Murfreesboro Cyberstalking Defense Lawyers
Defending Clients Accused of Criminal Cyberstalking in Tennessee
With the ubiquity of internet communications and social media, it should be no surprise that some people go online with the objective of hurting others. While you cannot cause direct physical harm through the internet, cyberstalking and harassment can result in severe emotional damage, and it may lead to someone hurting themselves. Tennessee law has criminalized cyberstalking in efforts to stop the harm caused by online interactions.
If you get arrested on suspicion of cyberstalking, your first call should be to an experienced criminal defense attorney in Murfreesboro. At Dotson & Taylor, our lawyers aggressively defend against all types of criminal charges, including computer-based offenses. Call right away so we can start protecting your rights.
What is Cyberstalking?
Stalking is an offense that involves repeatedly contacting another individual without their consent in a manner that would cause a reasonable person to feel any of the following:
To qualify as cyberstalking, the contact must take place via electronic communication. There are many forms of electronic communication, including:
- Social media
- Instant messaging
- Text messaging
- Chat rooms
It does not matter whether someone uses a laptop, tablet, smartphone, or another device to send the harassing messages.
Charges and Penalties for Cyberstalking in Tennessee
Generally speaking, criminal stalking is a Class A misdemeanor under Tennessee law. However, if the alleged victim is younger than 18, and the accused is at least five years older, the prosecutor may issue Class E felony charges. If you are convicted of cyberstalking, the following penalties may apply:
- Class A misdemeanor - Probation or up to 11 months and 29 days in jail, as well as fines up to $2,500
- Class E felony - One to six years in state prison, and/or fines up to $3,000
These criminal charges and penalties may increase if there are aggravating circumstances, including violating an order of protection or making a credible threat of physical harm.
Court-ordered penalties are far from the only effects of a stalking conviction. This type of conviction can also prohibit you from possessing a firearm, disqualify you from certain professions, and make it difficult to find housing or employment. It is important to prevent a conviction whenever you can.
Defending against Cyberstalking Charges
There are different ways to defend against this type of allegation, including:
- Showing it was a one-time incident and not a pattern of conduct
- Demonstrating that it was another person posing as you online who engaged in the communication
- Asserting that the nature of the communications should not have caused fear, intimidation, or distress to a reasonable person
- Challenging aggravating circumstances
Learn How a Murfreesboro Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help
At Dotson & Taylor, our cyberstalking defense lawyers in Murfreesboro know how to identify the strongest possible defense strategy in every case. After an arrest, do not wait to call 615-890-1982 or contact us online to discuss how we can work for you in your case.