Have Legal Questions? Ask a Lawyer Now.
The answer may depend on the precise nature of the communication and how it occurred.
A potential charge would be criminal harassment. Under Iowa Criminal Code 708.7, a person commits harassment when, with intent to intimidate, annoy, or alarm another person, the person does any of the following:
(1) Communicates with another by telephone, telegraph, writing, or via electronic communication without legitimate purpose and in a manner likely to cause the other person annoyance or harm.
(2) Places a simulated explosive or simulated incendiary device in or near a building, vehicle, airplane, railroad engine or railroad car, or boat occupied by another person.
(3) Orders merchandise or services in the name of another, or to be delivered to another, without the other person's knowledge or consent.
(4) Reports or causes to be reported false information to a law enforcement authority implicating another in some criminal activity, knowing that the information is false, or reports the alleged occurrence of a criminal act, knowing the act did not occur.
b. A person commits harassment when the person, purposefully and without legitimate purpose, has personal contact with another person, with the intent to threaten, intimidate, or alarm that other person. As used in this section, unless the context otherwise requires, "personal contact" means an encounter in which two or more people are in visual or physical proximity to each other. "Personal contact" does not require a physical touching or oral communication, although it may include these types of contacts.
2. A person commits harassment in the first degree when the person commits harassment involving a threat to commit a forcible felony, or commits harassment and has previously been convicted of harassment three or more times under this section or any similar statute during the preceding ten years.
Harassment in the first degree is an aggravated misdemeanor.
3. A person commits harassment in the second degree when the person commits harassment involving a threat to commit bodily injury, or commits harassment and has previously been convicted of harassment two times under this section or any similar statute during the preceding ten years.
Harassment in the second degree is a serious misdemeanor.
4. Any other act of harassment is harassment in the third degree. Harassment in the third degree is a simple misdemeanor.
You should make no more statements to the police. You are correct that they may contact the company hosting the email address and seek information on the IP address and the person opening that account. Depending on the statements made, you may face harassment charges or, potentially, more serious terroristic threats if threats were in fact made that would reasonably put the person in fear of harm.
DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.
The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).