Florida Man Arrested for Cyberstalking
In the past, stalking involved physically following a person and showing at their homes and other places they frequent. Stalking is much easier nowadays. With computers, smartphones and tablets prevalent in today’s society, you can easily stalk someone without even leaving your phone. This is called cyberstalking and it can result in serious penalties.
A 28-year-old man from Gainesville was arrested on June 4 after cyberstalking a former girlfriend. The man was accused of attempting to FaceTime the ex-girlfriend 39 times. He even texted the woman a photo of the front door of her house.
The man and the woman were in a relationship for six months before breaking up in April 2018. The woman proceeded to block the man’s number from her phone. However, the man used FaceTime to contact the woman on May 20. The woman told the man she had a boyfriend and that she wanted him to leave her alone. The man threatened the woman, saying he would come to her house. The woman told him not to, or else she would call the police.
The man then called the woman 39 times on FaceTime, but she did not respond. On June 4, the man went to the woman’s house as well as the home of her parents. The man took a photo of the woman’s front door and sent it to her. Concerned, the woman called police and the man was arrested.
What is Cyberstalking?
Under Florida Statutes Section 784.048, cyberstalking is defined as using email, text or other electronic means to communicate directly with a person. The communication must be done with no legitimate purpose, with intent to harass or cause emotional distress to the victim.
A person who maliciously and willfully cyberstalks another person may be charged with stalking, which is considered a first degree misdemeanor. This is punishable by one year in jail and a $1,000 fine.
Aggravated stalking occurs when the person commits multiple cyberstalking offenses or if the victim is under the age of 16. A person can also be convicted of aggravated stalking for making a credible threat, which is defined as conduct that puts the victim in fear of his or her safety and/or the safety of their family members. A credible threat can be verbal or nonverbal in nature.
Aggravated stalking is considered a third degree felony, which is punishable by a $5,000 fine and up to five years in prison.
Contact a Legal Professional for Help
Cyberstalking is easy to accomplish in this age of technology, but that doesn’t make it any less of a crime. Cyberstalking can lead to physical and emotional harm for the victims. In some cases, it has even led to suicide.
Those convicted of cyberstalking may be forced to serve jail time. You can avoid these charges by seeking help from the Gainesville criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Gilbert A. Schaffnit. We can advise you of your legal options. For a consultation, call our office at (352) 505-1799 or fill out the online form.