In today’s day and age, with technology making leaps and bounds forward every minute, the law is looking at ways to catch up with the times. Cyberbullying is prevalent in society, and occurs when one harasses another via an electronic device. Harassment being a conduct or pattern of conduct performed by one individual with the intent to annoy, provoke, threaten, or cause emotional distress to another.
With the presence of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and other forms of social media, these electronic harassment cases are seeing a steep increase. The level of the threats involved in the harassment will dictate the severity of the crime. Cyberbullying, harassing, and stalking can be classified as misdemeanors or as felonies. A misdemeanor harassment case could carry a punishment of up to a year in jail, whereas a felony harassment suit could involve several years in prison. Even if the actions in the pattern of conduct are not felonies themselves, a threat of serious bodily harm or violence may raise the severity to the level of a felony.
Many cases, failing to adequately catch up to technology, use cyberbullying as a subset of harassment or stalking, which oftentimes are used interchangeably. However, other states are actually defining cyberbullying in its own law and are creating ways to criminalize the act on its own.
Some forms of cyberbullying include sending threatening or repeated text messages or emails, “keeping tabs” on someone with a GPS or other electronic device, or even posting things about them or toward them on the aforementioned social media accounts. Showing up at someone’s workplace or home or sending unwanted gifts could further be classified as harassment, and if done electronically could be cyberbullying. The threat, when extended to an individual’s friends or family, will also be considered a criminal act.
If you or someone you know is facing criminal charges, or their professional license is at risk, contact Attorney Miranda McCroskey for an immediate consultation at (833) 865-6253 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.