Unfortunately, bullying has become commonplace for most children – and even some adults. But if that isn’t bad enough, the advent of new technology and an ever-changing online landscape, cyberbullying has also continued to see an increase.
What is cyberbullying?
In the state of Arizona, both bullying and cyberbullying are referred to as harassment and threatening or intimidating another person. The state defines harassment as any conduct that is directed at a specific person, which would cause a reasonable individual to be “seriously alarmed, annoyed, or harassed,” and it does, in fact, have that effect on that person.
Cyberbullying is any bullying that occurs through digital devices including tablets, cell phones, and computers. Cyberbullying can occur in many places, such as over:
- Text Messages
- Instant Messages
- Social Media
Requirements for Harassment
In Arizona, a person is guilty of the misdemeanor of harassment by:
- Communicating with someone else in a manner that is harassing by verbal, electronic, or written means
- Following another person in a public place after being asked to stop
- Repeatedly committing acts that harass another person
- Engaging in the surveillance of someone else for no legitimate reason
- Making a false report about another person to a credit, social services, or law enforcement agency
- Interfering with the delivery of any regulated or public utility to another person
Requirements of Threatening or Intimidating Another
In Arizona, a person is guilty of the misdemeanor of threatening or intimidating another by utilizing language or conduct that conveys a threat to:
- Cause, or act with reckless disregard to causing, a serious public inconvenience, or
- Cause physical injury or damage to another person or their property
Penalties for Cyberbullying in AZ
In the state of Arizona, someone who is convicted of any time of bullying receives a penalty based upon the specific degree of the offense charged. For misdemeanor harassment, the penalty is a maximum of six months in jail, a fine of $2,500, or both. For misdemeanor threatening or intimidating conduct, the penalty is the same.
Arizona law requires that schools enact and enforce policies and procedures that prevent students from the intimidation, harassment, or bullying of other students, including through the use of electronic technology.
Blischak Law Helps Those in Arizona Who Have Been Charged with the Crime of Cyberbullying
If you or a loved one has been accused of cyberbullying, it should not be taken lightly. Even a misdemeanor can have a profound impact on many aspects of your life.
The experienced Criminal Defense team at Blischak Law helps those in Arizona who have been accused of a crime such as cyberbullying. We understand what is at stake and always have your best interest in mind. To learn more about cyberbullying or to schedule a free consultation, contact us today!