In the state of Florida, the laws state that anyone can file a protection injunction concerning stalking no matter who the person is, no matter who they are or how they are related to the victim. Florida stalking laws and criminal laws state that it is defined as someone who intentionally, willfully, repeatedly, and maliciously harasses, follows, or cyber-stalks another individual. Learn more on Florida Stalking Laws!
- Harassment: When an individual commits numerous actions over a time-period against a victim, which causes the victim substantial emotional damage or distress. These acts have no legitimate purpose.
- Cyber-stalking: when an individual commits numerous actions whereby communicated images, words, or language occurs through email or other electronic means is directed toward the victim, causing them substantial emotional damage or distress. These acts have no legitimate purpose.
There are many examples of injunctions falling under Florida Stalking Laws. Having an understanding of them will help you determine which acts or behaviors may be a qualifier.
- The petitioner was previous stalked,threatened, cyber-stalked, harassed, or physically abused.
- The stalker threatened to harm the family members of the petitioner, or the petitioner themselves, or other individuals who are closely related to or associated with the petitioner.
- The stalker intentionally killed or gravely injured a family pet.
- The stalker threatened to use or has used a weapon, such as a gun or a knife for example, against the petitioner.
- The stalker has damaged or destroyed property to include, but is not limited to communication equipment such as telephones, clothing, and other personal belongings owned by the petitioner.
What kinds of stalking injunctions are there? Do they last long?
In the state of Florida, there are two types of injunctions that fall under Florida stalking laws: an ex parte temporary injunction and a final injunction. The final injunction is issued following the respondent’s notice and the hearing.
When the judge believes they are seeing a case where the victim is being stalked or that the victim is in present and immediate danger, they typically grant an immediate ex parte order to the victim. The judge has the right to include terms within the ex parte order they believe is appropriate, including requiring that the respondent to this order not to commit any further acts of stalking against the victim. An immediate ex parte order lasts for up to fifteen days, at which time a full hearing is conducted. At this time, the respondent has the right to present to the court evidence fighting the injunction ordered against them.
How is this injunction helpful?
When an immediate ex parte injunction is ordered, the judge is able to do the following on the victim’s behalf:
- Make orders within the injunction state that no other acts of stalking be permitted against the victim.
- Include additional terms within the injunction the judge believes are necessary for the protection of the victim.
- Include orders that should be directed toward law enforcement.
- All of the orders listed above for protections will be listed within the injunction.
- The respondent will be ordered to participate in counseling services, intervention, and treatment and pay for them using their own resources.
The judge may also make references available to the petitioner for services that may be appropriate for them with regards to certified rape crisis centers, stalking centers, and other referrals that may be of need. The final injunction could be indefinite, or until the petitioner and respondent return to court to request that the injunction be modified or changed. According to Florida stalking laws, the petitioner and the respondent can also return to court to have the injunction dissolved or cancelled. At any point in time, either party can file to make these modifications to the injunction.
If you are victim of stalking in the state of Florida, you can file an injunction petition in the circuit court located where you are currently living. This includes if this is your temporary residence. You can also file the petition where the respondent lives, or where the stalking took place.
In order to find the a courthouse location nearest to where you are, visit the Florida Courthouse website for more information. Remember that this is not minimum residency requirement in the state of Florida in order to file a petition for injunction for stalking. Your rights are protected.