State harassment laws that explicitly address electronic communications

Jurisdiction

Statutory Language
Alabama

Code of Alabama 13A-11-8 - Harassment and Harassing Communications:

(b)(1) Harassing Communications - A person commits the crime of harassing communications if, with intent to harass or alarm another person, he or she does any of the following:

(a) Communicates with a person, anonymously or otherwise, by telephone, telegraph, mail, or any other form or written or electronic communication, in a manner likely to harass or cause alarm.

(Constitutionality: "A common-sense interpretation of this section reveals that it is not unconstitutionally vague and that it adequately apprises the public of what conduct is prohibited." Crook v. State, 469 So.2d 690 (Ala. Crim. App. 1985).)

 

Arizona

Arizona Revised Statutes, 13-2921 - Harassment:

(A) A person commits harassment if, with the intent to harass or with knowledge that the person is harassing another person, the person:

(1) Anonymously or otherwise communicates or causes a communication with another person by verbal, electronic, mechanical, telegraphic or written means in a manner that harasses.



Colorado

Colorado Revised Statutes 18-9-111 - Harassment -- Stalking:

(1) A person commits harassment if, with intent to harass, annoy, or alarm another person, he or she:

(e) Initiates communication with a person, anonymously or otherwise by telephone, computer network, or computer system in a manner intended to harass or threaten bodily injury or property damage, or makes any comment, request, suggestion, or proposal by telephone, computer, computer network, or computer system that is obscene

(Constitutionality: "Section (1)(e) held not to be unconstitutionally vague because the statute defined the offense with particularized standards to limit the scope of the offense and the presence in the statute of the words "annoy" and "alarm", by themselves, were not sufficient to render the statute unconstitutionally vague." People v. McBurney, 750 P.2d 916 (Colo. 1988))

Connecticut

Connecticut General Statutes 53a-183 - Harassment in the second degree:

(a) A person is guilty of harassment in the second degree when: (2) with intent to harass, annoy or alarm another person, he communicates with a person by telegraph or mail, or by electronically transmitting a facsimile through connection with a telephone network, by computer network, or by any other form of written communication, in a manner likely to cause annoyance or alarm.


Delaware

11 Delaware Code 1311 - Harassment:

(a) A person is guilty of harassment when, with intent to harass, annoy or alarm another person:

(2) Communicates with a person by telephone, telegraph, mail or any other form of written or electronic communication in a manner the person knows is likely to cause annoyance or alarm


Hawaii

Hawaii Revised Statutes 711-1106 —- Harassment:

(1) Another person commits the offense of harassment if, with the intent to harass, annoy, or alarm any other person, that person:

(c) Repeatedly makes telephone calls, facsimile, or electronic mail transmissions without purpose of a legitimate communication.


Illinois

Illinois Compiled Statutes, 720 135/1-2 - Harassment through electronic communications:

Sec. 1-2. (a) Harassment through electronic communications is the use of electronic communication for any of the following purposes:

(1) Making any comment, request, suggestion or proposal which is obscene with an intent to offend;

(2) Interrupting, with the intent to harass, the telephone service or the electronic communication of any person;

(3) Transmitting to any person, with the intent to harass and regardless of whether the communication is read in its entirety or at all, any file, document, or other communication which prevents that person from using his or her telephone service or electronic communication device;

(4) Threatening injury to the person or to the property of the person to whom an electronic communication is directed ; or

(5) Knowingly permitting any electronic communications device to be used for any of the purposes mentioned in (a).


Indiana

Indiana Code Ann. 35-45-2-2 —- Harassment:

(a) A person who, with intent to harass, annoy, or alarm another person but with no intent of legitimate communication:

(4) Uses a computer network or other form of electronic communication to:

(A) Communicate with a person; or

(B) Transmit an obscene message or indecent or profane words to a person; commits harassment.

(Constitutionality: "The words "harass, annoy or alarm" and "legitimate" are not unconstitutionally vague although not defined in the statute since the statute requires specific intent." Kinney v. State, 76 Ind. Dec. 96, 404 N.E.2d 49 (Ind. App. 1980).

Maryland

Maryland Code, 555C —- Electronic Mail; prohibitions and penalties:

(a) "Electronic Mail" means the transmission of information or a communication by the use of a computer or other electronic means sent to a person identified by a unique address and received by that person.

(c) Electronic mail may not be used as a form of harassment. A person may not use electronic mail for a communication made with intent to harass:

(1) One or more persons; or

(2) By sending lewd, lascivious, or obscene material.

New Hampshire

New Hampshire Revised Statutes Ann. 644:4 —- Harassment:

I. A person is guilty of a misdemeanor, and subject to prosecution in the jurisdiction where the communication originated or was received, if such person:

(e) With the purpose to annoy or alarm another, communicates any matter containing any threat to kidnap any person ; or a threat to the life or safety of another; or

II. "Communicates" means to impart message by any method of transmission, including but not limited to electronic transmission, including electronic transmissions generated or communicated via computer.

New York

New York Penal Law 240.30 - Aggravated Harassment in the second degree:

A person is guilty of aggravated harassment in the second degree when, with intent to harass, annoy, threaten or alarm another person, he or she:

1. Communicated, or causes a communication to be initiated by mechanical or electronic means or otherwise, with a person, anonymously or otherwise, by telephone, or by telegraph, mail or any other form of written communication, in a manner likely to cause annoyance or alarm

North Dakota

North Dakota Century Code, 12.1-17-07 —- Harassment:

1. A person is guilty of an offense if, with intent to frighten or harass another, the person:

a. Communicates in writing or by telephone a threat to inflict injury on any person, to any person's reputation, or to any property;

5. Any offense defined herein is deemed communicates by writing if it is transmitted electronically, by electronic mail, facsimile, or other similar means.

Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes 5504 —- Harassment by communication or address:

(A) A person commits the crime of harassment by communication or address when, with intent to harass, annoy, or alarm another, that person:

(1) Communicates to or about such other person any lewd, lascivious, threatening or obscene words, language, drawings or caricatures; or

(2) Communicates repeatedly in an anonymous manner;

(3) Communicates repeatedly at extremely inconvenient hours;

(4) Communicates repeatedly in a manner not covered by paragraph (2) or (3).

(F) Definitions: "Communicates." Conveys, without intent of legitimate communication or address, by written or electronic means, including telephone, electronic mail, Internet, facsimile, telex and similar transmission.

Vermont

Vermont Statutes Ann. 1027 —- Disturbing peace by use of telephone or other electronic communications:

(a) A person who, with intent to terrify, intimidate, harass or annoy makes contact by means of a telephonic or other electronic communication with another and (i) makes any request, suggestion or proposal which is obscene, lewd, lascivious or indecent; (ii) threatens to inflict injury or physical harm to the person or property of any person; or (iii) disturbs or attempts to disturb, by repeated anonymous telephone calls or other electronic communications, whether or not conversation ensures, the peace, quiet or right of privacy of any person shall be fined not more that $250.00 of imprisoned not more than three months or both

Virginia

Virginia Code Ann. 18.2-152.7:1 —- Harassment by Computer:

If any person, with the intent to coerce, intimidate, or harass any person, shall use a computer or computer network to communicate obscene, vulgar, profane, lewd, lascivious, or indecent language, or make any suggestion or proposal of an obscene nature, or threaten any illegal or immoral act, he shall be guilty of a class 1 misdemeanor.

Washington

Rev. Code Wash. 9A.46.020:

(1) A person is guilty of harassment if:

(a) without lawful authority, the person knowingly threatens

(b) The person by words or conduct places the person threatened in reasonable fear that the treat will be carried out. "Words or conduct" includes, in addition to any other form of communication or conduct, the sending of an electronic communication.