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When does communicating become cyberstalking?

On Behalf of | Apr 28, 2021 | Criminal Defense |

When you’re trying to communicate with someone, whether it’s an ex-spouse, someone you like or someone you know in another way, it’s normal to reach out by phone, on social media or through other methods.

The amount of time you spend trying to get in touch could be varied based on many things. If there’s an emergency, you might call many times in a row or try several methods to get in touch. If you’re trying to get in touch for a date and don’t get a response, you might leave a few messages a couple of days apart or send a message on social media.

There is a point when those behaviors go from being reasonable to unreasonable. If you go too far, there is a chance that the other person may report you for cyberstalking them across platforms.

When does communicating become cyberstalking?

By definition, cyberstalking has to use technology and make someone else concerned about their safety and well-being. If you were leaving friendly messages and just trying to get in touch, it would be difficult for someone to say that you were stalking them. However, if you left messages angry about not receiving returned calls or messages, then those messages might be used to show that you were being aggressive and made the other person fearful.

It’s also important to note that cyberbullying is not the same as cyberstalking. You can be accused of cyberstalking much more easily, especially if there is evidence of you trying to get in touch with a specific person time and time again against their wishes. If you’re asked to stop contacting them, do so, because continuing on may lead to these allegations.

In Florida, cyberstalking laws require that the messages sent to the other person cause substantial emotional distress and have no legitimate purpose. It’s a first-degree misdemeanor charge in most cases, but it could be a third-degree felony if there is a credible threat attached to any of those messages.

If you’ve only been trying to get in touch, then it’s not likely that you’ll be accused of cyberstalking. However, remember that the other person can ask you to stop contacting them. If they do, it’s best to listen.

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