, injure, harass, intimidate, or place under surveillance with intent to kill, injure, harass, or intimidate another person, uses the mail, any interactive computer service or electronic communication service or electronic communication system of interstate commerce, or any other facility of interstate or foreign commerce to engage in a course of conduct that places that person in reasonable fear of the death of or serious bodily injury to a person; or causes, attempts to cause, or would be reasonably expected to cause substantial emotional distress to a person.

To be convicted under Federal law of stalking, the government must prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that: 1.  the accused traveled in interstate or foreign commerce with the intent to kill, injure, or harass another person; and 2.  that in the course of, or as a result of, such travel, the accused placed his target in reasonable apprehension of harm to herself or a family member.

Conviction of this offense in federal court is a felony and is punishable by a fine and/or a term of imprisonment not to exceed 5 years.  If serious bodily injury occurs or a deadly weapon is used in the commission of the stalking, it is punishable by a fine and/or a term of imprisonment not to exceed 10 years.  If permanent disfigurement or lifelong bodily injury occurs during the commission of a stalking, it is punishable by a fine and/or a term of imprisonment not to exceed 20 years.  If death of the victim occurs during the commission of stalking, it is punishable by a fine and/or any term of imprisonment up to, and including LIFE.

Under Florida State law, stalking is when one willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly follows, harasses, or cyberstalks another.  It is aggravated stalking when one does any of the aforementioned along with making a credible threat towards the victim.  A credible threat is a verbal or nonverbal threat, or a combination of the two, including threats delivered by electronic communication or implied by a pattern of conduct, which places the person who is the target of the threat in reasonable fear for his or her safety or the safety of his or her family members or individuals closely associated with the person, and which is made with the apparent ability to carry out the threat to cause such harm.  It is not necessary to prove that the person making the threat had the intent to actually carry out the threat.

To be convicted of under Florida State law of stalking and aggravated stalking, the State must prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that: (Stalking) 1.  The defendant willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly followed, harassed, or cyberstalked the victim. (Aggravated Stalking) 1.  the defendant willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly followed harassed or cyberstalked the victim; and 2.  the defendant made a credible threat to the victim.

Conviction of stalking is a first degree misdemeanor and is punishable by a fine not to exceed $1,000 and/or a term of imprisonment not to exceed 1 year.  Aggravated stalking is a felony of the third degree and is punishable by a fine not to exceed $5,000 and/or a term of imprisonment not to exceed 5 years.

Attorney Petruzzi has over 22 years of experience defending those charged with stalking and aggravated stalking.  It is important for one to hire an experienced attorney when faced with these types of charges.  Attorney Petruzzi’s knowledge and expertise in this field of law is a vital asset to anyone charged with this crime.  Call today for a free consultation.

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