Cybercrimes & Domestic Violence
An Ohio man was recently sentenced for placing a bomb at the Maryland home of a woman he had met online in 2020. Apparently the location of the bomb placement was the “love rival” of a mutual friend they all had met online during a virtual reality game. Cybercrimes and cyber dating violence are on the rise given Covid-19 quarantines and increased social isolation. However, it is never okay to threaten someone online or in person, and making a bomb, discussing the production of an explosive device or placing an explosion device at the home of any person, enemy or not, is illegal and investigated on a federal level. If you are being investigated for cybercrimes, cyberstalking or online abuse, it’s important you seek legal advice as soon as possible. Attorney William Wallshein practices criminal defense law, including defense of all cybercrimes such as fraud or online abuse.
What Constitutes Cyberstalking?
In Florida, cyberstalking is defined as engaging in a course of conduct to communicate electronically or accessing another person’s online accounts/home desktop in an attempt to cause substantial emotional distress to that person. A defendant can be charged with aggravated stalking or aggravated cyberstalking if they engage in continued malicious and harassing behavior and make a credible threat of harm to the victim. Aggravated stalking or cyberstalking is a third degree felony. Cyberstalking a minor under 16 years old, even without the threat of physical harm is still charged as a third degree felony. If convicted, the defendant could serve up to 5 years in prison, more if previously sentenced and the offender is convicted for a subsequent violation.
The defendant could also face a concurrent hearing in domestic violence court if the victim is a close relative, love interest or domestic partner, and then decides to file a protective order against the defendant/respondent. In that case, if the defendant shares a home or children with the petitioner, the court can order the defendant to stay away from the premises, the petitioner, the children, as well as continue paying bills or family upkeep. The defendant can lose custody temporarily, be ordered to surrender firearms and additional provisions like staying off internet sites used to harass the victim.
Why a Federal Criminal Investigation?
Sometimes internet crimes constitute a criminal investigation. This is dependent on the nature of the crime, whether it involves interstate commerce, sex trafficking or suspected child abuse/child pornography. 18 U.S.C. 875(c) makes cyberstalking a federal crime punishable by up to five years in a federal prison in addition to a fine not to exceed two hundred fifty thousand dollars. If a person were to instant message, email, or use social media chat to communicate with someone across state lines, and the communication was of a threatening or harassing nature, it could constitute violation of the federal cyberstalking statute.
Schedule a Free Consultation Today
If you or someone you know has been falsely accused of cyberstalking or if your relationship has soured and your spouse is seeking revenge you need to take action. Any violent crime against another is taken seriously and punished to the fullest extent of the law. Cybercrimes are steadily on the rise as social media and online dating is integrated into our daily lives. If you were charged with stalking, harassment or a cybercrime, contact William Wallshein today to schedule a free consultation. As a West Palm Beach criminal attorney with more than thirty years of litigation experience, he fights for his clients.