Stalking is a crime in all states including North Carolina. In recent years, stalking has taken a new direction as more people are using social media and other forms of electronic communication as part of their everyday lives. It is easy to believe that because you are not face to face with that person that it does not matter what you say or do; however, everything you do online matters. Just as you cannot follow someone, take pictures of them, and repeatedly contact that person in an attempt to harass or frighten that person, you cannot use electronic means for the same purpose.
Because some of the cyberstalking laws in North Carolina do not require repeated communication, you may be found guilty of cyberstalking if you send one email or other electronic communication threatening someone. You must be very careful not to act in the heat of the moment or you may find yourself criminal conviction because of a cyberstalking charge. If you are arrested for cyberstalking, it is important that you contact a criminal law defense attorney as soon as possible. You may have a valid defense to the cyberstalking charge; however, an attorney needs to begin working on your case immediately.
What is Cyberstalking in North Carolina?
Cyberstalking is a Class 2 Misdemeanor in North Carolina punishable by up to 60 days in jail. Because the use of electronics continues to grow, legislators enacted laws that prevent someone from using electronic means to stalk someone. According to North Carolina General Statute §14-196.3, the following actions are considered cyberstalking:
- Use words or language in email or electronic communications threatening to bodily harm a person or that person’s immediate family or threaten to harm the person’s property for the purpose of extorting anything of value or money;
- Repeatedly using email or electronic communication to abuse, annoy, threaten, terrify, harass, or embarrass a person;
- Making any false statement through email or electronic communication concerning death, injury, illness, disfigurement, indecent conduct, or criminal conduct of the person or the person’s immediate family or household to abuse, annoy, threaten, terrify, harass, or embarrass the person;
- Knowingly allow an electronic device under the person’s control to be used for any purpose prohibited law; or,
- Use or place an electronic device to track someone without that person’s consent except for the reasons outlined in the statute.
North Carolina added the last section to prohibit people from using GPS devices or other electronic devices to track someone without that person’s consent. There are a total of 11 exceptions outlined in the statute.
North Carolina GPS Law
North Carolina’s cyberstalking law was recently amended to add the use of a GPS devices as cyberstalking with very few exceptions. The new amendment went into effect December 1, 2015 making the use of a GPS device without someone’s consent cyberstalking.
The statute outlines some exceptions to the GPS cyberstalking law. Parents can continue to use GPS devices on cars driven by their children and parents can continue to use GPS devices to track a vehicle provided to the nanny when the nanny has the sole care of the child. You may also install a GPS device on a car titled in your sole name even if it is driven by another person. However, under no circumstances are you allowed to track anyone who is under a protective order because of domestic violence. You can read all of the exceptions to the GPS cyberstalking law here.
The cyberstalking law is very complex and it is easy to make a mistake. You should always consult an experienced criminal law defense attorney before using a GPS device to track someone. It is much better to consult a criminal law defense attorney so that you avoid making a mistake that breaks the law and results in an arrest.
Contact an Experienced Jacksonville Criminal Law
“Attorneys Who Aggressively Protect Your Rights”
If you have been charged with cyberstalking in North Carolina, contact a criminal law defense attorney at Welch and Avery. We represent clients throughout Duplin County, Onslow County and the surrounding communities. Call our office at (910) 665-9134 or contact us online today for a free case evaluation.
A conviction of cyberstalking results in more than just time in jail. You will have a permanent criminal record that can jeopardize your future job opportunities. A criminal record follows you for the rest of your life. Do not take that chance — protect your future and your freedom by hiring a criminal law defense attorney to defend a charge of cyberstalking.
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