Cyberstalking May Lead to Criminal Charges
Assault and battery are commonly misconstrued and incorrectly linked together as the same. A battery charge is a physical act of harming another individual. Assault is a verbal or other communication that leads a reasonable person to believe that battery may occur. Both of these charges have been in existence for years, however. With the emergence of the Internet and the advancements of social media, threatening behavior has a new outlet. This year, new laws make cyberstalking more than just annoying, it may be deemed and punished as a hate crime under the right circumstances.
Cyberstalking as a Hate Crime
The definition of cyberstalking is threatening behavior or unwanted advancements directed at someone else by using the Internet or other forms of online communications. It is deliberate, persistent, and personal.
In general, if the behavior becomes threatening enough to another person, cyberstalking charges may ensue which are punishable as a class 4 felony. The charges escalate to a hate crime if any of the following actual or perceived factors come into play:
- Sexual orientation;
- Physical or mental disability; or
- National origin.
Hate Crime Punishments
This behavior became a primary public concern when the targets became not just an individual but an entire community or group of people—an entire race, for example. The new laws that went into effect now protect victims from intimidation, stalking, cyberbullying, and the transmission of obscene private messages. If these behaviors occur because of one of the factors mentioned earlier, hate crime charges are possible in addition to the underlying charge. For example, a person may face cyberstalking, assault, and hate crime charges if he or she bullied a victim online and followed that person around the school in a threatening manner because of his or her sexual orientation. The new laws indicate that a judge may also demand payment of a $25,000 civil penalty for each violation of hate crime law.
More Than Legal Help
If you face hate crime charges for cyberstalking, you will want to seek immediate legal help. Hate crimes have the potential of altering the course of someone’s life. The social stigma can affect job opportunities, marriages, friendships and may even put the accused on the opposite end of social media bullying. Having the right DuPage County, IL criminal defense attorney can mitigate some of the repercussions before they get out of hand.
Davi Law Group, LLC is happy to help guide you through this unfortunate situation utilizing our skill, knowledge, and experience to help deliver you the best possible outcome. Call us today at 630-657-5052 to schedule your consultation at one of our convenient offices.