Attorney Defending Cyberbullying Charges in Michigan
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Michigan’s Premier Cyberbullying Criminal Defense Law Firm for Cyberbullying Charges
So-called “cyberbullying” has been in the news for several years now, and most people are familiar with it and its meaning. Although one can easily sympathize with anyone who encounters any form of bullying, prosecutors often over-charge these cases due to public and political pressure. An experienced attorney defending cyberbullying charges will know the best strategy for obtaining a dismissal or achieving the best possible result.
Suppose you are charged or under investigation for any internet crime, like cyberbullying. In that case, the best hope for you to avoid jail and a conviction is to work with an experienced internet crimes defense lawyer with a track record of successfully representing clients with similar charges.
What constitutes cyberbullying, and how can a defense attorney help?
Basically, cyberbullying is sending messages or posting information online in a way that causes another person to feel threatened or harassed. Michigan law defines cyberbullying as posting a message or statement about another person in a public media forum (the internet or any other medium used to convey information) intended to place that person in fear of bodily harm or death, and which expresses an intent to commit violence against that person.
These underlined words are significant to a top-rated, experienced attorney defending cyberbullying charges because they provide an avenue to possibly getting the charges dismissed or reduced. Often, proving intent is complex, and a great lawyer can make it even more difficult for the government. If the statements on public media are not clearly and obviously a threat, it may be difficult for a prosecutor to prove the intent needed to convict. And as can be seen above, it must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the person who posts a message knew the other person would view it as a threat. So, it is a 2-pronged definition; not only must the sender intend it to be a threat, but they also must know the intended recipient would view it as a threat.
The Prosecution Proves Intent through Circumstantial Evidence in Cyberbullying Cases
Because the prosecution cannot prove intent directly, the prosecutor will rely on circumstantial evidence. The strength of circumstantial evidence is often subjective, and the government is likely to take a different view of things than the defense. A great attorney defending cyberbullying charges adds the most value because they will have the skill to admit the evidence in the light most favorable to their client.
What are the penalties for cyberbullying?
The penalties for this crime are stepped-up based on the frequency and consequences of the messaging.
- First offense: possible 93 days in jail and a $500.00 fine, or both;
- Second or subsequent offense: possible 1 year in jail and a $1,000.00 fine, or both;
- Continued pattern (2 or more separate actions) of harassing or intimidating behavior that results in serious injury: possible 5 years in jail and a fine of $5,000.00 fine, or both;
- Continued pattern of harassing or intimidating behavior resulting in a death: possible 10 years in jail and a $10,000.00 fine, or both.
“Serious injury” is defined as permanent, serious disfigurement, serious impairment of health, or serious impairment of a bodily function. This aspect of the charge provides another avenue for a defense attorney to get charges dismissed because this is a high standard of injury. It is often challenging to prove the injury resulted from a message or messaging.
A savvy attorney defending cyberbullying charges will know the best strategy to prevent an enhancement of charges based on an alleged serious injury or continuing pattern.
Attorneys Defending Cyberbullying Charges
If you have been charged with cyberbullying or are questioned by the police, it is essential to remain silent, not discuss it with the police, and call LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. for a free consultation. An attorney defending cyberbullying charges will answer all of your questions and strategize a defense. You will never successfully explain anything to the police yourself. Cyberbullying charges may be difficult to deny because there is a “trail” of electronic messages (evidence) that will never go away. It is not a “he-said, she-said” situation. There is a permanent record of what was said. Therefore, you need a top-rated, savvy, experienced criminal defense attorney who knows how to show what was said was not a threat, was not intended to be a threat, or not taken as a threat.
Top-Rated Attorneys Defending Cyberbullying Charges
The dedicated, experienced, and zealous defense attorneys at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. have successfully represented thousands of clients on felony and misdemeanor charges in Oakland, Macomb, Wayne, Washtenaw, and Livingston Counties and throughout Michigan. We have a well-earned reputation for providing the highest quality defense and aggressive representation, while showing empathy and care for each client. Our attorneys have defended thousands of clients charged with cyberbullying charges and other state and federal crimes.
Call us today at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation or complete an online Request for Assistance Form. We will contact you promptly and find a way to help you.