Florida Cyber Stalking Defense Attorney Can Protect Your Rights
Providing skilled and determined defense to charges of internet crimes
Advances in communication and surveillance have led to a greater incidence of people being followed, harassed and subjected to invasions of privacy. The internet and especially social media have become forums for illicit activities, which are now investigated and prosecuted as cyber stalking offenses. At The Law Offices of Tad A. Yates, P.A., we protect our clients against accusations of cyber stalking and other internet crimes. We draw on decades of defense experience to provide robust representation to protect your reputation and your liberty.
What Florida’s cyber stalking law means to you
Under Florida law, the term “cyber stalking” means using words and/or images on electronic communication channels that target a specific person without a legitimate purpose. Cyber stalking also includes illicit attempts to access the targeted person’s online accounts or systems. In either instance, an essential element of a stalking crime is that it causes substantial emotional distress to the targeted person.
Examples of conduct that might qualify as cyber stalking include:
- Harassing or threatening emails, text messages or social media posts
- Sharing or distributing private information
- Sharing or posting nude or sexually suggestive photos of a target person, a practice known as “revenge porn”
A conviction of cyber stalking generally requires repeated incidents and/or a pattern of unwanted behavior that is both willful and malicious. In today’s culture, raunchy posts are extremely common and only become problematic when they are “unwanted.” This is a thin, gray line and often a snare for the unwary.
Potential penalties for cyber stalking in Florida
Authorities can charge cyber stalking as a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the circumstances and the accused person’s criminal record. Generally, a first offense of cyber stalking is charged as a first-degree misdemeanor. A conviction can result in up to one year of jail time and a fine of up to $1,000.
A credible threat of death or injury elevates the charge to a third-degree felony known as aggravated cyber stalking. This charge requires proof of one of the following elements:
- A protective order is in place.
- The targeted person is a minor child under 16 years of age.
- The defendant has a prior conviction of sexual battery, indecent exposure or violation of the Florida Computer Pornography and Child Exploitation Prevention Act involving the targeted person.
A conviction of a third-degree felony is punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000. A sentence for cyber stalking can also include an order prohibiting the defendant from contacting the targeted person for up to 10 years.
These are severe penalties that can rob a defendant of a substantial part of his or her life. Such a result is all the more tragic when it arises from a mere misunderstanding of the relationship between the parties. Mr. Yates knows how misunderstandings can spiral out of control in the digital age and he advocates strongly for clients facing severe penalties for lapses in judgment or misreading social cues. When you retain his services, you get a fighter determined to uphold your rights.
Contact a proven defense lawyer for cyber stalking charges in Orlando
The Law Offices of Tad A. Yates, P.A. represents clients accused of cyber stalking and other internet crimes in Orlando and vicinity. To retain proven counsel, call today at 407-608-7777 or contact us online.