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Under Florida law the offense of stalking includes multiple acts that can range from a misdemeanor up to a third-degree felony. The law is lengthy and complex, which means there may be a variety of defenses available to anyone facing a stalking accusation. If you have been charged or are being investigated for this offense South Florida criminal lawyer who specializes in stalking can fight to clear your name and have the charges dropped. Benjamin Herbst has successfully represented numerous defendants charged with stalking in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties. He understands the complex nature of this law and fights tooth and nail for all of his clients in and outside of court. Benjamin has extensive experience filing motions to suppress, and has won dozens of jury trials in the Tri-County area. In addition to representing defendants in all South Florida courts, Benjamin also defends clients facing charges in Martin County and St. Lucie County. Benjamin is available 7 days a week at (954) 543-0305 to meet at his Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm locations or anywhere else that is convenient.
Florida statute 784.048 lists all the types of conduct that fall under the stalking law. The most common type of stalking is harassment. Unlike other states, in Florida harassment is not a separate crime but rather part of the stalking laws. Harassment is defined as a course of conduct or series of acts directed at a single person that causes substantial emotional distress and serves no legitimate legal purpose. Simple bothering does not constitute harassment, as the state must prove substantial emotional distress or the charges will be dismissed. Additionally, organized protesting or other constitutionally protected speech will not be classified as stalking. Benjamin Herbst is a South Florida harassment lawyer who vigorously defends his clients, and he makes himself available on nights and weekends to answer questions or to offer support. All criminal defense clients are given access to Benjamin’s cell phone, and he always responds as soon as possible. Results are paramount, but staying in constant communication with clients is something Benjamin takes extremely seriously.
Cyberstalking is another act that is criminalized under the stalking statute. It is defined as engaging in a course of conduct to communicate words, images or language through email or social media that is directed at a specific person and causes substantial emotional distress. Accessing another person’s email or social media accounts without their permission can also be considered cyberstalking and criminal charges could be brought. Benjamin is a criminal defense lawyer who handles cyberstalking cases in all South Florida jurisdictions, and he understands how social media postings and other electronic communications are often used incorrectly to charge people with crimes. Cyberstalking defendants have the tendency to be treated unfairly by justice system, and often times their actions to not legally rise to the level of a crime. Benjamin will fight back against this unfair treatment, and is not afraid to fight for his clients at a jury trial if that is the best option. Harassment and cyberstalking are both first degree misdemeanors under Florida law, and carry a maximum penalty of 1 year in jail.
When harassment or cyberstalking includes a credible threat, the case becomes a more serious third-degree felony with a 5-year maximum prison sentence. Credible threat is defined as a verbal or written threat to a person or their family members, which places that person in fear or his or her safety. In order to qualify as a credible, the threat must be made with some apparent ability to carry out the threat. This basically means it has to be reasonable or realistic, but it does not matter if the person making the threat actually has the ability to carry it out. A person who is serving a prison sentence, even a lengthy one, can still make a credible threat from within the jail. Harassment or cyberstalking with a credible threat is classified as aggravated stalking under Florida law. In addition, stalking a juvenile under the age of 16 or while the defendant has an active injunction will elevate the charge to aggravated stalking. Benjamin has successfully represented clients charged with aggravated stalking all across South Florida and is available anytime for a free consultation about the charges. Contact him 7 days a week at (954) 543-0305 and start preparing your defense with an experienced criminal defense lawyer.