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Posted on April 12, 2016 in Crime

Cyberstalking: Stalking by Texting

In the Digital Age, it has become increasingly easy to get caught up in cyber communication and say or do things people wouldn’t normally do in face-to-face interactions. People feel invigorated by anonymity and the ability to contact someone at any hour of the day and often don’t realize that cyberstalking is a real crime, with real consequences.

What Constitutes Cyberstalking?

The use of technology in any capacity – email, texting, chatrooms, instant messaging – to harass someone qualifies as cyberstalking in a court of law. Common cyberstalking cases include using technology for identity fraud, making threats, and data destruction or manipulation. What many people don’t understand is that cyberstalking doesn’t have to take the form of obvious harassment or illegal activity.

Cyberstalking encompasses anything that’s unwanted. Obsessive texting, inappropriate texting, and continuing to text someone after they’ve made it clear they don’t want to be contacted are all considered cyberstalking. Keep in mind that text messages are available to someone who wants to access them, even if they’ve been deleted. In this way, evidence of cyberstalking is usually readily available to officials.

Anyone can be accused of cyberstalking, whether it’s a complete stranger, a friend, or even a relative. If someone is using text messaging to spy on you, gain information about your activities, stalk your whereabouts, or find out about your family, it can be considered cyberstalking, no matter what your relationship with the person is.

The Dangers of Over-Texting

Cyberstalking can be terribly frightening and lead to the destruction of self-confidence, self-image, and personal safety. Not only does it take a mental toll on the victim, but it can also result in real-life dangers. Recently, three people were sentenced to life in prison after four years of cyberstalking to intimidate and harass a relative led to the murder of two women. It was a groundbreaking case for prosecution against cyberstalking – the first of its kind.

The laws in Arizona say communicating with a person with the knowledge that the person is being harassed is a Class 1 misdemeanor with penalties of up to six months in a jail and a $2,500 fine. Intentionally engaging in conduct that can cause a person to fear for his or her safety or the safety of family is a Class 5 felony and is punishable with up to nine months in jail and a $150,000 fine.

In a civil court, you can be sued for damages, including pain and suffering caused by the over-texting. On top of that, you may be liable for damages by the company that provided your cellphone service while you were cyberstalking. If you do it from a work or school device, you could be fired and/or expelled.

Cyberstalking by over-texting can escalate quickly and become a much larger issue than either party may initially realize. These situations are incredibly serious, and the related dangers should not be underestimated.

Report It

If you’re a victim of cyberstalking or have been harassed through over-texting, report it to the police. Many police departments in Arizona have cybercrime units that are entirely dedicated to stopping this kind of activity and help people in your situation. Get legal help if you plan on taking the perpetrator to court. If you’re in fear for your life or the lives of your family, call the police immediately.

For experts in Arizona law, contact the Phoenix defense attorneys at Orent Law Offices. We have experience in handling situations of cybercrime, including juvenile crimes and cases of identity theft. Over-texting, harassment through text messaging, and obsessive texting should not be written off as a petty annoyance. There are serious consequences, and you deserve defense in a court of law. Orent Law Offices can help you regain your sense of self and demand compensation for your suffering.