In Florida, stalking is defined as the repeated harassment of an individual that causes significant emotional or psychological distress to that individual. In this article, we’re examining the various aspects of stalking and the most effective course of action for individuals experiencing stalking in Florida.
Keep reading to learn your best course of action against stalking in the Sunshine State.
What Constitutes Stalking in Florida?
Under Florida law, the following behaviors constitute stalking:
- Willful, malicious, repeated following of a person
- Willful, malicious, repeated following of a person with a credible threat of harm
- Sending of unwanted gifts
- Repeated unwanted phone calls, emails, text messages, letters, postcards or notes
- Cyberstalking – “Cyberstalk” means to engage in a course of conduct to communicate, or to cause to be communicated, words, images, or language by or through the use of electronic mail or electronic communication, directed at a specific person, causing substantial emotional distress to that person and serving no legitimate purpose.
If you are experiencing repeated unwanted attention, visits, email correspondence, or communication from someone, you may have grounds to file for a Petition for Injunction for Protection Against Stalking. If your petition is granted, the person who is stalking you is legally required to discontinue the behaviors outlined in your petition. If they continue to stalk you, they can be charged with a crime and face significant jail time and fines.
If the person stalking you is a former spouse, estranged spouse, the father or mother of your children, or is related to you by blood or marriage, you make want to file a Petition for Injunction for Protection Against Domestic Violence.
Learn Your Rights
Under Florida law, it is illegal to stalk someone, either in person or online (cyberstalking).
Stalking is a first-degree misdemeanor if it doesn’t involve a credible threat. The crime becomes a felony if the stalking is perpetrated against a child under 16 or if the stalking includes a credible threat.
A credible threat is defined as:
(c) “Credible threat” means a verbal or nonverbal threat, or a combination of the two, including threats delivered by electronic communication or implied by a pattern of conduct, which places the person who is the target of the threat in reasonable fear for his or her safety or the safety of his or her family members or individuals closely associated with the person, and which is made with the apparent ability to carry out the threat to cause such harm. It is not necessary to prove that the person making the threat had the intent to actually carry out the threat. The present incarceration of the person making the threat is not a bar to prosecution under this section.
It is vital that you save proof of the stalking you’ve suffered. Save emails, text messages, letters, notes, photos and gifts sent to you by your stalker. Document incidents of your stalker following you or showing up at your work. This information will be invaluable when petitioning for an injunction for protection or formulating your legal case.
Contact Laura Spencer Coleman for Legal Guidance on Stalking in Florida
You deserve sound advice on pursuing protection from your stalker. Laura Spencer Coleman is a trusted family law attorney serving the Florida Panhandle. She can help you pursue legal action against a stalker and get the peace of mind you deserve.
Contact our office today to learn more.