Attorney Defending Cyberbullying Charges in Michigan
Michigan’s Premier Cyberbullying Criminal Defense Law Firm. Top-rated defense attorneys who are on the cutting edge of internet sophistication and criminal defense of cybercrimes. We are not afraid to win.
So-called “cyberbullying” has been in the news for a number of years now, and most people are familiar with the term and what it means. 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.
If you are charged or under investigation for any type of internet crime, like cyberbullying, 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?
Basically, cyberbullying is sending messages or posting information online in a way that causes another person to feel threatened or harassed. Technically, 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) which is intended to place that person in fear of bodily harm or death and which expresses an intent to commit violence against that person and the message or statement is posted with the intent to communicate a threat with knowledge that it will be viewed as a threat.
The underlined words above are particularly important to top-rated, experienced criminal defense attorneys because they provide an avenue to possibly getting the charges dismissed or reduced. Many times, proving intent is difficult 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 it would be viewed as a threat by the other person. So, it is a 2-pronged definition; not only must the sender intend it to be a threat, they also must know it would be viewed as a threat.
Because intent cannot be objectively proven, the prosecutor will rely on circumstantial evidence. The strength of circumstantial evidence is often subjective and the government is likely to take a very different view of things than the defense. This is where a great criminal defense lawyer adds the most value because he will have the skill necessary to admit the evidence in the light most favorable to his 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 which 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 which results in 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 the charges dismissed because this is a high standard of injury and it often is very difficult to prove the injury was the result of messaging.
Defending cyberbullying charges
If you have been charged with cyberbullying or are questioned about it by the police, it is important to remain silent, not discuss it with the police, and call LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. for a free consultation. We 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 should not be considered a threat, was not intended to be a threat, and/or was not taken as a threat.
LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C., your experienced cyberbullying defense attorneys
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. Call us today at (248) 263-6800 or complete a Request for Assistance Form and we will contact you promptly.