Rhode Island Cyberstalking and Cyberharassment Lawyer
Technology has unquestionably changed our daily lives. It has also changed the criminal law in Rhode Island. One of the more frequent criminal charges in Rhode Island district court is cyberstalking and cyberharassment (RIGL § 11-52-4.2). The law criminalizes the transmission of electronic communication (phone call, text, email, tweet, etc.) for the sole purpose of harassing the victim or his/her family. Rhode Island's cyberstalking and cyberharassment law says:
RIGL § 11-52-4.2 – Cyberstalking and cyberharassment prohibited. –
(a) Whoever transmits any communication by computer or other electronic device to any person or causes any person to be contacted for the sole purpose of harassing that person or his or her family is guilty of a misdemeanor, and shall be punished by a fine of not more than five hundred dollars ($500), by imprisonment for not more than one year, or both. For the purpose of this section, "harassing" means any knowing and willful course of conduct directed at a specific person which seriously alarms, annoys, or bothers the person, and which serves no legitimate purpose. The course of conduct must be of a kind that would cause a reasonable person to suffer substantial emotional distress, or be in fear of bodily injury. "Course of conduct" means a pattern of conduct composed of a series of acts over a period of time, evidencing a continuity of purpose. Constitutionally protected activity is not included within the meaning of "course of conduct."
(b) A second or subsequent conviction under subsection (a) of this section shall be deemed a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than two (2) years, by a fine of not more than six thousand dollars ($6,000), or both.
The crime is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in prison and/or a $500 fine. Often, this charge is categorized as "domestic" when the victim is a family or household member with the defendant. RIGL § 12-29-2. The addition of the domestic component often makes prosecutors and judges handle these cases much more seriously given the likelihood of crimes reoccurring in domestic situations.
In practice, it's quite difficult for the prosecution to prove a cyberstalking or cyberharassment charge against a defendant represented by experienced counsel. There are various evidentiary hurdles the prosecution must overcome – after they've first been raised in your defense by your experienced attorney – to prove the case. Our attorneys will closely evaluate the charges against you, raise legal defenses on your behalf, and protect your rights.
In the past, the RI attorneys at Robert E. Craven & Associates have been very successful in defending our clients against cyberstalking and cyberharassment charges.
If you've been charged with cyberstalking or cyberharassment in Rhode Island, call our experienced criminal defense attorneys today. We're happy to meet with you for a free case evaluation appointment.