Injunction for Protection Against Stalking or Cyberstalking
If you have been charged with stalking or cyberstalking someone, the alleged victim may seek an injunction against you. An injunction is a court order that tells someone to do or not do something. This injunction can be obtained regardless of whether you were dating or in another relationship with the victim. In other words, even an acquaintance or a stranger may be able to obtain such an injunction against you if they can show that you were stalking them. When someone is asking the court for an injunction against stalking or cyberstalking against you, you should retain an experienced St. Petersburg injunction attorney. Failing to fight this injunction can result in additional criminal charges for violating the injunction down the road. At Hanlon Law, we are dedicated to advocating for the rights of the accused.Injunctions for Protection Against Stalking or Cyberstalking
Under Florida law, stalking occurs when somebody willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly harasses, cyberstalks, or follows someone else. Harassment is a series of acts that are perpetrated over a period of time for no legitimate purpose and cause the victim substantial emotional distress. Cyberstalking occurs when a series of actions or communications are directed at a victim for no legitimate purpose and cause the victim substantial emotional distress. For example, if you threatened to assault the victim and their family multiple times, or if you physically followed the victim or intentionally injured a family pet, these are instances in which you may be found guilty of stalking. Similarly, if you repeatedly destroyed an ex-girlfriend's personal property as revenge, you could be found guilty of stalking.
Under Florida Statute section 784.0485, there is a cause of action for a victim to obtain an injunction to be protected against stalking or cyberstalking. Either somebody who is a victim of stalking or a parent of a minor living at home who is being stalked has standing to file a sworn petition to get an injunction from the court to be protected against stalking. In fact, an injunction can be obtained regardless of whether criminal charges for stalking or cyberstalking are being pursued by a prosecutor. If there is such a proceeding going forward, it is supposed to be alleged in the victim's petition.
A sworn petition needs to state that there is stalking or cyberstalking and provide particular facts and circumstances that the petitioner believes amount to a basis for a protective order. The petition for an injunction for protection against stalking is supposed to be filed in the circuit where you live, where the petitioner currently or temporarily lives, or where the stalking happened. While no attorney is necessary on either side, an injunction can have an impact down the road on the person who is being accused, so it is wise to retain a St. Petersburg criminal attorney.
If a judge believes the victim's claim of being stalked or believes that there is an imminent risk of being stalked, the judge can grant an immediate temporary ex parte order for the victim. This can include an order that you not stalk the victim. This order can last for up to 15 days until there is a full hearing. You have the opportunity to be present at the full hearing and argue against the injunction. The final injunction may be permanent, or it may last until you come back to court to ask for a cancellation or modification.
Stalking is considered a violent crime, whether it is charged as a felony or a misdemeanor. Generally, it is a first-degree misdemeanor. However, there are circumstances that can result in it being charged as aggravated stalking, which is a third-degree felony. For example, if the victim successfully files a petition for a protective order against stalking, and it is claimed that you violated the injunction, you can face additional charges for aggravated stalking. Moreover, a law enforcement officer is allowed to arrest you without a warrant for stalking or cyberstalking under Florida Statute section 784.048(6) if they have probable cause to believe that you perpetrated a stalking or cyberstalking offense, even if what you did was not done in front of the officer.Get Assistance from a Knowledgeable Criminal Attorney in St. Petersburg
If you are looking for an experienced lawyer to fight an injunction against stalking or cyberstalking in St. Petersburg, you should call Hanlon Law. Our founder, Will Hanlon, has been providing dedicated criminal defense representation since 1994, including in many situations before charges have even been filed. You can contact Hanlon Law at 727.897.5413 or through our online form.