Cyberstalking: It’s Not Always About Your Ex
When most people hear the term “cyberstalking,” they immediately picture a bitter individual stalking their ex. However, the crime of cyberstalking may apply to many other situations in Florida. It’s not always about former lovers – and a recent case shows that defendants in Fort Lauderdale can be convicted of cyberstalking people they haven’t even met. This is a clear reminder of how important it is to become aware of the cyberstalking laws in Florida, especially since they are relatively new.
Man Gets Prison Sentence for Cyberstalking Father of Parkland Shooting Victim
On October 23rd, it was reported that a man had been sentenced to prison for cyberstalking. He had never met the victim, nor did he know the victim personally. He didn’t physically follow the victim or visit his home, either. Instead, all of these activities were conducted from his home state of California, and they all occurred solely in the digital space. In the end, he pleaded guilty to the crime of cyberstalking and accepted a 12-month prison sentence.
The victim was the father of a girl who died in the Parkland shooting back in 2018. Apparently, the defendant was a gun control advocate that took offense to the way the shooting was handled by the mainstream media. He was accused of sending “hundreds” of disturbing or disparaging messages to the victim over the period of about a year. Some of these messages described in graphic detail the manner in which the victim’s daughter was killed. During this time, the victim was engaged in gun control activism.
This case highlights the fact that cyberstalking can lead to serious consequences for defendants who never meet or see their victims. It also shows that cyberstalking does not always refer to former romantic partners.
What Is the Definition of Cyberstalking in Florida?
The crime of cyberstalking falls under Chapter 784 of Florida’s Statutes. This statute states that:
“A person who willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly follows, harasses, or cyberstalks another person and makes a credible threat to that person commits the offense of aggravated stalking, a felony of the third degree.”
According to Florida law, cyberstalking may include:
This communication may be direct or indirect via electronic mail or electronic communication. Finally, cyberstalking may also involve accessing or attempting to access the victim’s online accounts or internet systems without permission.
If you carry out any of these acts and it causes “emotional distress” to the victim while serving no other legitimate purpose, you will likely be charged with cyberstalking. It’s worth noting that “emotional distress” is a highly subjective thing, and it relies heavily on the abstract emotions of the victim.
Where Can I Find a Qualified, Experienced Defense Attorney in Florida?
If you have been charged with cyberstalking, stalking, harassment, or any similar offense, it makes sense to get in touch with a qualified, experienced Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorney at your earliest convenience. Choose Haber Blank, LLP to immediately begin discussing a potential defense strategy.