Los Angeles Cyberbullying Defense Attorney
Cyberbullying & Internet Crime Charges
With widespread access to the internet in schools, homes, libraries and
a variety of public areas, children and teenagers have taken to bullying
their peers through cyberspace. Cyberbullying involves one minor using
the internet or another form of electronic communication to threaten,
harass, humiliate or torment another.
Cyberbullying has gained much media attention in recent years with such
tragic cases as the deaths of Phoebe Prince, Tyler Clementi, Megan Meier,
Seth Walsh, Ryan Halligan and other teenagers who were driven to suicide.
These stories shed new light on the severe psychological damage cyberbullying
can have on an adolescent and legislators have taken actions in an effort
to prevent such occurrences.
Some common forms of cyberbullying include:
- Sending threatening or degrading emails, instant messages or social media posts;
- Deceiving the victim into sharing personal or embarrassing information;
- Making the victim's personal or information public at school or online;
- Breaking into the victim's email or other online accounts to steal
or find out information;
- Impersonating the victim online by creating fake social networking profiles
including embarrassing information about the victim and encouraging others
to post mean messages;
- Breaking into the victim's account to send mean messages to others;
- Creating hurtful websites, groups, or posts about the victim; and
- Anonymously posting false information in online forums to spread rumors
about the victim.
Is cyberbullying legally considered a crime?
Many children and parents alike believe that bullying is a normal part
of growing up and do not take such actions seriously. It is important
to understand, however, that cyberbullying can lead to criminal charges
in some situations. In the state of California, under Penal Code §528.5,
it is a crime to knowingly impersonate another person on the internet
without their consent in order to intimidate, threaten, harm, or defraud.
Similarly, Penal Code §653.2(a) makes it a misdemeanor to intentionally
place a victim in fear for their safety through the use of electronic
communication which causes the victim to be subjected to unwanted physical
contact, harassment, or injury, as well as to spread or share personal
information about them. Conviction for these crimes can result in imprisonment
in a county jail for up to one year and/or a fine of up to $1000.
Cyberbullying can also lead to charges for such crimes as:
Stalking: Threatening or harassing another to the point that the victim is fearful
for their safety.
Harassment: Generally this involves the defendant threatening and harassing the victim
through blog entries, social media posts, emails, and instant messages
that are meant solely to torment.
Criminal Threat: Threatening to physically harm or kill someone that reasonably places
the victim in fear, and the threat is specific and direct.
Fight the Prosecution – Contact Okabe & Haushalter
The many stories of students who took their own lives as a result of online
bullying has caused law enforcement agencies and prosecutors to be overzealous
in their treatment of minors who taunted peers online. The public nature
of these cases often leads District Attorneys to charge children with
criminal offenses for picking on a classmate, which is why you must be
sure your child's rights and interests are protected if they have
been accused of cyberbullying.
Our team at Okabe & Haushalter has defended countless clients against
charges of internet crimes and we are prepared to fight for your family.
You need a determined attorney who will provide you with a powerful voice
before the court and the aggressive advocacy needed to challenge these
unfounded charges. Choose a criminal defense team that will fight for
call our firm today!