Stalking in Florida

If accused of Stalking, you need to know the:

Definition of Stalking

Under Florida Statute Florida Statute 784.048(2), the crime of Stalking is committed when a person:

  1. Willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly;
  2. Follows, harasses, or cyberstalks another person.

Cyberstalking

Cyberstalking is defined as electronically sending words, images, or language to a person that cause substantial emotional distress and serve no legitimate purpose. [1]

Harassment

Harassment is defined as engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person, which causes substantial emotional distress in that person and serves no legitimate purpose. [2]

Penalties for Stalking

The crime of Stalking is classified as a Third Degree Felony and is assigned a Level 6 offense severity ranking under Florida's Criminal Punishment Code.

If convicted of Stalking, a judge can impose any combination of the following penalties:

  • Up to one (1) year in jail.
  • Up to one (1) year of probation.
  • Up to $1,000 in fines.
  • A restraining order for up to 10 (ten) years.

Defenses to Stalking

In addition to the pretrial defenses and trial defenses that can be raised in any criminal case, specific defenses to the crime of Stalking are:

First Amendment Activity

It is a defense to the crime of Stalking if the conduct the person is alleged to have engaged in is considered constitutionally protected activity, such as picketing or organized protesting. [3]

Legitimate Purpose

If communication with another person is solely made in furtherance of a legitimate pursuit, such as legal, business, or child custody matters, then the communication is presumptively considered legitimate. [4]

As a result, communications made with civility in support of legal, business, or child custody matters will not support a stalking charge.

Contact Criminal Defense Lawyer Richard Hornsby

If you have been arrested or charged with the crime of Stalking in Central Florida or the greater Orlando area, please contact Criminal Defense Lawyer today.

The initial consultation is free and I am always available to advise you on the proper course of action that can be taken.

References

  1. Florida Statute 784.048(1)(d)
  2. Florida Statute 784.048(1)(a)
  3. Florida Statute 784.048(1)(b)
  4. Alter v. Paquette, 98 So. 3d 218 (Fla. 2d DCA 2012)