It’s okay if you get into the occasional flame war on Twitter or Reddit. However, if you let your passions get the better of you, you run the risk of getting charged with cyberbullying. New Jersey defines cyberbullying (sometimes called cyber harassment) as any online communication that intentionally harasses or threatens another person.
Cyberbullying is a serious crime with serious consequences and, as of December 5, 2016, the charge is grounds for a restraining order in New Jersey. In addition, what many do not realize is that actions that are considered cyberbullying can often result in additional charges.
For example, New Jersey defines stalking as any intentional behavior that would cause a reasonable person to fear harm or death, which overlaps easily with the cyberbullying definition of intentionally threatening another person. Stalking is a fourth-degree crime and a conviction can lead to up to 18 months in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. A second stalking conviction against the same person is a third-degree crime and carries three to five years in prison and up to $15,000 in fines.
In addition, while it may seem shocking, you could also get charged with terrorism in the act of committing cyberbullying. New Jersey defines terrorism as any threat or action intended to inflict terror on another. This could theoretically include something as simple as threatening to hit someone with a baseball bat, especially since terrorism does not need to have a religious or political element. Terrorism is a third-degree crime and can result in three to five years in prison and up to $15,000 in fines.
These consequences would be in addition to any penalties for a cyberbullying conviction. Cyberbullying can be charged as a fourth-degree crime, which carries up to 18 months in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. However, under certain circumstances, such as when a person over the age of 21 poses as a minor in order to harass a minor, it can be charged as a third-degree crime. In that case, a conviction means three to five years in prison and up to $15,000 in fines.
If you or a loved one has been charged with cyberbullying, stalking, or violating a restraining order, contact an attorney who can fight for your rights and help minimize the consequences. The lawyers of the Rosenblum Law Firm are prominent criminal defense attorneys are prominent criminal with experience helping people in similar situations. Email the Rosenblum Law Firm or call 888-815-3649 for a free consultation about your case today.