We Can Help If You Have Been Accused of Making Threats in Florida
Kids on playgrounds still chant the well-known rhyme, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” Unfortunately, when they are the basis for a Florida criminal threat or harassment charge, words can hurt you – a great deal.
Criminal threat charges often cause a great deal of confusion and anxiety for those who face them. Often, the person who claims you made a threat is someone you know, perhaps very well. Because criminal threat charges depend heavily on who said what to whom, the case may seem like a “he said, she said” situation, and you may be confused as to how to handle it or where to turn.
When facing criminal threat charges of any kind in Florida, it is critical to access as much information about your legal rights and options as possible as well as contact an experienced Jacksonville criminal defense attorney. At Farah & Farah, our attorneys have helped many people protect their legal rights, investigate a threat charge, and resolve the case in the best possible way. Call 855-797-9899 today!
Florida’s Criminal Threat Laws
Section 784.048 of the Florida Statutes defines a “credible threat.” Credible threats may be made verbally, in writing, or via electronic communications like telephone, e-mail, or texting. In some situations, a threat may be “credible” even if it is not made in words. A “credible threat” in Florida is a statement or behavior that:
- causes the threatened person to reasonably fear for his or her safety or the safety of the person’s family or loved ones, and
- appears to be one that the person making the threat can actually carry out.
A threat may be a “credible threat” under Florida law even if the person making the threat does not actually intend to carry it out or is incarcerated. The impression made on the person who receives the threat matters; the intentions of the person making it do not.
What is Considered a Credible Threat, Harassment, and Stalking in Florida?
Florida law does not require any kind of threat to be made in order to convict a person of either harassment or stalking, both of which are misdemeanors punishable by less than one year in a county jail and other penalties. However, a “credible threat” must be involved if a person is to be convicted of aggravated stalking, which is a third-degree felony in Florida.
Aggravated stalking occurs when one person “willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly follows, harasses, or cyberstalks” another person, and when the first person make a “credible threat” to the second. The person charged with aggravated stalking does not have to make the threat to the second person directly. A threat made to a third party and conveyed to the threatened person is also a “credible threat” as long as it meets all the requirements listed above.
Defending Your Legal Rights
Cases involving threats can be complex, confusing, and frustrating. Police and prosecutors may aggressively pursue a threat charge even though the line between an actual threat and merely talking may be very fine.
To defend your legal rights, you need Jacksonville threat charge defense attorneys like the team at Farah & Farah on your side through every step of your case. We fight to protect the rights of each client we represent and to secure the best possible outcome in each case we handle. For a confidential consultation, contact our office today.