What You Need to Know about Cyberstalking Laws in Texas

Texas law prohibits cyberstalking and all other forms of online abuse and harassment. Here is everything you need to know about cyberstalking laws in Texas.

Cyberstalking is taken as a serious crime in Texas. Under state law, cyberstalking falls under a form of mental abuse and its charges range from a Class B misdemeanor to a third-degree felony.

What Is Cyberstalking?

Cyberstalking crimes can occur online and through electronic communications, such as email, texting, and messaging on social media applications. Under Texas’ Electronic Communications Act of 2001, cyberstalking can take many forms:

  • Cyberbullying
  • Online sexual abuse
  • Encouraging others to harass someone online
  • Urging or harassing someone to meet via online platforms
  • Stalking or monitoring activities of individuals online
  • Making false statements or accusations against someone online
  • Damaging someone’s reputation online through defamation
  • Unwanted sexting or pornographic images and recordings
  • Online impersonation

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Penalties for Cyber Crimes in Texas

In Texas, cyberstalking charges can range from a Class B misdemeanor to a third-degree felony. If charged, an individual could face several years in prison and up to $10,000 fined.

Online Harassment

1. Crime

An individual can be convicted of harassment by sending or publishing repeated electronic communications with the intent and in a manner likely to harass, annoy, alarm, abuse, torment, distress, or embarrass another individual.

2. Penalty

Harassment generally is classified as a class B misdemeanor, which carries penalties of up to 180 days in jail and a $2,000 fine. However, under certain conditions, prosecutors charge this crime as a class A misdemeanor; possible conditions may include previous convictions.

Online Stalking

1. Crime

An individual can be convicted of stalking by engaging in repeated action that the named victim finds threatening and can cause fear of bodily injury, death to themselves or a loved one, or any damage to their property. Repeated harassment can often qualify as stalking.

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2. Penalty

Stalking generally constitutes a third-degree felony. An individual found guilty can face a fine of up to $10,000 and imprisonment ranging from two to 10 years. However, under certain circumstances of a previous stalking conviction anywhere in the country, the crime is then considered a second-degree felony. The punishment for a felony of the second degree is two to 20 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

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