If you have been accused of online stalking, you might not be sure what the next step is. Do you contact the police? Do you contact a lawyer? How do you defend yourself? While this experience might seem overwhelming, you don’t have to go through it alone. Review this information about online stalking as your first step to defending yourself.
Online stalking, or “cyberstalking” is a crime in the state of Connecticut. Cyberstalking gets defined as using the Internet to threaten, harass, or intimidate someone else. The victim of cyberstalking fears that he or she will experience injury or be the victim of an illegal act, or that his or her family will be the victim of such act.
Cyberstalking Prevention and Tracking
The following federal laws have been created in order to prevent and track cyberstalking:
- The Interstate Communications Act.
- The Interstate Stalking and Prevention Act.
- The Telephone Harassment Act.
- The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).
Types of Cyberstalking
There are two types of cyberstalking recognized by the state of Connecticut. These are:
- 1st degree cyberstalking. A person is guilty of cyberstalking in the first degree if he or she intends to alarm, harass, annoy, terrorize, or threaten to kill/physically injure someone over the Internet. Also, the punishments for this crime include a 1-5 year prison sentence and a fine of as much as $5,000.
- 2nd degree cyberstalking. A person is guilty of this crime if he or she harasses, alarms, or annoys anyone through the Internet. Also, the punishments for this crime include a fine of up to $500 and up to three months in prison.
Forms of Harassment Online
There are many different forms of online harassment, but some of the most common forms include:
- Posting slanderous lies about someone online through social media, a blog, a chat room, etc.
- Threatening someone online.
- Stalking someone through the use of email, social network sites, or other internet means.
- Bullying someone through cyberbullying.
Cyberbullying is a particularly common form of online harassment. It is oftentimes committed by teenagers in school. Cyberbullying or any other form of online harassment might occur through social media, direct messaging, text messaging, or other communication apps.
Even teenagers can face penalties for cyberbullying. They will likely face issues with their school as well as issues with the law. You can learn more about penalties for online harassment below.
Harassment charges can range from a misdemeanor to a Class D felony. The penalties for these types of crimes include:
- Jail time.
- Prison sentence.
- Community service.
- Anger management or behavioral classes.
These are some of the most common penalties that you might face for online harassment.
As you can see, cyberstalking has serious consequences in the state of Connecticut. For this reason, if you have been accused of online stalking, you should contact a criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. Working with an attorney will be your best opportunity to reduce your penalties or prove your innocence. For more information, you can schedule a free consultation with one of our criminal defense attorneys.