Electronic Stalking in Domestic Violence Cases
Domestic violence cases can involve a variety of allegations, including everything from actual physical violence to verbal threats. In recent years, however, more and more domestic violence restraining orders are being based on allegations of electronic stalking. The kind of evidence used to demonstrate electronic stalking is wide ranging, including text message exchanges, phone records, and audio recordings, all of which have the potential to be taken out of context. For help protecting your own rights after being accused of electronic stalking, please contact an experienced Seminole domestic violence lawyer who can help you build a strong defense.
Methods of Electronic Stalking
The methods of stalking via electronics are changing all the time. There are, however, some forms that are particularly common, including:
- The use of clone accounts, or fake accounts of real people made by someone else, in order to contact a third party without that individual’s knowledge of the account holder’s true identity;
- Cell phone bugging, which usually involves the use of software programs and spyware that enables the recording of phone conversations, viewing of text message, tracking locations, and remotely controlling another person’s phone;
- Using or installing discreet GPS tracking devices;
- Bluetooth hacking, which occurs when Bluetooth is engaged, but not paired with another device and allows the perpetrator to intercept or reroute communications, send and read text messages, and even place phone calls from someone else’s phone;
- Keystroke logging, which involves the use of a software program or device that connects to a computer and records all information typed by the user, revealing passwords, commonly visited websites, and more; and
- Telephone ID spoofing, which allows callers to hide their identity when making a call or to transmit a fake ID to the recipient.
These methods, along with the excessive or harassing use of text messages, phone calls, or online messages can all qualify as electronic stalking for domestic violence purposes, as long as the petitioner can prove that the conduct in question poses a credible threat. Furthermore, the petitioner isn’t even required to prove that the accused intended to actually carry out the threat.
Electronic Stalking Court Orders
When drafting a domestic violence injunction based on allegations of electronic stalking, courts can take a number of different actions, including specifying what types of technology the respondent can use, which includes:
- Barring them from personally (or through the use of a third party) accessing, purchasing, or engaging in the services of a caller ID spoofing program, geo tracking service, or other spyware program;
- Prohibiting them from contacting or asking someone else to contact the petitioner through social media platforms; and
- Barring the respondent from using any electronic means to contact the petitioner.
Courts do, however, have discretion to narrowly tailor their orders, meaning that a respondent could be prohibited from even the most basic forms of electronic use.
Call or Email Us Today
For help defending yourself against allegations of electronic stalking, please contact the experienced Seminole domestic violence attorneys at Reep Coleman & Stubbendorff by calling our office at 727-330-6502, completing one of our online contact forms, or sending an email to email@example.com.