With much of our lives taking place virtually and via smart devices, it’s no shock that cyberstalking is on the rise. Even though there may not be any direct contact involved in this type of stalking, it is still considered a crime and can be prosecuted in a very serious manner.
According to Florida Statutes, cyberstalking is:
- To engage in a course of conduct to communicate, or to cause to be communicated, words, images, or language by or through the use of electronic mail or electronic communication, directed at a specific person; or
- To access, or attempt to access, the online accounts or Internet-connected home electronic systems of another person without that person’s permission, causing substantial emotional distress to that person and serving no legitimate purpose.
- A person who willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly follows, harasses, or cyberstalks another person commits the offense of stalking, a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 082or s. 775.083.
If convicted for cyberstalking you can be charged with either a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the severity of the charges against you. Cyberstalking requires that the person made a credible threat to the alleged victim. As a first-degree misdemeanor, you can face up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine. If you are convicted of aggravated cyberstalking this could become a third-degree felony charge. The punishment includes a fine of up to $5,000 as well as five years in prison.
In a recent Florida case, a Tallahassee ethics officer was arrested and charged for cyberstalking a co-worker who happened to also be a former lover. The charges brought up against Julie Meadows-Keef are misdeamenors as she berated him with hundreds of texts and emails over a week or so long period. Since the pandemic’s lockdowns and stay-at-home orders went into effect, advocacy organizations have reported an increase in cyberstalking reports.
If you or someone you know are being charged with cyberstalking, it’s important that you seek assistance from an experienced criminal defense attorney. There are many defenses that can be put into play for such a charge and having someone like Russell Spatz on your team and make a huge difference in the charges you may face. Give him a call today at 305-442-0200 to set up a consultation.