Florida takes stalking seriously. This crime occurs when one person follows or harasses another person repeatedly and maliciously, leading to emotional distress. The state has strict laws to protect individuals from unwanted attention and threats to their safety. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement reported that in 2019, police arrested 97 people for aggravated stalking and 343 people for simple stalking.
Stalking does not just mean someone lurking in the shadows. State law includes various behaviors that can threaten or harm another individual’s emotional and physical safety, and it is important to understand these laws and the behaviors that can result in stalking charges.
Repeated and unwanted communication
If you continuously send unsolicited emails, texts or social media messages and the recipient feels harassed, you might face stalking charges. Even if you believe your intentions are harmless, the other person’s perception of your actions matters.
Following or surveilling someone without their knowledge
Tracking someone’s movements on purpose and repeatedly without their consent can result in stalking charges. This behavior includes waiting outside their home, workplace or any other location they frequent.
If you threaten to harm someone either verbally or in writing and this causes them to fear for their safety, you can face legal consequences.
Gathering information about someone without their permission
If you use online resources or personal contacts to collect information about someone without their consent, and then use that information to harass or intimidate them, you might face stalking charges.
Engaging in cyberstalking
Florida law treats cyberstalking as stalking. Harassing someone using electronic communication such as emails, social media or other online platforms can lead to charges if your actions cause emotional distress to the other person.
Always respect personal boundaries and understand that even unintentional actions can have significant legal consequences. Consider how others might perceive your actions and always prioritize respect for individual rights and personal space.