There’s no doubt that our society has been forever changed by technology. From buying groceries and clothes, to paying bills and doing your banking, just about anything and everything that needs to be done can be executed online. But while the ever-changing technological landscape has done a lot of good, one other thing can also be done using the internet: stalking.
Stalking someone using technology is referred to as “cyberstalking.” Technology that may be used to cyberstalk another person includes:
- Smartphones/other mobile devices
- GPS devices
- Phone calls
- Social media messages
- Hacking into a victim’s online account(s)
Stalking is done in order to threaten, harass, or humiliate another person in order to control or intimidate them. When someone cyberstalks another person, they often use persistent and strategic types of online abuse. Cyberstalkers don’t always have to be individuals whom you know; sometimes they can be casual acquaintances or even complete strangers. Often cyberstalkers include former significant others.
Stalking in North Carolina
Under North Carolina state law, stalking occurs when an individual willfully harasses another person on more than two occasions without legal reason, and either:
- Causes that individual to fear for themselves, a family member, or another person to whom they are close; or
- Causes that individual extreme fear of bodily injury, death, or persistent and recurrent harassment.
The law does not require that the victim believes the stalker’s threats, or that a “reasonable person” would believe them.
North Carolina General Statute 14-196.3 states that is “illegal to electronically communicate language threatening to damage property or injure another person, or the person’s relative or dependent, with the intent of abusing, harassing, embarrassing, or extorting money or things of value.”
In North Carolina, cyberstalking is a Class 2 misdemeanor. If you are convicted of cyberstalking you may face 60 days in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. However, the length of jail time depends upon your prior record:
- No prior conviction: 1-30 days imprisonment;
- 1-4 prior convictions: 1-45 days imprisonment; and
- 5 or more prior convictions: 1-60 days imprisonment.
Hancock Law Firm, PLLC Helps Those in North Carolina Who Have Been Charged with Cyberstalking
A cyberstalking conviction can have a very long-lasting impact on your life. Not only can it affect your ability to obtain or keep certain jobs, but also it can have a permanent impact on your reputation. That’s why it is in your best interest to consult with a knowledgeable and experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
At Hancock Law Firm, PLLC, we fully understand what is at stake and will do everything that we can to help you fight these charges and obtain the best possible outcome for you. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation, contact us today!