The National Conference of State Legislatures (2013) defines Cyber stalking as the use of the internet, email or other electronic communications to stalk. It generally refers to a pattern of threatening behaviors or malicious intent. The NCSL considered it the most dangerous of cyber harassments. According to the Louisiana statute, Cyberstalking is the actions of any person to perform the following:
• (1)Use in electronic mail or electronic communication of any words or languate threatening to inflict bodily harm to any person or to such person’s child, sibling, spouse or dependent or physical injury to property of any person or for the purpose of extorting money or other things of value from any person.
• (2)Electronically mail or electronically communicat to another repeatedly, whether or not conversation ensues, for the purpose of threatening, terrifying or harassing any person.
• (3)Electronically mail or electronically communicate to another and to knowingly make any false statement concerning death injury illness, disfigurement, indecent conduct or criminal conduct of the person electronically mailed or of any member of the person’s family or household with the intent to threaten, terrify or harass.
• (4) any who knowingly permits a communication device under a person’s control to be used for the actions in subsections 1,2,or 3 (LA RS 14:40.3)
Now knowing what Louisiana says is cyberstalking, what makes the communication become a crime? According to the Louisiana laws as we read, it becomes a crime when someone fears for their safety or the safety of their family. General electronic communication is by far becoming a more normal way of communication in today’s world. However, when that communication starts to become threatening, and someone begins to fear for their safety it turns those general communications into a crime. Cyberstalkers are one step away from offline stalking. The only difference is that they don’t have the courage to actually face the person they are stalking. They feel safer doing the stalking from their home.
The penalties of cyberstalking in Louisiana are straightforward. For a first time offender, the penalty for cyberstalking someone is, to be fined not more than two thousand dollars or imprisoned for up to one year, or even both. If a person is caught again within seven years and convicted a second time, the penalty is higher. They receive imprisonment for up to one hundred and eighty days, but no longer than three years. They could instead receive a five thousand dollar fine or receive the fine...