While many types of harassment have always been illegal, ever-changing technology has created more avenues for harassment. One of the newer and more fluid areas of law deal with all types of internet harassment.
Cyberstalking is using Internet, email or an electronic communication to stalk another person. This charge usually references a pattern of threatening behavior and may be considered most serious if the actions pose a credible threat. This charge often carries the stiffest penalties.
Cyberharassment is similar to cyberstalking, but generally does not pose a credible threat. This pertains to actions like posting blogs about another person or sending harassing text messages.
One of the most damaging types of internet harassment, however, is cyberbullying. It may fall under cyberharassment or cyberstalking or many other categories and has become increasingly prevalent, especially among tweens and teens. As teens have switched to communicating most over electronic sources, bullying has morphed into something that tends to happen over social media, web sites and text messaging more often than in person. A cyberbullying claim may be handled not only through the law, but also through the school district.
Any time a crime involves distributing certain sexually explicit or nude images of a minor, a harassment charge as well as possible child pornography charges are possible. This includes, but is not limited to posting an image on Facebook or sending text messages without the person’s consent.
In Oregon, all school districts must have a policy in place to address bullying and cyberbullying on campuses. This includes bus stops and all school-sponsored events. The policies implemented by each school district must include a definition of bullying and cyberbullying, a procedure for reporting bullying. These policies should spell out who the students need to report incidents to, who handles the reports and what the procedure is for handling each report.
Cyberbullying may carry a wide variety of punishments, depending on the severity of the incident. Punishments may range from a misdemeanor to a felony and many charges may carry fines of up to $125,000 and five years in prison.
If you or your child is facing any type of cyber harassment crimes, it is crucial to speak with one of our experienced criminal defense attorneys. Call our offices today for a free, initial consultation.