Feeling harassed or stalked in any situation is an unsettling experience. As we enter 2020, we know people live and breathe all things digital, which makes concerns about cyberstalking even more critical.
Victims who have been cyberstalked want to know what protections they have and whether it’s possible to obtain an injunction against this kind of harassment. In short, the answer is yes — you can get a restraining order for cyberstalking. But to do so, you must have proof and clear evidence that you need protection from someone who is cyberstalking you. Let’s get into more details about what those requirements are.
Under Florida Statute 784.048 (1)(d), cyberstalking is defined as the following:
“To cyberstalk means to engage in the course of conduct to communicate, or to cause to be communicated, words, images, or language by or through the use of electronic mail or electronic communication, directed at a specific person, causing substantial emotional distress to that person and serving no legitimate purpose.”
The definition of cyberstalking has a couple of key terms that should also be understood. To meet the requirement for “course of conduct,” you must prove that there were at least two incidents when the respondent cyberstalked you. The phrase “substantial emotional distress” is not defined in Florida law.
Often times, this type of harassment takes place on social media sites, but someone can be cyberstalked on a variety of platforms. The following are examples of online platforms where an individual might stalk someone:
Because these platforms are often the same ones that we look at first thing in the morning or right before bed, the feeling that you’re being cyberstalked on any of these platforms can seriously impede your overall quality of life.
A conviction for cyberstalking is a misdemeanor in the first degree. The punishment in Florida is up to 12 months in the county jail and up to $1,000 in fines.
If you’re seeking an injunction against someone for cyberstalking, you’re referred to as the petitioner. The person you’re seeking protection from is the respondent. When you initially take your petition for an injunction to court, you detail the facts surrounding why you need protection, and a judge will decide, based on those facts, whether to grant a Temporary Injunction for Protection Against Stalking. This temporary injunction usually lasts for 15 days or until the following court date, when your case will be heard for a permanent injunction. It’s incredibly critical to have expert legal counsel on your side during this hearing to present the most persuasive case possible to the judge why you need protection from cyberstalking.
Cyberstalking is a criminal offense that Florida courts do not take lightly. If you need an injunction to protect yourself against cyberstalking, or if you’re falsely accused of cyberstalking, the attorneys at Fighter Law can help. Whether you’re the petitioner or the respondent, we will fight to win you the most favorable outcome to protect your freedom and peace of mind.
When you hire Fighter Law, you can rest assured in knowing that we will fight for you.
Attorney Thomas Feiter has experience as lead counsel in taking more than 100 jury trials to verdict and is Board Certified in Criminal Trial Law by the Florida Bar. Contact him today for a free consultation on your injunction case. Call at (407) FIGHTER (344-4837) or complete our online contact form.
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