Electronic Communication Harassment
Utah’s statute prohibiting harassment using electronic communications is incredibly broad. Not every dispute between two people which involves an electronic communication should constitute a criminal act, however, the wording of the statute gives law enforcement officers and prosecutors great discretion in selecting people to prosecute for this offense.
Salt Lake City Electronic Communication Harassment Defense Lawyer
Despite the broad wording of the statute, important defenses exist to fight the charges. Never speak to law enforcement about any allegation of stalking, harassment or electronic communication harassment until you have spoken with an experienced criminal defense attorney. Darren Levitt represents clients charged with cyberstalking or electronic communication harassment throughout the Salt Lake City-Ogden metropolitan area, which includes Salt Lake County, Davis County, and Weber County, Utah.
Jurisdiction for Prosecutions of the Electronic Communication Harassment Statute in Utah
As a preliminary matter, a person can be subjected to to prosecution in the state of Utah when the electronic communication originated within this State or was received by the alleged victim in this State. Issues of jurisdiction and venue are complicated by the very nature of the allegations which can take place in two different parts of the state or county.
Looking at the Accused Person’s Actual Intentions
Most harassment case hinge on the accused person’s intentions. Often, the intention is not to harass but rather to carry out some legitimate purpose such as collecting a debt or exposing the misdeed of another.
The statute itself addresses this issue by requiring under Utah Code §76-9-201, that the person charged with electronic communication harassment must act with an intention to do one or more of the following: threaten, harass, frighten, intimidate, annoy, offend, abuse, alarm or disrupt the electronic communications of another.
Elements of the Offense
In addition to the intent requirement, Utah Code §76-9-201(2) requires proof beyond all reasonable debt that a person does one of the following:
(a)(i) makes repeated contact by means of electronic communications, whether or not a conversation ensues; or
(ii) after the recipient has requested or informed the person not to contact the recipient, and the person repeatedly or continuously:
- (A) contacts the electronic communication device of the recipient; or
- (B) causes an electronic communication device of the recipient to ring or to receive other notification of attempted contact by means of electronic communication;
(b) makes contact by means of electronic communication and insults, taunts, or challenges the recipient of the communication or any person at the receiving location in a manner likely to provoke a violent or disorderly response;
(c) makes contact by means of electronic communication and threatens to inflict injury, physical harm, or damage to any person or the property of any person; or
(d) causes disruption, jamming, or overload of an electronic communication system through excessive message traffic or other means utilizing an electronic communication device.
Finding an Attorney for Charges of Electronic Communication Harassment
If you were charged with stalking, harassment or electronic communication harassment then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. Darren Levitt represents clients in harassment cases throughout Salt Lake County for Salt Lake City, West Valley City, West Jordan, Taylorsville, Murray, South Jordan, Cottonwood Heights, Midvale, Draper, Riverton, Weber County for Ogden, Roy, Morgan County for Morgan, Davis County for Layton and Bountiful, Wasatch County for Heber City, Utah County for Provo, Pleasant Grove, American Fork, Springville, Spanish Fork, Tooele County, Summit County, Box Elder County for Brigham City and Cache County for Logan, Utah.
Call today for a free, confidential consultation to discuss the facts of your case.
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