Injunctions for Protection Against Stalking or Cyberstalking

Criminal Defense Lawyer Advocating for Clearwater Residents

People who follow others online or in real life in order to threaten them or harass them can be charged with the crimes of cyberstalking or stalking. Somebody who believes that they are a victim of cyberstalking or stalking can ask the court for an injunction for protection against stalking or cyberstalking. If you learn that you are required to appear in court for a permanent injunction hearing, you should retain an experienced Clearwater injunction attorney. It can be a costly mistake not to take this hearing seriously. Injunctions not only limit your rights and freedoms but also may open you up to the possibility of future criminal charges. Hanlon Law fights for the rights of the accused.

Injunctions to Prevent Stalking or Cyberstalking

Stalking and cyberstalking are prohibited under Florida Statute section 784.048. Stalking involves following or harassing someone in real life. Cyberstalking involves a course of conduct to communicate with somebody online, through email or social media or another electronic communication, without a legitimate reason for doing so and causing significant emotional distress. As first offenses, stalking and cyberstalking are first-degree misdemeanors. This can result in time in jail and fines of $1,000 for each stalking episode. However, it may be charged as a third-degree felony if there are aggravating factors.

You can be charged with aggravated stalking under several different circumstances. Among other things, if you stalk or cyberstalk someone after being subject to an injunction for protection against stalking or cyberstalking (or an order protecting against domestic violence, repeat violence, dating violence, or sexual violence), you can face third-degree felony aggravated stalking charges. Similarly, if the court previously sentenced you for specific sex crimes and issued a no-contact order, and you willfully, repeatedly, or maliciously stalk or cyberstalk someone in violation of that order, you may face third-degree felony aggravated stalking charges. A police officer with probable cause to think that you have stalked or cyberstalked someone may arrest you without a warrant.

The court may issue an injunction in connection with sentencing. An injunction is a court order that instructs a person to do or not do certain things. In the case of a stalking conviction, the injunction would likely bar you from contacting the victim and coming within a certain distance of the victim. When you are being sentenced for stalking (or cyberstalking), the court is entitled to consider various factors to decide whether to issue the injunction, including: (1) the likelihood of your stalking or cyberstalking again, (2) the victim's safety, and (3) whether you have made threats against the victim's family. You may be subject to an injunction if you are on probation or already in jail or prison. An injunction for protection against stalking could last 10 years.

An injunction for protection against stalking or cyberstalking can be obtained separately from criminal court. Under section 784.0485, someone who believes that they are a stalking victim or someone who is a parent of an underage victim of stalking may file a sworn petition in civil court, alleging that there has been stalking and requesting an injunction. The sworn petition must set forth specific facts and circumstances supporting the issuance of an injunction.

Even if you only face a request for an injunction from the victim, and no criminal charges have been brought, you should hire an experienced Clearwater criminal defense attorney. After an injunction has been issued, you can face harsh penalties for violating the injunction. The person purporting to be a victim may call the police and have you arrested, and you could be charged with a crime.

Hire an Attorney in the Clearwater Area to Fight an Injunction

Violating an injunction for protection against stalking or cyberstalking may result in significant penalties. It is important to hire a lawyer from the outset, whether you are facing this type of injunction or an injunction related to sexual violence, dating violence, or repeat violence. Our firm's founder, Will Hanlon, has defended the accused in the Clearwater area since 1994. Contact us at 727-897-5413 or via our online form.