How Are Florida’s Stalking Laws Different from Those in Other States?
In Florida, stalking is considered a very serious offense. Victims of stalking often describe their experiences as some of the most terrifying, scary experiences of their life. Stalking not only violates a person’s right to privacy but also creates significant fear for the victim. In severe stalking cases, victims can be exposed to danger and physical harm. All of these effects experienced by victims make stalking a criminal offense. However, in Florida stalking can also be considered a misdemeanor. Additionally, there are various degrees of stalking that will determine the penalties and consequences incurred by the perpetrator.
If you have experienced stalking in Florida, it’s important to understand your rights. Meeting with a skilled stalking lawyer is the best way to ensure you receive justice. Here is some important information to know about stalking laws in Florida.
Florida Stalking Laws
In Florida, stalking is considered to be any pattern of behavior that involves following, watching, or monitoring another person against their consent with the intent to harass, intimidate or threaten them. There are a variety of ways in which someone can stalk another person. However, some of the most common acts of stalking include:
- Following someone on a regular basis
- Hacking and monitoring someone’s computer, cell phone, or social media accounts
- Implanting a GPS device in a person’s vehicle and monitoring their whereabouts against their consent
- Making unsolicited contact with a person via phone calls, text messages, or messages over social media
- Sending unwanted gifts on a routine basis
- Threatening to harm the victim or their close friends or family members
- Videotaping or photographing someone without their consent
These are just a few behaviors that are considered stalking under Florida law. Many other additional acts can also be considered stalking.
Stalking Misdemeanors and Felonies in Florida
Depending on the severity of the stalking, perpetrators can expect to be charged with a misdemeanor or felony. In general, there are two kinds of stalking under Florida law: stalking and aggravated stalking. Stalking is defined as willful, malicious, and repeated following or harassing while aggravated stalking involves these same qualifiers with the addition of threatening the victim or placing them in fear of bodily harm. Additionally, a perpetrator can automatically receive an aggravated stalking charge if the victim is under 16 or if they have continued stalking behaviors despite an outstanding restraining order or injunction.
Individuals that are convicted of a stalking misdemeanor of the first degree can expect penalties including a one-year jail sentence and a $1,000 fine. Individuals that are convicted of a stalking felony can expect penalties, such as a five-year jail sentence and a $5,000 fine. However, every stalking case is unique and the consequences a perpetrator may face will depend on the case details.
Contact a Skilled Criminal Defense Attorney
If you have experienced stalking in Florida, it’s important to seek legal counsel from a skilled lawyer. At The Umansky Law Firm, our criminal defense attorneys are dedicated to helping you get the justice you deserve. With over 100 years of combined legal experience, our team has the skills and expertise to fight for your rights. To schedule a free consultation, call our office or complete an online contact form for a free consultation.