What is the legal definition of stalking in Florida?
This section defines stalking for the purpose of getting an injunction.
According to Florida’s criminal law, stalking is defined as when someone willfully (intentionally), maliciously, and repeatedly follows, harasses, or cyberstalks another person.* Below you will find the definitions of the emboldened terms:
- Harassment is when someone commits a series of acts over a period of time against you, which causes you to have substantial emotional distress (and the acts serve no legitimate purpose).**
- Cyberstalking is when someone commits a series of acts that communicate (or cause to be communicated) words, images, or language through e-mail or other electronic communication that is directed at you, causing you substantial emotional distress (and serving no legitimate purpose).***
Here are some examples listed on the court petition so you can get an idea of what behaviors/acts may qualify someone for an injunction:
- Previously threatened, harassed, stalked, cyberstalked, or physically abused the petitioner;
- Threatened to harm the petitioner or family members or individuals closely associated with the petitioner;
- Intentionally injured or killed a family pet;
- Used, or threatened to use, against the petitioner any weapons such as guns or knives; and
- Destroyed personal property, including, but not limited to, telephones or other communication equipment, clothing, or other items belonging to the petitioner.****
* Fla. Stat. § 784.048(2)
** Fla. Stat. § 784.048(1)(a),(b)
*** Fla. Stat. § 784.048(1)(d)
**** Fla. Stat. § 784.0485(3)(d)