To prove the crime of aggravated stalking, the State of Florida must prove the following two elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
1) Defendant willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly followed or harassed or cyberstalked victim.
2) Defendant made a credible threat with the intent to place victim in reasonable fear of death or bodily injury.
In other words, somebody must repeatedly (more than once) follow or harass somebody, and in the process, must make a credible threat. It is not enough just to follow or bother somebody. The only charge that could be sustained in that case would be stalking, a misdemeanor.
However, aggravated stalking can be charged as well under the following circumstances:
1) Defendant willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly followed or harassed or cyberstalked victim AND at the time, there was an injunction (restraining order) for protection against defendant for the benefit of victim.
2) Defendant willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly followed or harassed or cyberstalked victim AND at the time, victim was under 16 years of age.
Aggravated stalking is a third-degree felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison. Since this is a crime where an alleged victim is claiming that somebody is following or harassing him or her, you can expect the victim to be on board with the prosecution. For this reason, Pretrial Intervention (PTI) is rarely offered in an aggravated stalking case.
Florida law does not permit a charge of aggravated stalking to be sealed. That is, if you plead guilty and receive a withhold of adjudication, the State of Florida will not permit you to seal that charge. You will be ineligible to have your record sealed. The only way the charge can come off of your record is by expungement, which can only occur if the charges are dismissed.
As a former Miami-Dade prosecutor, I recall dealing with very headstrong victims in cases of aggravated stalking. Most of the time, they were demanding jail time and were present at nearly every court hearing. Aggravated stalking is not a case where the "wait and see" method of criminal defense can be employed. The State will almost always have a testifying witness (an alleged victim) and will try hard to see you convicted.
However, aggravated stalking is a defensible crime. First of all, the conduct must rise to the level of stalking. Making a verbal threat to somebody one time does not constitute "repeated" conduct. Also, if the allegation is that the victim had an injunction or restraining order against the defendant, the State of Florida must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant was properly served with the injunction.
I represent clients charged with aggravated stalking in Miami-Dade County and Broward County. I am a criminal defense attorney who believes that criminal charges can ruin the lives of good people. I live to fight for the rights of those whom the odds are seemingly stacked against. The police and the prosecutors, and in some cases the judges, may be against you. You need a fighter on your side, especially when there are charges pending that you may not be able to get off of your record.
Call my office today to schedule a free consultation, or to discuss your case confidentially over the phone with me.