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Can you get arrested over so called cyber harassment on facebook?

Los Angeles, CA |

Hello, while on facebook a few years ago, my old friend from college was a suggested friend, so I added her. I recently tried to send messages to this person and she replied. Then I continued replying and got no replies. I then was posting on her wall and I noticed she did not reply for some time. But all of a sudden I got a post on that wall saying please leave me alone now, and I wont press charges. What charges? What? Isnt harrasment when someone makes threats or insults or is trying to wreak some sort of benefit from another person? I was trying to talk to an old friend.

Attorney Answers 3


  1. No, you can't arrested for this, and no civilian can "press charges," only a District Attorney can do that after someone reports a crime to the police and the police in turn refer it to them for prosecution.

    Facebook is like any other form of communication with anyone, except that people seem to take it extremely seriously and seem to make it a big part of their interaction. If someone ignores your contact , take the hint and leave them alone.

    Avvo doesn't pay us for these responses, and I'm not your lawyer just because I answer this question or respond to any follow-up comments. If you want to hire me, please contact me. Otherwise, please don't expect a further response. We need an actual written agreement to form an attorney-client relationship. I'm only licensed in CA and you shouldn't rely on this answer, since each state has different laws, each situation is fact specific, and it's impossible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and documents at issue.


  2. You should have figured out at the time of the 2nd ignored message that no contact was desired. Further contact after that was insensitive. It was not, however, a crime. So, learn the nature of online boundaries from this incident. There is no way I can see for any charges.

    We do not have a client/attorney relationship until you make an appointment, we discuss your case face to face, I accept a retainer, and we explictly agree to enter into representation.


  3. This is another example of people on the Internet just spouting off to generate fear in the recipient. I don't think your actions would rise to the level of harassment and doubt very seriously that any local DA would pursue this case. But yes, learn your etiquette online.

    The recommendations in this answer are not considered legal advice for the purposes of ethical, legal and practical evaluation, nor does this recommendation create a retention of counsel agreement between us, wherein an attorney-client relationship or privilege exists. These recommendations should never be relied upon without first consulting an attorney in your jurisdiction. I am not your attorney, unless we enter into a written agreement fulfilling the terms of that agreement. The comments posted herein are purely for public educational purposes and public discourse on general legal topics. I presume the specific fact scenarios are only supposition and am thus commenting for the public's benefit and understanding of law. I am not soliciting you to hire me or my law firm, though in certain jurisdictions I may be able to refer you to an attorney that can help you or may consult with you for free.

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