Cal. Penal Code Section 653.2 is a crime is sometimes known as “indirect electronic harassment” or “indirect cyber-harassment.” It consists of using an electronic device to communicate information about a victim that might incite a third party to harass or harm him/her. Indirect electronic harassment is distinct from “direct electronic harassment” or cyberstalking under Penal Code 646.9 PC. With direct electronic harassment/cyberstalking, the defendant is the one who personally harassed or stalked the victim.
But with indirect electronic harassment under PC 653.2, the defendant only needs to post information on the internet that will encourage other people to harass or stalk the victim.
Cal. Penal Code Section 653.2 provides:
(a) Every person who, with intent to place another person in reasonable fear for his or her safety, or the safety of the other person’s immediate family, by means of an electronic communication device, and without consent of the other person, and for the purpose of imminently causing that other person unwanted physical contact, injury, or harassment, by a third party, electronically distributes, publishes, e-mails, hyperlinks, or makes available for downloading, personal identifying information, including, but not limited to, a digital image of another person, or an electronic message of a harassing nature about another person, which would be likely to incite or produce that unlawful action, is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in a county jail, by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by both that fine and imprisonment.
(b) For purposes of this section, “electronic communication device” includes, but is not limited to, telephones, cell phones, computers, Internet Web pages or sites, Internet phones, hybrid cellular/Internet/wireless devices, personal digital assistants (PDAs), video recorders, fax machines, or pagers. “Electronic communication” has the same meaning as the term is defined in Section 2510(12) of Title 18 of the United States Code.
(c) For purposes of this section, the following terms apply:
(1) “Harassment” means a knowing and willful course of conduct directed at a specific person that a reasonable person would consider as seriously alarming, seriously annoying, seriously tormenting, or seriously terrorizing the person and that serves no legitimate purpose.
(2) “Of a harassing nature” means of a nature that a reasonable person would consider as seriously alarming, seriously annoying, seriously tormenting, or seriously terrorizing of the person and that serves no legitimate purpose.
(Amended by Stats. 2009, Ch. 140, Sec. 144. (AB 1164) Effective January 1, 2010.)
If you are the victim of bogus allegations of violation of Cal. Penal Code Section 653.2, we can help you.