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Tallahassee Criminal Lawyers Explain How to Fight Cyberstalking Charges

Tallahassee Criminal Lawyers Explain How to Fight Cyberstalking Charges

Being accused of cyberstalking can be scary. You may feel anxious, angry, or confused. As criminal defense attorneys in Tallahassee, we understand. Our job is to listen to your side of the story, investigate the allegations, and build the strongest possible defense.

In this article, we’ll explain Florida’s cyberstalking law, common defenses, and what to expect if you’re facing charges in Leon County or elsewhere in North Florida. Read on for a practical guide from experienced local lawyers.

What is Cyberstalking Under Florida Law?

Florida Statute 784.048 makes it a crime to engage in a course of conduct using electronic means that causes substantial emotional distress or serves no legitimate purpose. There are two ways to commit cyberstalking:

  1. Making any false statement about the victim online, electronically, or in print and knowing it’s false, or acting in reckless disregard of the truth;
  2. Posting or sending offensive material with the intent to emotionally harm the victim.

This covers things like harassing text messages, threatening emails, impersonating someone online, doxing, revenge porn, etc. There is no requirement for a physical threat.

Cyberstalking is generally a first-degree misdemeanor, but it becomes a third-degree felony if the defendant has a prior stalking conviction. Penalties can include hefty fines and years behind bars.

What are Some Common Defenses to Cyberstalking Charges?

There are many ways for our attorneys to get charges dismissed or reduced. Here are some of the most effective legal defenses we use:

Lack of Criminal Intent

For any crime, the state must prove you had a “guilty mind” – that you intended to break the law. With cyberstalking, they have to show your online activity was meant to cause substantial emotional distress. If your actions were misinterpreted, you may not have had the necessary criminal intent.

First Amendment

The First Amendment protects your free speech rights. While true threats are not protected, hyperbole, rhetoric, or venting frustration online usually is. We can argue your statements were constitutionally protected opinions, not criminal threats.


If the alleged victim stalked or harassed you first, you may have a valid self-defense claim. Responding to real threats with reasonable force is allowed under Florida law. We can argue you acted out of justified fear to protect yourself.

Mistaken Identity

Sometimes, the state has the wrong person. If someone else used your phone or computer, or your IP address was spoofed, you may be falsely accused. We obtain tech records to prove mistaken ID.

Mental Health

If mental illness contributed to your online posts, treatment may be more appropriate than jail. We work with psychologists to secure therapy instead of conviction.

What Should I Expect if Charged with Cyberstalking in Tallahassee?

Here’s an overview of the typical legal process if you’re arrested for cyberstalking in Leon County:

  1. You’ll be booked into jail, have bail set, and get a first appearance within 24 hours.
  2. The prosecutor reviews police reports and files formal charges by information or indictment.
  3. Your Tallahassee criminal defense lawyer will request evidence in discovery and build defenses.
  4. We’ll negotiate for dismissal or reduction of charges through pre-trial intervention.
  5. If necessary, we’ll defend you through hearings, motions, trial, and appeal.

Don’t go through this alone. An experienced attorney can protect your rights at every stage. We know how to beat these cases.

Fighting Cyberbullying Charges for Minors

Cyberstalking accusations can be devastating for youths and families. As parents ourselves, we understand. Our juvenile defense team takes an empathetic, discreet approach.

We work with schools, counselors, and parents to show the context around your child’s actions. Oftentimes teens don’t realize the impact of social media posts. With counseling and education, we can get charges dropped without ruining their future.

You Have the Right to an Aggressive Defense

Don’t just hope this goes away – take action. Our cyberstalking defense lawyers have decades of experience achieving results in tough cases. We dig deep to find flaws in the state’s case and present powerful defenses.

If you or a loved one is under investigation or arrested for cyberstalking or cyberbullying in Tallahassee, call us 24/7 for skilled legal representation. Let us protect your rights.

Relevant Laws and Legal Precedents

Here are some of the key laws and court rulings that shape cyberstalking cases in Florida:

Florida Statute 784.048 – Cyberstalking

This law, referenced above, establishes the crime of cyberstalking under Florida state law. It defines what types of electronic communications can qualify and sets penalties.

U.S. v. Cassidy (2013)

A federal case in Maryland where the judge ruled parts of the federal cyberstalking law were unconstitutional based on the First Amendment. It highlighted free speech issues.

State v. Johnson (2014)

A Florida appeals case that upheld the state’s cyberstalking law as constitutional and not overbroad under the First Amendment. It affirmed the law’s validity.

L.R. v. State (2017)

A Florida appeals case involving a minor that overturned a cyberstalking conviction based on the First Amendment. It found the teen’s speech was protected.

18 U.S. Code § 2261A – Cyberstalking

The federal law against cyberstalking, which can also apply in Florida. It provides another angle for prosecutors.


We hope this guide provides useful information and reassurance if you or a loved one is facing cyberstalking allegations. Skilled defense makes all the difference. Don’t hesitate to reach out to our Tallahassee cyberstalking lawyers for trusted advice and strong representation.

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