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Charged With Cyberstalking?

by Shelby Wall

Cyber Crime in California

Cyberstalking is more than online bullying. It causes a person to fear for their safety. California designed a stringent set of electronic stalking laws to protect people when their aggressors cross the line between bullying and criminal conduct. However, sometimes individuals file such charges unjustly. If someone has accused you of cyberstalking in Orange County, CA, familiarize yourself with the local statutes, potential defenses, and qualified defense lawyers who can help.

California Cyberstalking Laws

California has multiple laws related to cyberstalking. The first statute is known as indirect cyber-harassment. The second is direct electronic harassment or cyberstalking. These laws are categorized with general stalking but involve electronic communication, including:

  • Social media
  • Phone calls
  • Email
  • Texts

Cyber attacks are carried out in various ways, including:

  • Impersonating the victim online to damage their reputation
  • Sharing personal information
  • Threatening an ex
  • Identity theft
  • Revenge pornography

Penalties for cyberstalking can vary based on the details of your case. California often charges first offenses as misdemeanors punishable by up to a year in jail or a $1,000 fine. However, if the details of your crime are severe, you could be charged with a felony. Cyberstalking felonies are punishable by up to five years of imprisonment. In some cases, the state may also charge you with a sex crime resulting in registering as a sex offender.

Potential Defenses to California Cyberstalking Charges

For an Orange County court to convict you of cyberstalking, your accuser must prove the following:

  • You willfully harassed the accuser.
  • You maliciously harassed the accuser.
  • You made a credible threat intended to cause your accuser to fear for their or their family’s safety.

They must prove each of these elements to convict you under California’s cyberstalking law. The court will not convict you if your accuser cannot prove all three elements successfully.

For example, if you accidentally messaged the wrong person with an inside joke taken out of context, you did not willfully harass your accuser. Likewise, you did so without malice. 

In another example, if you angrily threatened to crash a satellite into your accuser’s house, the court is unlikely to find that statement credible. Therefore, the court would not convict you.

These are not the only defenses. Your defense lawyer may argue that you are not the cyberstalker at all. Even if your IP address matches that of the cyberstalker, it is possible that someone else was using your device or the address itself.

Contact a Cyberstalking Defense Lawyer

If someone has accused you of an online crime in Orange County, it is essential to retain an experienced cyberstalking lawyer before you speak with prosecutors or police. Attorney Ronald G. Brower can listen to your story, answer your questions, and devise a skillful defense to prove your innocence. 

When someone levies a serious charge such as cyberstalking against you, it is crucial to fight these charges aggressively. Losing this type of legal case could have an extreme impact on your reputation and your future. It pays to hire the right California defense lawyer for this critical job. Contact us today to arrange your consultation.