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Stalking in Florida is defined as the willful, malicious, and repeated following, harassing, or cyberstalking of another person.
 
The Florida definition of “harass” is to engage in a course of conduct directed at a specific person which causes substantial emotional distress to that person and serves no legitimate purpose.
 
The Florida definition of “cyberstalk” is 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, cuasing substantial emotional distress to that person and serving no legitmate purpose.

Penalties for a Stalking Charge

Stalking in Florida is classified as a first degree misdemeanor punishable by up to:
  1. One year in the county jail;
  2. One year of supervised probation;
  3. A $1,000 fine
Florida re-classifies Stalking to a third degree felony if any of the following is true:
  1. You make a credible threat to the victim;
  2. You are stalking someone who has already obtained an injunction against you; or
  3. The victim is under 16 years old
A Florida third degree felony is punishable by up to:
  1. Five years in state prison;
  2. Five years of supervised probation;
  3. A $5,000 fine

Defenses to a Stalking Charge

In addition to factual defenses that would be raised at trial to show reasonable doubt as to the crime alleged, some common defenses to a Stalking charge in Florida include:

Isolated incident
The Florida Stalking law specifically requires that you engage in a “course of conduct” as that term is defined under Florida law. Rarely will a single incident be determined to be “stalking” under Florida law. Rather, a pattern of conduct composed of a series of acts over a period of time is required in order to amount to Stalking in Florida. However, there is no requirement that the conduct occur over any particular period of time but only that it generally not be a single, isolated incident.

The contact was not willful
Accidentally running into someone in a public place is not only impossible to prevent, it will not be considered Stalking in Florida unless there is evidence that the contact was willful on your part.

The contact did not cause substantial emotional distress
As stated above, the Florida definition of “harass” requires that you cause substantial emotional distress in order to rise to level of harassment. If there is no way your conduct could have caused substantial emotional distress, you may have a viable defense to a Florida Stalking charge.

Contact Orlando Criminal Defense Attorney Chris Kaigle if you’ve been charged with Stalking in Florida!
(407) 545-6416