Is cyberstalking a crime in Massachusetts?

On Behalf of | Oct 11, 2021 | Blog, Criminal Law, Domestic Violence

Unwanted attention like hanging outside another person’s apartment complex or place of employment, or repeated harassing phone calls are typical acts associated with stalking. Cyberstalking reflects the use of technology to harass and frighten a victim. Threatening emails may leave someone shaken, especially when the sender has a track record for domestic violence. Massachusetts statutes address cyberstalking, providing possible legal options for victims.

Cyberstalking in Massachusetts

cyberstalking in massachusetts

Cyberstalking can take many forms and may range from unwanted social media attention to computer hacking. A cyberstalker may take personal information about a victim from social media accounts and use the information to try and stalk that person in real life.

Massachusetts law defines cyberstalking in plain language. In part, state law describes the crime as “willful and malicious” behavior that “annoys” or causes “emotional distress.” The use of email or the internet to stalk someone may violate Massachusetts cyberstalking laws.

Addressing cyberstalking in Massachusetts

Documenting all evidence is important for anyone who believes they may be a victim of cyberstalking or other sexual violence. Keeping copies of emails and chat transcripts may help when asking the court for a restraining order.  A victim can petition the court for a protective order against someone they believe is harming them.

The same applies for the defense side — if you believe someone is making a false or exaggerated claims against you, documenting interactions with a troubled partner, friend or relative may collect the necessary evidence that refutes the claims.  Arrests and convictions for domestic violence crimes will adversely affect someone’s life. Successfully defending false charges could prevent such an undesirable outcome.

 

This post is for general informational purposes and is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice.  Consult a Massachusetts attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. We invite you to contact us and welcome your calls, letters and electronic mail; however, contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to us until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established.