With today’s technology, bullying has unfortunately become increasingly popular on social media platforms. The smallest social media post can leave its permanent footprint on the Internet and easily spin into a situation of cyberbullying. Follow along to find out whether cyberbullying is considered a crime and how one of the experienced New Jersey & Pennsylvania criminal defense lawyers at The Vigilante Law Firm, P.C. can come to your aid.
By definition, what is cyberbullying?
According to New Jersey law, cyberbullying is considered any type of communication that takes place in an online setting (i.e., through an electronic device or on a social site) that is intended to harass another party. Specific examples of this are as follows:
- An individual posts, comments, or messages another person with the intention of emotionally harming them.
- An individual posts, comments, or messages another person with the intention of placing them in fear of physical harm.
- An individual posts, comments, or messages another person with a threat to commit a crime against them.
- An individual posts, comments, or messages another person with a threat to steal or vandalize their personal property.
Is cyberbullying considered a crime in the state of New Jersey?
You must understand that the state of New Jersey takes the matter of cyberbullying seriously. Therefore, it is taken as a fourth-degree crime or a third-degree crime. This may come with a series of consequences, depending on the circumstances surrounding the cyberbullying.
For example, if an adult of 16 years of age or older is accused of cyberbullying, they may be charged with a fourth-degree crime. This may come with a prison sentence of up to 18 months, along with a fine of up to 10,000. On the other hand, if a minor who is under the age of 16 is accused of cyberbullying, then they may be ordered to complete a class or training program alongside their parent or legal guardian. Such programs may be centered around the dangers that come with bullying.
More seriously, say for instance that an adult of 21 years of age or older is impersonating a minor all while having the intention of cyberbullying an actual minor. In this case, the state of New Jersey may charge them with a third-degree crime. This may result in a prison sentence of anywhere between three to five years and a fine of up to $15,000.
This does not even mention that certain actions associated with cyberbullying may go against federal cyberstalking laws. This may be taken as a felony and therefore comes with even more serious consequences. With that, it should go without saying that you must consult with one of the experienced New Jersey criminal defense lawyers immediately. Give us a call whenever you can.