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Washington Cyberstalking Laws

Washington Cyberstalking Laws

House Bill 2771

Passed, when signed by Governor goes into effect on July 1, 2004.

AN ACT Relating to the prevention of cyberstalking; amending RCW 9A.46.060 and 9A.46.100; reenacting and amending RCW 9.94A.515 and 9.94A.515; adding a new section to chapter 9.61 RCW; prescribing penalties; providing an effective date; providing an expiration date; and declaring an emergency.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF WASHINGTON:

{+ NEW SECTION. +} Sec. 1. A new section is added to chapter 9.61 RCW to read as follows:
(1) A person is guilty of cyberstalking if he or she, with intent to harass, intimidate, torment, or embarrass any other person, and under circumstances not constituting telephone harassment, makes an electronic communication to such other person or a third party:
(a) Using any lewd, lascivious, indecent, or obscene words, images, or language, or suggesting the commission of any lewd or lascivious act;
(b) Anonymously or repeatedly whether or not conversation occurs; or
(c) Threatening to inflict injury on the person or property of the person called or any member of his or her family or household.

(2) Cyberstalking is a gross misdemeanor, except as provided in subsection (3) of this section.

(3) Cyberstalking is a class C felony if either of the following applies:
(a) The perpetrator has previously been convicted of the crime of harassment, as defined in RCW 9A.46.060, with the same victim or a member of the victim’s family or household or any person specifically named in a no-contact order or no-harassment order in this or any other state; or
(b) The perpetrator engages in the behavior prohibited under subsection (1)(c) of this section by threatening to kill the person threatened or any other person.

(4) Any offense committed under this section may be deemed to have been committed either at the place from which the communication was made or at the place where the communication was received.

(5) For purposes of this section, “electronic communication” means the transmission of information by wire, radio, optical cable, electromagnetic, or other similar means. “Electronic communication” includes, but is not limited to, electronic mail, internet based communications, pager service, and electronic text messaging.

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Vermont Cyberstalking Laws

Vermont Cyberstalking Laws

Sec. 2. 13 V.S.A. § 1027 Disturbing peace by use of telephone or other electronic communications

  1. A person who, with intent to terrify, intimidate, threaten, harass or annoy, makes contact by means of a telephonic or other electronic communication with another and
    1. makes any request, suggestion or proposal which is obscene, lewd, lascivious or indecent;
    2. threatens to inflict injury or physical harm to the person or property of any person; or
    3. disturbs, or attempts to disturb, by repeated anonymous telephone calls or other electronic communications, whether or not conversation ensues, the peace, quiet or right of privacy of any person at the place where the communication or communications are received

    shall be fined not more than $250.00 or be imprisoned not more than three months or both. If the defendant has previously been convicted of a violation of this section or of an offense under the laws of another state or of the United States which would have been an offense under this act if committed in this state, the defendant shall be fined not more than $500.00 or imprisoned for not more than six months, or both.

  2. An intent to terrify, threaten, harass or annoy may be inferred by the trier of fact from the use of obscene, lewd, lascivious or indecent language or the making of a threat or statement or repeated anonymous telephone calls or other electronic communications as set forth in this section and any trial court may in its discretion include a statement to this effect in its jury charge.
  3. An offense committed by use of a telephone or other electronic communication device as set forth in this section shall be considered to have been committed at either the place where the telephone call or calls originated or at the place where the communication or communications or calls were received. (Added 1967, No. 171, § 1; amended 1999, No. 124 (Adj. Sess.), § 2.)

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Utah Cyberstalking Laws

Utah Cyberstalking Laws

76-5-106.5. Stalking — Definitions — Injunction — Penalties.
(1) As used in this section:
(a) “Conviction” means:
(i) a verdict or conviction;
(ii) a plea of guilty or guilty and mentally ill;
(iii) a plea of no contest; or
(iv) the acceptance by the court of a plea in abeyance.
(b) “Course of conduct” means two or more acts directed at or toward a specific person, including:
(i) acts in which the actor follows, monitors, observes, photographs, surveils, threatens, or communicates to or about a person, or interferes with a person’s property:
(A) directly, indirectly, or through any third party; and
(B) by any action, method, device, or means; or
(ii) when the actor engages in any of the following acts or causes someone else to engage in any of these acts:
(A) approaches or confronts a person;
(B) appears at the person’s workplace or contacts the person’s employer or coworkers;
(C) appears at a person’s residence or contacts a person’s neighbors, or enters property owned, leased, or occupied by a person;
(D) sends material by any means to the person or for the purpose of obtaining or disseminating information about or communicating with the person to a member of the person’s family or household, employer, coworker, friend, or associate of the person;
(E) places an object on or delivers an object to property owned, leased, or occupied by a person, or to the person’s place of employment with the intent that the object be delivered to the person; or
(F) uses a computer, the Internet, text messaging, or any other electronic means to commit an act that is a part of the course of conduct.
(c) “Immediate family” means a spouse, parent, child, sibling, or any other person who regularly resides in the household or who regularly resided in the household within the prior six months.
(d) “Emotional distress” means significant mental or psychological suffering, whether or not medical or other professional treatment or counseling is required.
(e) “Reasonable person” means a reasonable person in the victim’s circumstances.
(f) “Stalking” means an offense as described in Subsection (2) or (3).
(g) “Text messaging” means a communication in the form of electronic text or one or more electronic images sent by the actor from a telephone or computer to another person’s telephone or computer by addressing the communication to the recipient’s telephone number.

Bill HB 150

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South Dakota Cyberstalknig Laws

South Dakota Cyberstalking Laws

22-19A-1. Stalking as a misdemeanor–Second offense a felony. No person may:

  1. Willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly follow or harass another person;
  2. Make a credible threat to another person with the intent to place that person in reasonable fear of death or great bodily injury; or
  3. Willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly harass another person by means of any verbal, electronic, digital media, mechanical, telegraphic, or written communication.

A violation of this section constitutes the crime of stalking. Stalking is a Class 1 misdemeanor. However, any second or subsequent conviction occurring within ten years of a prior conviction under this section is a Class 6 felony.

Source: SL 1992, ch 162, § 1; SL 1993, ch 176, § 1; SL 1997, ch 132, § 1; SL 2001, ch 112, § 1; SL 2002, ch 109, § 5; SL 2006, ch 120, § 1.

49-31-31. Threatening or harassing contacts by telephone or other electronic communication device as misdemeanor. It is a Class 1 misdemeanor for a person to use a telephone or other electronic communication device for any of the following purposes:

  1. To contact another person with intent to terrorize, intimidate, threaten, harass or annoy such person by using obscene or lewd language or by suggesting a lewd or lascivious act;
  2. To contact another person with intent to threaten to inflict physical harm or injury to any person or property;
  3. To contact another person with intent to extort money or other things of value;
  4. To contact another person with intent to disturb that person by repeated anonymous telephone calls or intentionally failing to replace the receiver or disengage the telephone connection.

It is a Class 1 misdemeanor for a person to knowingly permit a telephone or other electronic communication device under his or her control to be used for a purpose prohibited by this section.

Source: SL 1967, ch 30, § 1; SL 1983, ch 15, § 121; SL 2008, ch 240, § 1.

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Rhode Island Cyberstalking Law

Rhode Island Cyberstalking Law

11-52-4.2 Cyberstalking and cyberharassment prohibited. – (a) Whoever transmits any communication by computer or other electronic device to any person or causes any person to be contacted for the sole purpose of harassing that person or his or her family is guilty of a misdemeanor, and shall be punished by a fine of not more than five hundred dollars ($500), by imprisonment for not more than one year, or both. For the purpose of this section, “harassing” means any knowing and willful course of conduct directed at a specific person which seriously alarms, annoys, or bothers the person, and which serves no legitimate purpose. The course of conduct must be of a kind that would cause a reasonable person to suffer substantial emotional distress, or be in fear of bodily injury. “Course of conduct” means a pattern of conduct composed of a series of acts over a period of time, evidencing a continuity of purpose. Constitutionally protected activity is not included within the meaning of “course of conduct.”
(b) A second or subsequent conviction under subsection (a) of this section shall be deemed a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than two (2) years, by a fine of not more than six thousand dollars ($6,000), or both.

11-52-4.3 Violation of restraining order. – (a) Whenever there is a restraining order or injunction issued by a court of competent jurisdiction enjoining one person from harassing another person, and the person so enjoined is convicted of the crime as set forth in section 11-52-4.2 for actions against the person protected by the court order or injunction, he or she shall be guilty of a felony which shall be punishable by imprisonment for not more than two (2) years, or by a fine of not more than six thousand dollars ($6,000), or both.
(b) A second or subsequent conviction under subsection (a) of this section shall be punishable by imprisonment for not more than five (5) years, by a fine of not more than ten thousand dollars ($10,000), or both.

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North Carolina Cyberstalking Laws

North Carolina Cyberstalking Laws

S 14-196.3
Cyberstalking

  1. The following definitions apply in this section:
    1. Electronic communication. – Any transfer of signs, signals, writing, images, sounds, data, or intelligence of any nature, transmitted in whole or in part by a wire, radio, computer, electromagnetic, photoelectric, or photo-optical system.
    2. Electronic mail. – The transmission of information or communication by the use of the Internet, a computer, a facsimile machine, a pager, a cellular telephone, a video recorder, or other electronic means sent to a person identified by a unique address or address number and received by that person.
  2. It is unlawful for a person to:
    1. Use in electronic mail or electronic communication any words or language threatening to inflict bodily harm to any person or to that person’s child, sibling, spouse, or dependent, or physical injury to the property of any person, or for the purpose of extorting money or other things of value from any person.
    2. Electronically mail or electronically communicate to another repeatedly, whether or not conversation ensues, for the purpose of abusing, annoying, threatening, terrifying, harassing, or embarrassing any person.
    3. Electronically mail or electronically communicate to another and to knowingly make any false statement concerning death, injury, illness, disfigurement, indecent conduct, or criminal conduct of the person electronically mailed or of any member of the person’s family or household with the intent to abuse, annoy, threaten, terrify, harass, or embarrass.
    4. Knowingly permit an electronic communication device under the person’s control to be used for any purpose prohibited by this section.
  3. Any offense under this section committed by the use of electronic mail or electronic communication may be deemed to have been committed where the electronic mail or electronic communication was originally sent, originally received in this State, or first viewed by any person in this State.
  4. Any person violating the provisions of this section shall be guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor.
  5. This section does not apply to any peaceable, nonviolent, or nonthreatening activity intended to express political views or to provide lawful information to others. This section shall not be construed to impair any constitutionally protected activity, including speech, protest, or assembly. (2000-125, s. 1; 2000-140, s. 91.)

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New Hampshire Cyberstalking Laws

New Hampshire Cyberstalking Laws

644:4 Harassment. -

  1. A person is guilty of a misdemeanor, and subject to prosecution in the jurisdiction where the communication originated or was received, if such person:
    1. Makes a telephone call, whether or not a conversation ensues, with no legitimate communicative purpose or without disclosing his or her identity and with a purpose to annoy, abuse, threaten, or alarm another; or
    2. Makes repeated communications at extremely inconvenient hours or in offensively coarse language with a purpose to annoy or alarm another; or
    3. Insults, taunts, or challenges another in a manner likely to provoke a violent or disorderly response; or
    4. Knowingly communicates any matter of a character tending to incite murder, assault, or arson; or
    5. With the purpose to annoy or alarm another, communicates any matter containing any threat to kidnap any person or to commit a violation of RSA 633:4; or a threat to the life or safety of another; or
    6. With the purpose to annoy or alarm another, having been previously notified that the recipient does not desire further communication, communicates with such person, when the communication is not for a lawful purpose or constitutionally protected.
  2. As used in paragraph I, “communicates” means to impart a message by any method of transmission, including but not limited to telephoning or personally delivering or sending or having delivered any information or material by written or printed note or letter, package, mail, courier service or electronic transmission, including electronic transmissions generated or communicated via a computer. For purposes of this section, “computer” means a programmable, electronic device capable of accepting and processing data.
  3. In any complaint or information brought for the enforcement of RSA 644:4, I(f), it shall not be necessary for the state to negate any exception, excuse, proviso, or exemption contained therein and the burden of proof of any exception, excuse, proviso, or exemption shall be upon the defendant.

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Montana Cyberstalking Laws

Montana Cyberstalking Laws

45-8-213. Privacy in communications. (1) “Except as provided in 69-6-104, a person commits the offense of violating privacy in communications if the person knowingly or purpose”
(a) “with the purpose to terrify, intimidate, threaten, harass, annoy, or offend, communicates with a person by telephone or electronic mail and uses obscene, lewd, or profane language, suggests a lewd or lascivious act, or threatens to inflict injury or physical harm to the person or property of the person. The use of obscene, lewd, or profane language or the making of a threat or lewd or lascivious suggestions is prima facie evidence of an intent to terrify, intimidate, threaten, harass, annoy, or offend.”

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Mississippi Cyberstalking Laws

Mississippi Cyberstalking Law

§ 97-45-15. “Cyberstalking”; penalties.

(1) It is unlawful for a person to:

(a) Use in electronic mail or electronic communication any words or language threatening to inflict bodily harm to any person or to that person’s child, sibling, spouse or dependent, or physical injury to the property of any person, or for the purpose of extorting money or other things of value from any person.

(b) Electronically mail or electronically communicate to another repeatedly, whether or not conversation ensues, for the purpose of threatening, terrifying or harassing any person.

(c) Electronically mail or electronically communicate to another and to knowingly make any false statement concerning death, injury, illness, disfigurement, indecent conduct, or criminal conduct of the person electronically mailed or of any member of the person’s family or household with the intent to threaten, terrify or harass.

(d) Knowingly permit an electronic communication device under the person’s control to be used for any purpose prohibited by this section.

(2) Whoever commits the offense of cyberstalking shall be punished, upon conviction:

(a) Except as provided herein, the person is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than two (2) years or a fine of not more than Five Thousand Dollars ($5,000.00), or both.

(b) If any of the following apply, the person is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than five (5) years or a fine of not more than Ten Thousand Dollars ($10,000.00), or both:

(i) The offense is in violation of a restraining order and the person has received actual notice of that restraining order or posting the message is in violation of an injunction or preliminary injunction.

(ii) The offense is in violation of a condition of probation, a condition of parole, a condition of pretrial release or a condition of release on bond pending appeal.

(iii) The offense results in a credible threat being communicated to the victim, a member of the victim’s family, or another individual living in the same household as the victim.

(iv) The person has been previously convicted of violating this section or a substantially similar law of another state, a political subdivision of another state, or of the United States.

(3) This section does not apply to any peaceable, nonviolent, or nonthreatening activity intended to express political views or to provide lawful information to others. This section shall not be construed to impair any constitutionally protected activity, including speech, protest or assembly.

Sources: Laws, 2003, ch. 562, § 6, eff from and after July 1, 2003.

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Minnesota Cyberstalking Laws

Minnesota Cyberstalking Laws

609.749 Harassment; stalking; penalties.

Subdivision 1. Definition. As used in this section, “harass” means to engage in intentional conduct which:

  1. the actor knows or has reason to know would cause the victim under the circumstances to feel frightened, threatened, oppressed, persecuted, or intimidated; and
  2. causes this reaction on the part of the victim.

Subd. 1a. No proof of specific intent required. In a prosecution under this section, the state is not required to prove that the actor intended to cause the victim to feel frightened, threatened, oppressed, persecuted, or intimidated, or except as otherwise provided in subdivision 3, clause (4), that the actor intended to cause any other result.

Subd. 2. Harassment and stalking crimes.

  1. A person who harasses another by committing any of the following acts is guilty of a gross misdemeanor:
    1. directly or indirectly manifests a purpose or intent to injure the person, property, or rights of another by the commission of an unlawful act;
    2. stalks, follows, or pursues another;
    3. returns to the property of another if the actor is without claim of right to the property or consent of one with authority to consent;
    4. repeatedly makes telephone calls, or induces a victim to make telephone calls to the actor, whether or not conversation ensues;
    5. makes or causes the telephone of another repeatedly or continuously to ring;
    6. repeatedly mails or delivers or causes the delivery by any means, including electronically, of letters, telegrams, messages, packages, or other objects; or
    7. knowingly makes false allegations against a peace officer concerning the officer’s performance of official duties with intent to influence or tamper with the officer’s performance of official duties.
  2. The conduct described in paragraph (a), clauses (4) and (5), may be prosecuted at the place where any call is either made or received. The conduct described in paragraph (a), clause (6), may be prosecuted where any letter, telegram, message, package, or other object is either sent or received.
  3. A peace officer may not make a warrantless, custodial arrest of any person for a violation of paragraph (a), clause (7).

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