Cyber Stalking becomes Cyber Harassment and a Felony!

The Washington State Legislature made some changes to the cyber stalking law by renaming the crime Cyber Harassment and increasing the penalties. According the criminal defense attorneys with Althauser Rayan Abbarno, Cyber Harassment has serious consequences for both victim and the accused.

According to the new crime of Cyber Harassment found in SB 5628, a person is guilty of the crime of Cyber harassment if the person, with the intent to harass or intimidate another, makes an electronic communication to that person, or any other person, and the communication:

  • Uses lewd, lascivious, indecent, or obscene words, images, or language, or suggesting the commission of any lewd or lascivious act;
  • Is made anonymously or repeatedly;
  • contains a threat to inflict bodily injury immediately or in the future on the person threatened or to any other person; or
  • contains a threat to damage, immediately or in the future, the property of the person threatened or of any other person.

The communication of a threat must be such that would cause a reasonable person, with knowledge of the sender’s history, to suffer emotional distress or to fear for the safety of the person threatened, or such that the communication reasonably caused the threatened person to suffer emotional distress or fear for the threatened person’s safety.

In addition to the current factors that raise this crime from a gross misdemeanor to a class C felony, five (5) additional factors raise the crime to a class C felony; including the person has previously been convicted in this or any other state of any crime of harassment of the same victim, members of the victim’s family or household, or any person specifically named in a no-harassment order.

The attorneys with Althauser Rayan Abbarno explain that Cyberstalking remains a gross misdemeanor crime with new standards. If without lawful authority and under circumstances not amounting to a felony attempt of another crime, the person knowingly and without consent installs or monitors an electronic tracking device with the intent to track the location of another person or installs or causes an electronic tracking device to be installed, placed, or used with the intent to track the location of another person and:

  • The person knows or reasonably should know that knowledge of the installation or monitoring of the tracking device would cause the other person reasonable fear;
  • The person has noticed the other person does not want to be contacted or monitored by
  • them; or
  • The other person has a protective order in effect protecting them from the person.

There are also five (5) factors of Cyberstalking that could raise the penalties from a gross misdemeanor to a felony; including the fact that here is a protective order in effect protecting the person being stalked from contact with the perpetrator.

The new Cyber Harassment law and revised Cyberstalking law are complicated. For a FREE Consultation in Centralia or Olympia with our criminal defense attorneys with Althauser Rayan Abbarno, call (360) 7367-1301 or visit CentraliaLaw.com.