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.