Beginning in March 2019, cyberbullying will now be illegal in the state of Michigan. The House Bill 5017 now makes cyberbullying a punishable crime by Michigan law, meaning that those who harass others online could face potential jail time.
Bullying isn’t a new problem, however, what once was a schoolyard issue has now migrated over to social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and even text messages.
Cyberbullying includes, but isn’t limited to:
• Posting mean or hurtful comments and/or rumors about someone online
• Threatening someone to hurt themselves, or worse, kill themselves
• Posting incriminating photos of a person
• Creating a fake online persona to either solicit or post personal/false information about another person
• Creating a cruel webpage or website about another person
• Doxing which can be used to threaten and destroy the privacy of an individual by making their private information public.
Under this new law, it states that if an individual violates this law and causes another individual to suffer harm from an assault or an assault and battery, will be punished. If someone breaks this law, the individual will be found guilty of a misdemeanor that’s punishable by prison time of no more than one year, a fine of no more than $1,000 or both.
However, there are more severe consequences if an individual violates this law and causes the death of the victim. Regardless if the individual physically caused the death of the victim, the death was due to the victim committing suicide or the death of the victim was caused by another person as a result of the violation- there will be severe consequences. If found guilty of a felony, it will be punishable by either imprisonment of no more than 20 years, a fine no more than $5,000, or both.
If you or someone you know is being charged with cyberbullying, it’s important to consult an attorney before it’s too late. For more information, contact the team at Aldrich Legal Services today.