Florida statutes define stalking as willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly following or harassing a person. Stalking occurs when one person is repeatedly harassed by another person, with behavior marked by persistent, unwanted contact and can cause fear and diminished quality of life. Depending on the nature of the harassment, the stalking will either qualify as a misdemeanor or felony.
Misdemeanor Stalking in the First Degree involves the repeated, persistent and malicious harassment or following of a person. The harassment must cause significant emotional distress to satisfy the legal definition. Breaking this statute carries a possible prison sentence of up to one year.
Felony Stalking in the Third Degree includes all the elements of misdemeanor first-degree stalking with the addition of a threat that would put a reasonable person in fear for his life or safety. The threat must be against the life of the victim or a threat of serious bodily injury to the victim. Family members of the threatened person are also covered by this law. The punishment for breaking this statute is imprisonment for up to five years.
Aggravated Felony Stalking in the Third Degree occurs if a protective injunction is granted against a person to prevent further acts of repeated, malicious harassment and cyberstalking, and he then makes a threat against the life of the victim or threatens serious bodily injury to the victim. The harassment alone against a person under 16 is also felony aggravated stalking in the third degree. If found guilty, a person may face up to five years in prison.