Cyberbullying is a form of bullying that occurs through electronic communications where an individual demeans, harasses, threatens, embarrasses, or otherwise targets another person to inflict harm. Cyberbullying often has lasting impacts that cause serious emotional trauma such as anxiety, depression, and other stress-related conditions. That being said many wonder whether cyberbullying is considered a crime in New York. Keep reading to learn whether New York has criminal statutes devoted to cyberbullying and discover how our skilled Nassau County Criminal Defense Attorneys can protect your rights.
What are cyberbullying laws in New York?
In New York, there is no criminal statute for cyberbullying. That being said New York punishes cyberbullying under its criminal harassment and stalking laws. Therefore, cyberbullying can only be prosecuted if it involves harassment or stalking.
If your actions were made to seriously annoy a victim, but you did not place the victim in fear of actual harm, your harassment crime will be considered a violation. Harassment violations for cyberbullying are punishable by a $250 fine and up to 15 days in jail. However, if your actions made a victim reasonably fear for their safety, the crime will be classified as harassment in the first degree. This is a class B misdemeanor. Class B misdemeanors are punishable by a $500 fine and up to 90 days in jail. It is imperative to note that harassment crimes for cyberbullying can increase in severity if aggravating factors are present. This includes whether you have prior convictions. For example, if you used any form of electronic communication to threaten harm to another person or their family it can escalate the charge to harassment in the second degree. This would then be classified as a class A misdemeanor. This crime is punishable by a fine of $1,000 and up to 364 days in jail. First-degree aggravated harassment is considered a class E felony which is punishable by a $5,000 fine and up to four years of jail.
If your actions involve a persistent and unwanted pursuit of an individual through any form of electronic communications you will face stalking charges which are punishable by hefty fines and up to 90 days in jail as it is considered a class B misdemeanor. If you are a repeat offender or intended to make a victim reasonably fear for their safety you will be charged with a class A misdemeanor which is punishable by fines and up to 364 days in jail. If you were charged with stalking in the second degree for cyberbullying and you threatened to use a weapon against a victim younger than 14 and you are above the age of 21 you will be looking at a class E felony which is punishable by imprisonment for up to four years. If a victim was intentionally injured you will be charged with stalking in the first-degree which is a class D felony. As you can see, depending on the circumstances of the crime, you can be charged with harassment or stalking for cyberbullying. Both carry harsh penalties that will negatively affect your life.
When charged with cyberbullying, you may feel all hope is lost. However, our determined and trusted team members are prepared to work tirelessly to defend your rights and explore all available defenses to prevent strict penalties. Contact us today so we can represent your interests in court today.