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Cyberstalking and Cyberharassment Laws

State Cyberstalking and Cyberharassment Laws

Overview | State Statutes | Cyberbullying


Last update: Dec. 5, 2013

PLEASE NOTE: NCSL cannot provide assistance with individual cases. NCSL serves state legislators and their staff. This site provides comparative information only and should not be construed as legal advice. 

For information about how to deal with cyberstalking or online harassment, visit OnGuardOnline or follow these guidelines.

Overview

 States have enacted "cyberstalking" or "cyberharassment" laws or have laws that explicitly include electronic forms of communication within more traditional stalking or harassment laws. In addition, recent concerns about protecting minors from online bullying or harassment have led states to enact "cyberbullying" laws. This chart identifies state laws that include specific references to electronic communication. However, other state laws may still apply to those who harass, threaten or bully others online, although specific language may make the laws easier to enforce. This chart classifies the various state laws addressing these three different types of online behaviors, as described below.

Cyberstalking.  Cyberstalking is the use of the Internet, email or other electronic communications to stalk, and generally refers to a pattern of threatening or malicious behaviors. Cyberstalking may be considered the most dangerous of the three types of Internet harassment, based on a posing credible threat of harm. Sanctions range from misdemeanors to felonies.

Cyberharassment. Cyberharassment differs from cyberstalking in that it may generally be defined as not involving a credible threat. Cyberharassment usually pertains to threatening or harassing email messages, instant messages, or to blog entries or websites dedicated solely to tormenting an individual. Some states approach cyberharrassment by including language addressing electronic communications in general harassment statutes, while others have created stand-alone cyberharassment statutes.

* Note: This chart does not cover cyberbullying laws. Cyberbullying and cyberharassment are sometimes used interchangeably, but cyberbullying generally refers to electronic harassment or bullying among minors within a school context. See the NCSL's Education Program's cyberbullying page for more information on cyberbullyings laws and legislation.

See also:  State laws related to electronic solicitation or luring of childrenInternet filtering laws--schools and libraries, and NCSL LegisBrief: Protecting Children Online.

State/Territory

Cyberstalking

Cyberharassment

Alabama

 

Ala. Code § 13A-11-8

Alaska 

Alaska Stat. §§ 11.41.260, 11.41.270

 

Arizona 

 Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 13-2923

Ariz. Rev. Stat. §§ 13-291613-2921                                              

Arkansas 

Ark. Code § 5-41-108

 Ark. Code § 5-41-108

California 

Cal. Civil Code § 1708.7, Cal Penal Code § 646.9

Cal. Penal Code §§ 422653.2653m

Colorado 

Colo. Rev. Stat. §§ 18-60218-9-111

 Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-9-111

Connecticut 

 Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-181d (2012 Public Act 114), 53a-183  Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53a-182b53a-183

Delaware 

   Del. Code tit. 11 § 1311

Florida 

Fla. Stat. § 784.048

 Fla. Stat. § 784.048

Georgia 

Georgia Code § 16-5-90

 

Hawaii

   Hawaii Rev. Stat. § 711-1106
Idaho

 Idaho Stat. §§ 18-790518-7906

 

Illinois 

720 ILCS §§ 5/12-7.3, 5/12-7.5, 740 ILCS 21/10

720 ILCS §§ 135/1-2, 135/1-3, 135/2

Indiana

   Ind. Code § 35-45-2-2

Iowa 

   Iowa Code § 708.7

Kansas

Kan. Stat. § 21-5427 

 Kan. Stat. § 21-6206
Kentucky

Ky. Rev. Stat. § 508.130 to .150

 

Louisiana

La. Rev. Stat. §§ 14:40.2, 14:40.3

 

Maine

 Me. Rev. Stat. tit 17A § 210A (see 2007 Me. Laws, Ch. 685, sec. 3)

 

Maryland 

 

 Md. Code tit. 3 § 3-805 (2013 H.B. 396, Chapter 369)

Massachusetts

Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 265 § 43

 Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 265 § 43A

Michigan 

Mich. Comp. Laws §§ 750.411h, 750.411i

 Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.411s

Minnesota 

Minn. Stat. § 609.749

 Minn. Stat. § 609.795

Mississippi 

Miss. Code §§ 97-45-15, 97-45-17, 97-3-107

 Miss. Code § 97-29-45

Missouri 

Mo. Rev. Stat. § 565.225

 Mo. Rev. Stat. § 565.090

Montana

Mont. Code Ann. § 45-5-220

 Mont. Code Ann. § 45-8-213
Nebraska*  Neb. Rev. Stat.§ 28-311.02  Neb. Rev. Stat.§ 28-311.02

Nevada

Nev. Rev. Stat. § 200.575

 

New Hampshire 

   N.H. Rev. Stat. § 644:4
New Jersey

 N.J. Stat. § 2C:12-10, 2C:12-10.1

 
New Mexico*  

 N.M. Stat. § 30-3A-3

New York 

   New York Penal Law § 240.30

North Carolina 

N.C. Gen. Stat. §§ 14-196.3

 N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-196(b)

North Dakota 

 

 N.D. Cent. Code § 12.1-17-07

Ohio 

Ohio Rev. Code § 2903.211

 Ohio Rev. Code §§ 2917.21(A), 2913.01(Y)

Oklahoma 

Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 1173

 Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 1172

Oregon 

Or. Rev. Stat. §§ 163.730 to 163.732

 Or. Rev. Stat. § 166.065

Pennsylvania 

Pa. Cons. Stat. tit. § 18 2709.1

 Pa. Cons. Stat. tit. 18 § 2709(a), 2709(f)

Rhode Island 

R.I. Gen. Laws §§ 8-8.1-1, 11-52-4.2,

 R.I. Gen. Laws § 11-52-4.2

South Carolina

S.C. Code §§ 16-3-1700(C), 16-3-1700(F)

 S.C. Code §§ 16-3-1700(B), 16-3-1700(C)16-17-430

South Dakota

S.D. Cod. Laws § 22-19A-1

 S.D. Cod. Laws § 49-31-31

Tennessee

Tenn. Code § 39-17-315

 Tenn. Code § 39-17-308

Texas

   Tx. Penal Code § 33.07

Utah

Utah Code § 76-5-106.5  Utah Code § 76-9-201

Vermont 

Vt. Stat. tit. 13 §§ 1061, 1062, 1063

Vt. Stat. tit. 13 § 1027

Virginia 

Va. Code § 18.2-60

 Va. Code § 18.2-152.7:1 

Washington

Wash. Rev. Code §§ 9A.46.1109.61.260

 Wash. Rev. Code §§ 9A.46.020, 10.14.020

West Virginia

 

 W. Va. Code § 61-3C-14a  

Wisconsin 

 

Wis. Stat. § 947.0125

Wyoming 

Wyo. Stat. § 6-2-506 

 

Territories:

 

 

  Guam   X.G.C.A. tit. 9 §§ 19.69, 19.70   X.G.C.A. tit. 9 §§ 19.69, 19.70

*  Statute does not specify "electronic" or "Internet," but refers to "telephoning, contacting, or otherwise communicating..." (Nebraska) or "by any action, method, device or means..."  (New Mexico).

PLEASE NOTE:  The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) serves state legislators and their staff.   This site provides comparative information only and should not be construed as legal advice.  NCSL cannot provide assistance with individual cases.

 

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