Miami Criminal Harassment Defense Attorney
When you hear about harassment, you generally think about it in workplace scenario involving some type of discrimination. However, harassment is more than just unlawful conduct at work, as it can also result in criminal charges under Florida law. While harassment is not its own crime in Florida, it is included as a behavior that can qualify as stalking, which can be charged in criminal court. Stalking convictions can be serious and can have long-lasting effects on your life, so if you have been accused of criminal harassment and stalking, you should immediately contact a skilled Miami criminal harassment defense attorney for assistance.
What is Criminal Harassment?
Under Florida law, harassment is defined as engaging in conduct directed at a particular person that results in significant emotional distress. In addition, there must be no other legitimate purpose for the conduct other than to cause such distress. If such harassment is thought to be malicious, willful, and repeated, you can be charged with stalking.
In addition, certain instances of harassment can lead to an escalated charge of aggravated stalking. Specifically, aggravated stalking will likely be charged if the alleged harassment involved any of the following:
- The harassment included making one or more credible threats of harm to the victim or someone close to them. A threat is credible when the harasser has the apparent ability to act on the threat and the threat causes the victim to reasonably fear for their safety.
- The victim of the harassment was under age 16;
- The harassment occurred in violation of an existing injunction that ordered you to stop contacting the victim.
Penalties for Harassment and Stalking
Stalking is a first degree misdemeanor in Florida and a conviction can result in a fine of up to $1,000, up to one year behind bars, probation, and other potential consequences as deemed appropriate by the court. If you are accused of aggravated stalking, you will face third degree felony charges, which can carry a sentence of five years of imprisonment and a fine of up to $5,000.
In addition to fines and jail time, stalking charges are often accompanied by an injunction that orders you to stay away from the victim. This can be complicated, especially if you know the victim or if you have children together. If you are accused of violating the injunction in the future, it could result in additional criminal allegations and penalties.
You will also have a felony conviction on your criminal record, which cannot be expunged and can keep you from getting certain jobs, being approved by landlords, or obtaining professional licenses. Furthermore, stalking offenses can disqualify you from working in certain professional fields involving caretaking or children.
Contact an Experienced Miami Criminal Harassment Attorney Today
Anyone who has been accused of harassing another person should consult with a highly experienced Miami criminal harassment defense attorney as soon as possible. At the law office of Jeffrey S. Weiner, P.A., we have successfully defended the rights of many clients against stalking charges, so please call 305-670-9919 for a free consultation.