Palm Beach County Cop Arrested for Stalking
Stalking is not a crime often reported in news headlines but in this case, it caught the attention of reporters because the accused is a Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Deputy. The accusations are that the officer used his law enforcement resources to aggressively stalk his ex-girlfriend. Crimes like these are disappointing for any South Florida resident to stomach because our community expects security and a sense of honor and duty from our local law enforcement. Seeing police officers abuse their power and their resources to manipulate other people causes a lack of faith in the justice system put in place to protect our community.
PBC Police Officer Arrest
Palm Beach County Sheriff’s deputy Patrick Joseph Burt, 31, was ordered to be held at the Palm Beach County Jail on a $5,000 bond and is facing stalking charges. He will be needing the strength and skills of a criminal defense lawyer to be able to keep his job after the dust settles on this case.
According to Florida Statute 784.048, Stalking is considered to be the act of willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly following, harassing, or cyberstalking, another person. It is a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable by up to 1 year in jail, and a maximum of a $1,000 fine.
According to an article in WPTV News, the detective heading the investigation found that Burt used his marked patrol car to enter the woman’s gated community in suburban Boca Raton in November. Also, a mechanic found a GPS device attached to the undercarriage of the woman’s car on Feb. 19. Further, the woman reported that on Feb. 14, she found eight signs posted around her job that labeled her current boyfriend a “home wrecker and a cheater.” There were also yellow-colored flyers posted on the building and elevator that named the woman’s current boyfriend a “cheater who pursued another person’s fiancé,” according to WPTV News.
Burt has admitted to putting the GPS on his ex-girlfriend’s car and to posting the flyers and signs. The day the signs were posted in Boca Raton, Burt was being paid to patrol Wellington.
Burt has also been accused of abusing his law enforcement resources by using the Florida Driver and Vehicle Information Database to search the names of the woman’s family members and her current boyfriend.
Stalking Criminal Defense
Stalking is a crime very difficult to defend. If you have been arrested and charged with stalking, it is imperative that you contact a criminal defense lawyer immediately. The nature of this crime makes the court process long and difficult. Only an experienced criminal defense lawyer will investigate your side of the story to make sure you are fairly represented in court. If convicted, you could be facing an average of 1 year in prison and a $1,000 fine in addition to court fees and other expenses.