Is It A Crime To Stalk Someone Online?
There is no doubt that over the past several decades, the Internet has provided people with a great way to stay in touch with family members and friends. Unfortunately, the Internet also has a dark side and it has given rise to many different crimes, including cyberstalking. In the moment, cyberstalking may not seem like a major crime, but it is an offense that carries with it serious consequences. Below, our Ouachita Parish misdemeanor defense lawyer outlines what this offense entails, the penalties involved, and the defenses available.
What is Cyberstalking?
Cyberstalking occurs when a person harasses another person using online or electronic communication. The offense can take many different forms including sending threatening emails, posting abusive comments on social media, or finding and posting another person’s confidential information, such as their Social Security number.
In its simplest form, cyberstalking is any type of harassing behavior that leaves another person feeling threatened, scared, and vulnerable. In recent years, this type of behavior has become even more common. Due to the fact that many people use fake accounts containing false information, or make their posts private, it can be challenging to detect who is committing the crime and stop it from occurring in the future.
Penalties for a Cyberstalking Conviction
Due to the fact that a conviction for cyberstalking does not involve hard labor, it is classified as a misdemeanor under Louisiana law. Still, the penalties for a conviction can be quite serious. A first offense can result in up to 180 days in jail and a maximum fine of $2,000. For a second conviction within seven years of the first, the penalties increase to between six months and three years in jail, a maximum fine of $5,000 or both. A third conviction within seven years is punishable by two to five years in jail, a maximum one of $5,000, or both.
It is possible to avoid the above penalties. To give yourself the best chance of a successful outcome, it is important to speak to an Ouachita Parish misdemeanor defense lawyer.
Defenses to Cyberstalking
Being charged with any criminal offense can seem hopeless, but there are defenses to cyberstalking. The most common of these include:
- You did not threaten or harass the alleged victim,
- The harassment is not what really happened, was taken out of context, or has been overstated,
- You did not commit the crime but the victim believes otherwise,
- You did not contact the alleged victim repeatedly,
- The alleged victim did not receive any direct threats.
Our Misdemeanor Defense Lawyer in Ouachita Parish Can Assist with Your Case
If you have been charged with cyberstalking, the best defense for your case is very fact-specific. It is for this reason you need to work with an experienced Ouachita Parish misdemeanor defense lawyer. At Whiddon Criminal Defense, our experienced attorney can advise on the right strategy to use and give you the best chance of obtaining a favorable outcome. Call or text us now at 318-387-2776 or connect with us online to schedule a free consultation.