Injunctions for protection from stalking or cyberstalking can have serious consequences. Under § 790.233, Fla. Stat., if a stalking injunction is entered against you, you will not be allowed to possess a firearm or ammunition. Under § 784.0485(9)(a), violation of an injunction for protection from stalking can be enforced through a civil or criminal contempt proceeding or prosecuted as a criminal violation.
An injunction for protection against stalking or cyberstalking is also a public record that can affect a person's employment and freedom to travel. Although many persons are not represented by attorneys at injunction hearings, you are entitled to hire an attorney to represent you in this important matter. Hiring an attorney is the best way to make sure your rights are protected
If you are being accused of stalking or cyberstalking by a person who has filed a petition for an injunction for protection against stalking, then contact an attorney in Fort Lauderdale in Broward County, FL. We also represent clients throughout the surrounding areas of Deerfield Beach, Plantation, and Hollywood, FL.
If the trial court entering an injunction where there was no evidence of stalking and no stipulation to evidence of stalking, then you can file a motion for rehearing if you act quickly.
Section 784.0485, Florida Statutes (2016), creates a cause of action for an injunction for protection against stalking. The Florida Criminal Code authorizes circuit courts to issue temporary injunctions against stalking, but it contemplates a “full hearing” before a permanent injunction may be entered.
In order to be entitled to an injunction for stalking, the petitioner must allege and prove two separate instances of stalking. Each incident of stalking must be proven by competent, substantial evidence to support an injunction against stalking.
After the petition is filed, the court will determine if the accusations from one side are sufficient to warrant a temporary injunction. Under Florida Statute Section § 784.0485(5)(a), the court is authorized to grant a temporary injunction ex parte, if it appears to the court that stalking exists.
To find stalking, there must be “willful, malicious, and repeated following, harassing, or cyberstalking of another person.” § 784.048(2), Fla. Stat. The term “harass” means to engage in a course of conduct directed at a specific person which causes substantial emotional distress to that person and serves no legitimate purpose.
The courts in Florida have generally held that contact is legitimate when there is a reason for the contact other than to harass the victim. By its statutory definition, stalking requires proof of repeated acts. In determining whether substantial emotional distress has been established, the courts use a reasonable person standard, not a subjective one.
This article was last updated on Friday, November 3, 2017.
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