Social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter are common forums for communication in Michigan. However, when a person believes a post is not so friendly, they may accuse the person who made the post of cyberbullying — a crime in Michigan that could lead to jail time.
Cyberbullying is a criminal offense in Michigan
In March 2019, a law making cyberbullying a crime in Michigan became effective. Posting Internet messages in a public media forum such as Facebook that are meant to put a person in fear of injury or death is now a crime, punishable as a 93-day misdemeanor. Prosecutors will likely see the law as a compliment to Michigan’s stalking law. In addition, some prosecutors may believe that this charge will be levied against more people in the future due to the prevalence of social media in our society.
Is this law fair?
The first person charged under this law in Kent County had allegedly placed a comical image of him holding a bomb in a purported effort to intimidate his neighbors. However, some criminal defense attorneys believe charges under this new law are unwarranted. These posts are sometimes obvious jokes and that the average person would not take the posts seriously. However, what may be an obvious joke to one person may amount to criminal conduct in the eyes of the police and prosecutors.
Seek legal advice for more information on cyberbullying
Despite the fact that a person may mean no real harm when making a post on social media, cyberbullying is a crime in Michigan and can lead to jail time. This post does not contain legal advice, so those accused of cyberbullying in Michigan will want to seek the advice of a criminal defense attorney to learn more about their rights and options.