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What to Know about Arizona’s Cyberbullying Laws

October 11, 2019

Cyberbullying is a type of crime that has grown as digital technologies have become ever more integrated into daily life. And, unfortunately, cyberbullying can have the same negative impacts as conventional bullying. In fact, it may even be worse due to the lasting record of cyberbullying incidents that remain on social media or other publicly visible areas of the web. To combat this type of harassment and hold individuals accountable, Arizona has implemented cyberbullying laws. Read below to learn more about these laws, as well as what constitutes cyberbullying.

Arizona has had anti-cyberbullying laws in place since 2012.

The first cyberbullying laws in Arizona were passed in 2012, and restrictions have only become stricter in the years following. The law that covers most cyberbullying offenses is ARS 13- 2921(A). This law states that an individual commits cyberbullying harassment if they contact or cause communication with another individual intending to harass, alarm, or annoy the person. For example, sending threatening messages via email or social media can constitute cyberbullying. Posting naked photos or videos of an ex-partner, sometimes called “revenge porn,” is also classified as a form of cyberbullying and is a Class 5 felony punishable by up to one year in prison.

Cyberbullying is punishable with jail time.

Any type of cyberbullying can be punished with jail time. Convictions may also include charges of blackmail, stalking, or hacking, which can lead to further punishment. On its own, cyberbullying is considered a misdemeanor offense, which can carry fines of up to $2,500 and a maximum jail sentence of 6 months.

Arizona schools are obligated to implement anti-cyberbullying policies.  

It is not just the justice system that is responsible for enforcing anti-cyberbullying policies. Arizona law, specifically ARS 15-341, dictates that schools must implement policies that prevent students from engaging in harassment, intimidation, and bullying through electronic networks. Districts are responsible for defining harassment and creating rules for electronic devices used on school grounds.

If you or your child is facing a cyberbullying charge, it is essential to hire a trusted criminal defense attorney to defend your rights and your family’s reputation. Janet Altschuler is an advocate for her clients, and she has been practicing law in Tucson for more than two decades. Call her office at (520) 247-1789 for a consultation.