Cyberstalking and Cyberharassment Laws – United States of America

State Cyberstalking and Cyberharassment Laws

Overview | State Statutes | Cyberbullying


Last update: Dec. 5, 2013

PLEASE NOTE: NCSL cannot provide assistance with individual cases. NCSL serves state legislators and their staff. This site provides comparative information only and should not be construed as legal advice. 

For information about how to deal with cyberstalking or online harassment, visit OnGuardOnline or follow these guidelines.

Overview

 States have enacted “cyberstalking” or “cyberharassment” laws or have laws that explicitly include electronic forms of communication within more traditional stalking or harassment laws. In addition, recent concerns about protecting minors from online bullying or harassment have led states to enact “cyberbullying” laws. This chart identifies state laws that include specific references to electronic communication. However, other state laws may still apply to those who harass, threaten or bully others online, although specific language may make the laws easier to enforce. This chart classifies the various state laws addressing these three different types of online behaviors, as described below.

Cyberstalking.  Cyberstalking is the use of the Internet, email or other electronic communications to stalk, and generally refers to a pattern of threatening or malicious behaviors. Cyberstalking may be considered the most dangerous of the three types of Internet harassment, based on a posing credible threat of harm. Sanctions range from misdemeanors to felonies.

Cyberharassment. Cyberharassment differs from cyberstalking in that it may generally be defined as not involving a credible threat. Cyberharassment usually pertains to threatening or harassing email messages, instant messages, or to blog entries or websites dedicated solely to tormenting an individual. Some states approach cyberharrassment by including language addressing electronic communications in general harassment statutes, while others have created stand-alone cyberharassment statutes.

* Note: This chart does not cover cyberbullying laws. Cyberbullying and cyberharassment are sometimes used interchangeably, but cyberbullying generally refers to electronic harassment or bullying among minors within a school context. See the NCSL’s Education Program’s cyberbullying page for more information on cyberbullyings laws and legislation.

See also:  State laws related to electronic solicitation or luring of childrenInternet filtering laws–schools and libraries, and NCSL LegisBrief: Protecting Children Online.

State/Territory Cyberstalking Cyberharassment
Alabama Ala. Code § 13A-11-8
Alaska Alaska Stat. §§ 11.41.260, 11.41.270
Arizona  Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 13-2923 Ariz. Rev. Stat. §§ 13-291613-2921
Arkansas Ark. Code § 5-41-108  Ark. Code § 5-41-108
California Cal. Civil Code § 1708.7, Cal Penal Code § 646.9 Cal. Penal Code §§ 422653.2653m
Colorado Colo. Rev. Stat. §§ 18-60218-9-111  Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-9-111
Connecticut  Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-181d (2012 Public Act 114), 53a-183  Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53a-182b53a-183
Delaware  Del. Code tit. 11 § 1311
Florida Fla. Stat. § 784.048  Fla. Stat. § 784.048
Georgia Georgia Code § 16-5-90
Hawaii  Hawaii Rev. Stat. § 711-1106
Idaho  Idaho Stat. §§ 18-790518-7906
Illinois 720 ILCS §§ 5/12-7.3, 5/12-7.5, 740 ILCS 21/10 720 ILCS §§ 135/1-2, 135/1-3, 135/2
Indiana  Ind. Code § 35-45-2-2
Iowa  Iowa Code § 708.7
Kansas Kan. Stat. § 21-3438
Kentucky  Ky. Rev. Stat. § 508.130 to .150
Louisiana La. Rev. Stat. §§ 14:40.2, 14:40.3
Maine  Me. Rev. Stat. tit 17A § 210A (see 2007 Me. Laws, Ch. 685, sec. 3)
Maryland  Md. Code tit. 3 § 3-805 (2013 H.B. 396, Chapter 369)
Massachusetts Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 265 § 43  Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 265 § 43A
Michigan Mich. Comp. Laws §§ 750.411h, 750.411i  Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.411s
Minnesota Minn. Stat. § 609.749  Minn. Stat. § 609.795
Mississippi Miss. Code §§ 97-45-15, 97-45-17, 97-3-107  Miss. Code § 97-29-45
Missouri Mo. Rev. Stat. § 565.225  Mo. Rev. Stat. § 565.090
Montana Mont. Code Ann. § 45-5-220  Mont. Code Ann. § 45-8-213
Nebraska*  Neb. Rev. Stat.§ 28-311.02  Neb. Rev. Stat.§ 28-311.02
Nevada Nev. Rev. Stat. § 200.575
New Hampshire  N.H. Rev. Stat. § 644:4
New Jersey  N.J. Stat. § 2C:12-10, 2C:12-10.1
New Mexico*  N.M. Stat. § 30-3A-3
New York  New York Penal Law § 240.30
North Carolina N.C. Gen. Stat. §§ 14-196.3  N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-196(b)
North Dakota  N.D. Cent. Code § 12.1-17-07
Ohio Ohio Rev. Code § 2903.211  Ohio Rev. Code §§ 2917.21(A), 2913.01(Y)
Oklahoma Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 1173  Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 1172
Oregon Or. Rev. Stat. §§ 163.730 to 163.732  Or. Rev. Stat. § 166.065
Pennsylvania Pa. Cons. Stat. tit. § 18 2709.1  Pa. Cons. Stat. tit. 18 § 2709(a), 2709(f)
Rhode Island R.I. Gen. Laws §§ 8-8.1-1, 11-52-4.2,  R.I. Gen. Laws § 11-52-4.2
South Carolina S.C. Code §§ 16-3-1700(C), 16-3-1700(F)  S.C. Code §§ 16-3-1700(B), 16-3-1700(C)16-17-430
South Dakota S.D. Cod. Laws § 22-19A-1  S.D. Cod. Laws § 49-31-31
Tennessee Tenn. Code § 39-17-315  Tenn. Code § 39-17-308
Texas  Tx. Penal Code § 33.07
Utah Utah Code § 76-5-106.5  Utah Code § 76-9-201
Vermont Vt. Stat. tit. 13 §§ 1061, 1062, 1063 Vt. Stat. tit. 13 § 1027
Virginia Va. Code § 18.2-60  Va. Code § 18.2-152.7:1 
Washington Wash. Rev. Code §§ 9A.46.1109.61.260  Wash. Rev. Code §§ 9A.46.020, 10.14.020
West Virginia  W. Va. Code § 61-3C-14a
Wisconsin Wis. Stat. § 947.0125
Wyoming Wyo. Stat. § 6-2-506 

Territories:

  Guam   X.G.C.A. tit. 9 §§ 19.69, 19.70   X.G.C.A. tit. 9 §§ 19.69, 19.70

Source: http://www.ncsl.org/research/telecommunications-and-information-technology/cyberstalking-and-cyberharassment-laws.aspx

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