Should I Let Police Search My Phone or Computer If Under Investigation for Cyberstalking?

No! No! No! The police may say to you if you let us just look atyour phone and download some information we will let you go. This is a lie – they want to gather evidence against you to arrest you. The police can lie to you to get evidence, or in this case, your cell phone data.  Don’t be fooled into thinking if I just give them my phone all will be okay.

Remember! If the police already had enough evidence against you to rise to the level of probable cause they would not need the data from your phone to help convict you.

So, what is Cyberstalking?

Cyberstalking is a serious criminal offense. Under Florida Law, cyberstalking occur via communications over the internet, cyberspace, and through text messages. Cyberbullying, masquerading as the victim on-line, anonymously posting private information about another person, texting sexually provocative information or pictures (sexting), and on-line sexual harassment are acts associated with cyberbullying.

Due to the increased use of smartphones and other technologies, accessing the internet is easier than ever. Cyberstalking does not always have to be on the internet, however. Text messages or emails can also be used for cyberstalking someone. When threats are made through electronic communication, cyberstalking becomes aggravated and carries a harsher penalty.

Florida Statute 784.048 defines cyberstalking as causing series of communications which include words, pictures, images, or language through the use of any electronic l, the internet, phone text messaging targeted at a specific-person, which causes that person “substantial emotional distress” and serves “no legitimate purpose.”  Aggravated Cyberstalking is defined by Florida Statute as: a credible threat against the life of the person or a threat to cause bodily injury to the person which is made with the intent to cause the person to reasonably fear for his or her safety.

Cyberstalking is a first degree misdemeanor punishable by 12 months in county jail, and a $1,000.00 fine for each alleged act. Aggravated cyberstalking on the other hand is a third degree felony and punishable by five years in Florida State prison and a $5,000.00 fine.

If you are already subject to an injunction or restraining order protection against domestic violence, repeat violence, sexual violence, or dating violence, or after any “no contact” provision is imposed by the court, and maliciously, knowingly, and willfully cyberstalk a person subject to the court order of protection, you may be charged with aggravated stalking. Also, any instance of cyberstalking directed at a child or minor under the age of 16 can result in a charge of aggravated cyberstalking and charged as a third degree felony.
If you are accused of cyberstalking or aggravated cyberstalking, it is important to not let the police search your phone or computer without a warrant. As always, its best to consult an attorney if you are unsure.