The modern world is certainly different than the world that existed some decades ago. As times have changed, so have laws, set to govern the new realities we exist in. This is certainly true as it pertains to the digital worlds we’ve begun to inhabit and spend much of our lives in.
Cyberbullying is a new problem in the world. As more and more communications have begun to move to the digital space, we’ve seen an increase in aggression, targeted threats, and harassment.
Communicating over the web seems to increase these kinds of behaviors. Online, it’s much easier for feelings to take over and for things to get out of hand.
Cyberbullying is a very serious crime in the state of Louisiana. What do you need to know if you’re facing these kinds of charges? Read on and we’ll walk you through what you need to know.
Cyberbullying Law in Louisiana
There are a number of state laws in Louisiana that outline punishments for cyberbullying. There is, in fact, a distinct state cyberbullying law that one should be aware of.
This law covers the actions of anyone who uses an electronic device to send written or visual communication to another individual with the intent to abuse or frighten them. This law only pertains to those who send messages to individuals who are under eighteen years of age.
However, sometimes cyber bullying actions could be considered to be stalking under the eyes of the law. If a person is repeatedly harassing someone online, this is considered stalking.
In addition, if a person has to fear serious injury or death as a part of cyberbullying efforts, an even more severe punishment might be in order.
The state of Louisana also requires all public schools to maintain a strong anti-bullying policy. Under this policy, many public school professionals are made to take classes and special training related to the subject of bullying.
They will need to learn what kind of behavior classifies as bullying, as well as the impact it can have on both the victims and the bullies themselves.
In addition, students are required under law to be educated on bullying and electronic communication hazards. All students will have the opportunity to learn about safe and responsible use of social networking websites, instant messaging, and so on.
Defenses For Cyberbullying Charges
If you’ve been hit with a charge of cyberbullying, you could be facing serious punishments. Punishments in the state of Louisana can include fines of over $500 as well as possible jail time.
That’s not to mention how records of your arrest could impact your future and reputation.
It’s important to take these claims very seriously. One facing chargers should consider hiring an attorney to help with their case. An attorney will be able to look at the facts of the case and help to determine a strategy based on the particulars present.
An attorney can help get charges dismissed if there are grounds to so. Even if there are not, they might be able to help lessen the severity of punishment.
What are some of the common defenses to cyberbullying charges in Louisiana?
Freedom Of Speech
The most common subject brought up against cyberbullying charges is the Constitution and the 1st Amendment. The 1st Amendment, of course, protects one’s right to free speech.
Understanding the way the 1st Amendment works in the country can be difficult. This right, despite what some people think, is not total and absolute. You are not allowed, for example, to say or do things that might be a serious threat to the public.
This would include things like yelling fire in a crowded theater. This kind of chaos could cause someone to be injured.
Similarly, the argument goes that cyberbullying could provoke serious emotional or even physical harm to another person. Bullying speech can be legally limited, especially if a person has reason to believe that the individual making the threats might actually follow through on them.
It is not always easy to distinguish between free expression and threatening speech. It is possible to use the 1st Amendment to help dismiss or lessen the severity of cyberbullying charges. It all depends on what is said and the context surrounding the speech.
It can be well worth exploring this defense with an attorney to see if it might be beneficial in your case.
No Threat Present
One could also argue against the idea that what they said through electronic communication was actually enough for the person to feel truly threatened.
In order for a cyberbullying claim to hold water, there would need to be evidence that a reasonable person would be justified in feeling feat due to claims made online. A person who was hyper-sensitive or drew their own conclusions from vague speech might not be able to truly allege they had been cyberbullied.
If statements made to another individual were less than explicit in their intent, there might be some room to push back against certain charges.
Once again, this can be a nuanced concept to explore. An attorney can help to see if this might be a strong defense for your own particular case.
Legal Advice for Cyberbullying Charges
The state of Louisiana takes cyberbullying very seriously. If you’re currently facing cyberbullying charges, it’s important that you take the time to understand the penalties you could be facing and the defenses you might be able to rely on.
If you need immediate assistance with your case, please don’t hesitate to reach out and contact me. You do have legal options if you are facing this type of charge.