What is considered stalking?
Stalking is a pattern of behavior that involves repeatedly following, harassing, or threatening someone, causing them to fear for their safety or the safety of others. Stalking can occur in person or through electronic communication such as phone calls, emails, or social media.
What are some examples of stalking?
Stalking can come in many forms, not just following someone in-person. Some examples of stalking can include, but are not limited to:
Repeatedly contacting someone on social media (after previous attempts of blocking from the victim). Can include contacting them on non-social media sites.
Sending someone unwanted letters or parcels in the mail.
Contacting them via telephone (including numbers other than their personal phone number). Can include contacting them through phone numbers that are not your own.
Waiting for them outside their home, workplace, car, or other area that is frequented.
Posting images of them on social media, even if they don't share personal information.
Collecting information on them through mutual friends or family, or asking friends or family how to get in contact with them.
Obtaining information on them illegally or through hacking personal accounts.
What are the consequences of stalking?
In Florida, stalking is a serious criminal offense that is punishable by law. According to Florida Statute 784.048, stalking is defined as "willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly following, harassing, or cyberstalking another person." Cyberstalking refers to the use of electronic communication to engage in a course of conduct that causes substantial emotional distress to the victim.
The consequences of stalking in Florida can be severe, and may include:
Criminal charges: Stalking is a third-degree felony in Florida, and those convicted may face imprisonment for up to 5 years and a fine of up to $5,000.
Restraining orders: Victims of stalking can file for restraining orders or protective orders against their stalkers, which prohibit the stalker from contacting or coming near the victim.
Civil lawsuits: Victims of stalking may be able to file civil lawsuits against their stalkers to seek damages for emotional distress, lost wages, and other expenses related to the stalking.
Damage to reputation: Stalking can damage the reputation of the perpetrator, as well as cause emotional distress to the victim.
It's important to note that stalking is a serious crime that can cause significant harm to the victim. If you are a victim of stalking, it's important to seek help from law enforcement and other support services to ensure your safety and well-being.
Disclaimer: The content of this page is NOT a substitution for legal advice.
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