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Cyberbullying is Officially Illegal in Michigan Now

Bullying can lead to chronic depression, anxiety, and even suicide.

We live in the cyber age, where people live so much of their lives online. Need a date? There are loads of apps to help you find the right person, plus apps for getting you transportation there and back, and sites you can visit for outfit ideas so you look your best. From getting groceries and movie watching, to business meetings and online shopping, there isn’t much you can’t do online these days. Unfortunately though, the internet is a double edged sword. While it serves many wonderful purposes, it also offers opportunities for cruelty and crime for those that make poor choices here in Michigan.

Cyberbullying is a growing problem in Michigan!

From Lansing and Ann Arbor, to Grand Rapids, Mt. Pleasant and Kalamazoo, cyberbullying is a problem all over Michigan. Particularly for teens and children. With the speed at which stories can spread, and the lack of self control so many people exhibit when watching things made available to them, cyberbullying has been held responsible for numerous teen suicides over the years. House Bill 5017, introduced by Representative Lucido last year, aimed to stop that.

Michigan has been trying to address cyberbullying for some time now.

In 2015, Governor Snyder signed Senate Bill 74 (now Public Act 478) into law, which made it a requirement for all Michigan schools to add cyberbullying to their anti-bullying policies. The legislation also required that the Michigan Department of Education create procedures for reporting this information to the state. But that wasn’t enough. Lawmakers felt that the act itself needed to be labelled a crime.

What does the new Michigan cyberbullying law say?

Our new law, Public Act 457 makes cyberbullying a crime in Michigan. It’s a misdemeanor, and anyone convicted of cyberbullying will face up to 93 days in jail, or a fine of up to $500. And that’s just for the first time. Anyone convicted of “a pattern of repeated harassment,” or intimidating behavior, will have a felony on their record. In that case you could be facing up to 5-years in prison, or $5,000 fine. If you continually harass someone to the point that it causes their death (suicide), you could be sentenced to a maximum of 10 years in prison, and/or a $10,000 fine. So, if you really want to understand what serious bullying is, just spend some time behind bars. They have lots or other inmates there that know how to bully you.

How does Michigan’s new law define cyberbullying?

Under the new law, Michigan defines cyberbullying as:

Posting a message or statement in a public media forum about any other person, if both of the following apply:

  • The message or statement is intended to place a person in fear of bodily harm or death and expresses an intent to commit violence against the person.
  • The message or statement is intended to communicate a threat or with knowledge that it will be viewed as a threat.

Almost all 50 states have outlawed cyberbullying!

According to the Cyberbullying Research Center, currently 48 of the 50 states, including Washington DC, have laws against online bullying. Even the federal government has a proposed law to make cyberbullying illegal in the U.S. Many states only joined the list recently, as many legislators believed cyberbullying didn’t need it’s own legislation. All states already had various criminal laws that could be applied to bullying behaviors, depending on the nature of the act. So many lawmakers argued that passing cyberbullying laws was a waste of time. Michigan, however, joined the ranks without much protest.

What can you do if you’re accused of cyberbullying in Michigan?

Now that cyberbullying is officially illegal in Michigan, if you’re accused of bullying someone online you could be facing very serious consequences. In that case, you’re going to need help from an aggressive and experienced criminal defense team. Whether it’s a crappy choice you made online, or something much more real-world, we can help. At The Kronzek Firm we’ve spent decades successfully helping people from all over the lower peninsula of Michigan to defend their freedoms. So call us at 866 766 5245 (866 7No Jail) and let us help you too.

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