Texas law is clear: harassing others online is against the law. As of September 1, 2009, it’s a crime in Texas to impersonate, imitate, or otherwise harass other people in emails, instant messaging or through social networking sites. The law also covers sending these types of communications via text message.
Online harassment carries serious penalties, with the charge ranging from Class A Misdemeanor to Third Degree Felony. Depending on the facts of the case, other criminal charges may be brought for situations involving online harassment (such as internet crimes, fraud or theft charges). The potential for two separate charges for the same conduct makes it all the more important that you contact a lawyer who understands this law and the possibility of additional charges.
Examples of Online Harassment
Online harassment can take make forms. If you do any of the following, you may be charged with online harassment:
- Posing as another person online
- Posting to a website such as Craigslist using the name, phone number or email of another person
- Sending information about another person through e-mail, text or other form of electronic communication in order to harm or defraud that person.
- Using another person’s name or information to solicit a response from emergency personnel (commonly known as “swatting”)