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RobertJDFL, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 13493
Experience:  Experienced in multiple areas of the law.
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I have a question about verbal non threating abuse or

Customer Question

I have a question about verbal non threating abuse or insulting emails
sent over facebook from Florida to New York over facebook?
Can I be arrested or prosecuted for making non threating verbal insults in email messages over facebook to family relatives?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  RobertJDFL replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for using Just Answer. I look forward to assisting you.

Even though your messages are not threatening, they could be considered harassment under New York law.

Aggravated harassment in the second degree is considered more serious than a straight harassment charge. This offense is defined as acting with the intent to annoy, threaten, or alarm another person and:

  1. Communicating with them or causing someone to communicate with them in a way likely to cause annoyance or alarm, or
  2. Shoving, kicking, hitting, etc. another person because of their race, color, national origin, or religion.

This criminal offense is classified as an A Misdemeanor charge which carries a potential 1 year in jail.

One or two emails likely wouldn't rise to the level of harassment. But if you are constantly sending messages, and the person or persons tell you to stop, go away, not to contact them again, etc., and you continue, you run the risk that they could file a complaint with the police which could result in arrest and prosecution.

If you need clarification or additional information, please REPLY and I'll be happy to assist you further. Thank you.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
What does the law state in Florida about non verbal email harassment?
so you are saying they have to say stop in writing?
I have sent like 4-6 message via facebook to new York relatives and many to
a Florida relative? They have yet to say stop in writing
I see a therapist and psychiatrist my psychologist told me to write all the info
down in a letter but not send it.
Expert:  RobertJDFL replied 1 year ago.

The laws in Florida are essentially the same. Under Florida law, a person who willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly follows, harasses, or cyberstalks another person commits the offense of stalking, a misdemeanor of the first degree, which is punishable by up to a year in jail.

And no, they don't have to tell you to stop -that's not a requirement of the law, though if they do tell you to stop, that's a clear indication not to continue sending messages. I would suggest that sending 4-6 messages or more could be considered harassment. If they haven't complained to authorities, don't keep pushing your luck. I think your doctor's idea to write down your thoughts and then not send them (delete them, or save them on your computer but never send them) is a far better choice.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ok I understand but they have contact the police already.
How can they prosecute me from New York to Florida?
They never at any time told me to stop sending the messages
It was like two messages a few weeks ago and three messages recently
The first set of message were done via my personal account and the second
set of messages were done via a fake profile completely via facebook
The emotional distress and perverted thing these relative did to me as a child
do not play a role in the matter? I am just venting about the issue once again
there are no threating verbal comments just the truth about what they did to me
as a child when I lived near them or was in contact with them as child
Expert:  Miel-cssm replied 1 year ago.
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Expert:  RobertJDFL replied 1 year ago.

They could prosecute you in New York by charging you there and getting a warrant for your arrest and extraditing you. I do think because this is a misdemeanor charge though, it's unlikely they would do so. Also, remember that just because a person files a police report doesn't necessary mean you would be charged - the final decision whether to file is left to the prosecutor's office, and they have to be be able to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Furthermore, harassment requires that they prove intent --if your intent was not to annoy, harass, alarm, etc., then all of the elements of the crime haven't been met and there can be no conviction. Intent is shown through the circumstances and what what done. Setting up a fake profile to send messages suggests that you wanted to harass them, but the other explanation could also be you didn't want your family to be able to contact you.

Unfortunately, the awful things that your relatives did to you as a child do not excuse you doing something potentially criminal. Two wrongs do not make a right, as they say. And, I must stress again that the messages do not have to necessarily be threatening in nature. If you annoy, or cause alarm to them, that can be enough to be charged with harassment.