How a Lawyer Can Help With Internet Harassment Charges
Internet harassment, also known as cyberharassment or online harassment, can take many forms – from threatening messages and emails to stalking someone online. While some may brush off online harassment as harmless, it can cause significant emotional distress and disrupt victims’ lives. If you are facing internet harassment charges, consulting with a lawyer can help protect your rights and explore options to stop the harassment.
Understanding Internet Harassment Laws
Laws regarding online harassment vary by state, but may fall under categories like:
- Criminal harassment
- Intentional infliction of emotional distress
Federal laws can also apply if the harassment involves interstate communications. A lawyer can research the specific laws in your state and advise if pressing criminal charges or filing a civil lawsuit may be warranted.
Some key things a lawyer considers are:
- Whether the harassment would cause a reasonable person substantial emotional distress
- If the harasser acted with intent to harass, annoy, alarm or abuse
- If threats of violence were made
- If private sexual images were shared without consent
Building a Strong Case
A lawyer can help build a strong case by:
- Collecting and preserving evidence like screenshots, chat logs, voicemails, etc. 
- Identifying all applicable laws that may have been violated
- Interviewing witnesses who can corroborate the harassment
- Researching if the harasser has a history of similar behavior
Thorough documentation creates a paper trail and shows a pattern of abuse over time. This helps demonstrate the severity and impact of the harassment.
Sending Cease and Desist Letters
A lawyer can send a cease and desist letter demanding the harasser stop their behavior immediately. These letters outline consequences if the harassment continues, like potential criminal charges or a lawsuit. While not legally binding, these letters often successfully end harassment by making it clear you won’t tolerate it. 
Seeking Protective Orders
Your lawyer can petition the court for a protective or restraining order prohibiting contact by the harasser. Types of orders include:
- No contact orders
- Stay away orders
- Cyberbullying restraining orders
Violating these orders can result in fines or jail time. Orders provide legal recourse if the harassment persists. 
Negotiating with Prosecutors
If criminal charges are filed, your lawyer can negotiate with prosecutors on your behalf. This includes providing evidence and advocating for appropriate charges and penalties. They can work to ensure your voice is heard during the process.
Navigating the Criminal Justice System
A lawyer guides you through the complex criminal justice system by:
- Advising if you should cooperate with prosecutors or assert your right to remain silent
- Attending court hearings and meetings with you
- Keeping you updated on the status of the case
- Helping you understand and weigh any plea bargain offers
Their expertise prevents you from accidentally harming your case during the investigation and prosecution.
Filing a Civil Lawsuit
In a civil lawsuit, your lawyer can sue the harasser for monetary damages related to the harassment. Lawsuits hold offenders financially accountable and act as a severe deterrent against continued abuse.
You can potentially recover damages for:
- Emotional distress
- Lost wages
- Medical bills
- Reputational harm
If the harasser is found liable, they must pay these costs.
Removing Damaging Content
Your lawyer can take legal action to get damaging posts, pictures or videos removed from websites. They can file privacy complaints or lawsuits against websites or social media platforms that refuse to remove the content. Taking down embarrassing or harmful material can help ease the damage.
Advising on Appeals and Retrials
If you disagree with the outcome of a criminal case or civil lawsuit, your lawyer can manage the appeals process and argue for a retrial. They can point out any legal errors or flawed rulings. In some cases, convictions can be overturned or civil verdicts reversed.
Practical and Emotional Support
On top of legal help, a lawyer provides critical support as you navigate the challenges of pressing charges and confronting your harasser. They serve as your advisor and advocate, helping you make informed choices while saving you from directly interacting with an abusive person. Their counsel takes an emotional burden off your shoulders.
When to Hire an Internet Harassment Lawyer
Don’t wait to contact an internet harassment lawyer if you are:
- Unsure if you have legal options
- Overwhelmed by the harassment
- Experiencing emotional distress
- Worried the harassment may escalate
A consultation with a lawyer will provide clarity on your options and next steps. In many cases, prompt legal intervention can successfully stop the harassment. You don’t have to endure internet abuse – fight back with the law on your side.