In an era where daily use of personal technology has become the norm, it can be difficult to make a distinction between online communication and face-to-face contact. In fact, regulations and conduct surrounding interaction are usually standard regardless of what means conversation is initiated and fostered.
However, certain aspects of in-person meetings are impossible through digital communication. That includes tone of voice, facial expressions, and even perceived intent. Sometimes, people take advantage of the “wall” that technology provides to purposely make others feel uncomfortable. Not only is this immoral, but it can also be illegal. Read on to learn more about cyberstalking laws in Florida, and how you can avoid taking part in potentially-damaging behavior.
Understand the Severity
Some people take a passive approach to the ever-changing face of technology. Since many youth have grown up with smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices, they take for granted the ability to contact anyone at any time. Regardless of age or life stage, however, this contact sometimes takes a dramatic turn for the worse.
While cyberstalking entails a wide variety of behavior, it’s commonly understood as the intentional misuse of digital tools (including social media, email, and other electronic communication) that results in the reasonable fear of an individual, or otherwise causes that person substantial distress.
Simply being named as a cyber stalker can have long-lasting negative consequences. If you’ve been accused of cyberstalking (or asked to cease contact with someone), it’s paramount that you immediately cut off contact. If you’ve been presented with a lawsuit, or contacted by law enforcement, it’s imperative that you contact a Daytona Beach criminal lawyer who can offer valuable insight and guidance.
Know the Law
While cyberstalking laws vary by state, any stalking is considered a form of emotional assault and is taken very seriously by law enforcement. Cyberstalking includes (but isn’t necessarily limited to):
- harassment, humiliation, and/or embarrassment by digital means
- blocking access to, or otherwise controlling financial assets of victims
- intentional isolation of victim and/or friends and loved ones
- using scare tactics and threats to elicit a specific response or behavior
Many times, a cyber-stalker will make false accusations or spread rumors about the victim in online forums or through social media. Often, this individual will also monitor the digital activities of their victim. Cyber-stalkers may also encourage others to publicly harass or intimidate certain people.
If you’re involved in any of these actions, you must immediately cease the activity. If you’ve been falsely accused of such behavior and are now faced with legal action, it’s essential that you contact a trusted and reputable Daytona criminal attorney.
Protect Yourself and Others
As mentioned, anyone can be accused of cyberstalking whether the claims are true or not. Thankfully, there are steps you can and should take to protect yourself from false allegations. That includes saving all emails, messages, and other communication for future reference. You can also get in contact with your Internet Service Provider (ISP) and the ISP of the person making charges (if known).
In Florida, cyberstalking is normally considered a first-degree misdemeanor. It’s punishable by up to 12 months in jail and a $1,000 fine. A felony cyberstalking conviction in Florida carries a sentence of up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
Still, as mentioned, the social fallout from even cyberstalking accusations could last for years, and might adversely affect your ability to secure future employment and housing. That’s why it’s a good idea to reach out to Ormond Beach attorneys with a proven track record of criminal defense success.
Get Expert Assistance
Cyberstalking aside, there are many other legal scenarios you could face that might create awkward, uncomfortable, stressful, and even overwhelming situations. That’s when you need attorneys in Daytona Beach, Florida who can help you navigate even the most complex developments.
For nearly 40 years, Rice Law Firm has assisted countless Central Florida residents just like you. Along with criminal defense, our firm also specializes in:
- divorce and family law
- real estate law
- wills, trusts, and probate
- business and corporate law
- personal injury and wrongful death
- and more
Feel free to ask us your most pressing legal questions at any time. Then, contact us today to get started on your criminal defense case.