Under Illinois cyberstalking law, you may be charged with stalking through the use of electronic media. In an era in which technology is changing at breathtaking speed, cases like this are increasingly common.
If you are approached by police on suspicion of cyberstalking, contact me immediately. Once retained, I can advise police that you are unwilling to answer questions and I can protect your rights. It could mean the difference between being charged with a crime and being left alone.
Do not try to explain the situation to police yourself. What sounds like a reasonable explanation to you may end up giving the state just the evidence it needs to convict you. Be advised that police generally need a warrant to search your computer for evidence of the cyberstalking unless some other exception to the warrant requirement exists. (See our related blog posts Can Police Search your Computer? and Fighting the Police Search of Your Computer).
If you are charged with cyberstalking, an experienced attorney can help you present your best defense. Was the search legal? Can the state prove you committed the offense knowingly? Even if police acted properly and the evidence against you is overwhelming, I may be able to negotiate a more favorable plea agreement than you could on your own.
Under Illinois law, you commit cyberstalking when you:
- knowingly, surreptitiously, and without lawful justification, place tracking software on an electronic communication device as a means of harassing another person. You must have threatened the other person or their family with immediate or future bodily harm, sexual assault, confinement or restraint. This offense also applies if you simply caused a reasonable fear of such harm.
- Use electronic communications directed at a specific person, that you knew or should have known would cause a reasonable person to fear for their or a third person’s safety or suffer other emotional distress.
- Use electronic communications to knowingly and without lawful justification at least twice to harass another person, and you transmitted a threat directed to that person or their family of immediate or future bodily harm, sexual assault, confinement, or restraint, or you caused the other person or their family to fear such harm.
- Solicit a third party to commit the cyberstalking for you.
- Post an accessible website for at least 24 hours containing threats against the other person.
Cyberstalking includes the use of spyware or other types of electronic monitoring.
Cyberstalking is a Class 4 felony, punishable by up to 1 to 3 years in prison. Repeat offenses are a Class 3 felony, punishable by 2 to 5 years in prison.
For further information, see our blogs at New Cyberstalking Law in Illinois and Cyberstalking Law Does Not Violate First Amendment
©2023 Matt Keenan. This website is designed for general information only. The information presented at this website should not be construed as formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship.