Holcomb Dunbar - North Mississippi Attorneys

Cyber Bullying

cyber bullyingBy Doug Hollowell

With the influx of cyber bullying and electronic harassment through social media posting, and with text messages all but consuming modern communication, the court system has been challenged to stay on top of unlawful behavior in the digital medium.  Mississippi law specifically addresses what digital media activities may be criminal (Mississippi Code Annotated § 97-29-45 ):

(a) To make any comment, request, suggestion or proposal by means of telecommunication or electronic communication which is obscene, lewd or lascivious with intent to abuse, threaten or harass any party to a telephone conversation, telecommunication or electronic communication;

(b) To make a telecommunication or electronic communication with intent to terrify, intimidate or harass, and threaten to inflict injury or physical harm to any person or to his property;

(c) To make a telephone call, whether or not conversation ensues, without disclosing his identity and with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass any person at the called number;

(d) To make or cause the telephone of another repeatedly or continuously to ring, with intent to harass any person at the called number;

(e) To make repeated telephone calls, during which conversation ensues, solely to harass any person at the called number; or

(f) Knowingly to permit a computer or a telephone of any type under his control to be used for any purpose prohibited by this section.

The law defines “telecommunication” and “electronic communication” to mean and include any type of telephonic, electronic or radio communications, or transmission of signs, signals, data, writings, images and sounds or intelligence of any nature by telephone, including cellular telephones, wire, cable, radio, electromagnetic, photoelectronic or photo-optical system or the creation, display, management, storage, processing, transmission or distribution of images, text, voice, video or data by wire, cable or wireless means, including the Internet.

And if you’re convicted, a first time offender can receive a fine of up to $500 and/or up to  6 months in jail.   A second time offender, within a period of five years, can be fined up to $1000, and/or up to a year in jail.