Cyberbullying Laws in Pennsylvania
A bully convicted of a criminal offense may face fines, imprisonment, or both.
HarassmentHarassment is punished according to the underlying behavior of the offense. One example is repeated conduct meant to annoy or alarm the victim that the bully engages in with no legitimate purpose. This is a summary offense, which may incur a fine, several months in jail, or both.
Repeated CommunicationA more serious example of harassment includes repeatedly communicating with a victim in a threatening manner, anonymously, or at extremely inconvenient hours. These behaviors are third degree misdemeanors, which incur a fine of up to $2,500, up to one year in jail, or both.
StalkingStalking is a first degree misdemeanor, which incurs a fine of up to $10,000, at least five years in prison, or both.
Third Degree FelonyWhen the offense is a second or subsequent stalking conviction, or a first stalking conviction that occurs in violation of a protective order, or after a conviction for certain other crimes (for example, assault), the crime increases to a third degree felony. Penalties include a fine of up to $15,000, at least seven years in prison, or both.
Cyberbullies may be prosecuted criminally, face consequences proscribed by school policy, or both. But that is not all. Victims of cyberbullying may also bring civil cases to recover money from the bully to compensate the victim for the emotional, social, or financial harm caused by cyberbullying. For example, a civil court judge may award money damages to offset the cost of therapy for the emotional trauma that the bully caused, or to pay for property damage caused by the crime.