In Colorado and across the country, children grow up differently than they did in the past. Nowadays, kids have access to the internet, electronic devices and social media. If your son or daughter engages in cyberbullying, however, he or she may end up with a criminal record that lasts a lifetime.
Cyberbullying is illegal in the Centennial State. Like with all criminal offenses, though, prosecutors must prove each element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. Accordingly, to help protect your son or daughter, you should understand Section 18-9-111 of the Colorado Revised Statutes.
Colorado law prevents anyone, whether an adult or a minor, from using a telephone, data network, text message, instant message or computer system to threaten, harass or intimidate another person. An individual who uses electronic means to make obscene or suggestive comments may also violate state law. More serious conduct, however, may cross the line from harassment to stalking.
In most cases, cyberbullying is a misdemeanor offense. That classification, though, may not mean that punishment is simply a slap on the wrist. On the contrary, upon conviction, an individual may face up to a year in jail. He or she may also have to pay a fine of up to $1,000.
While cyberbullying is a crime, it also likely violates school policy. That is, every district in the state must have a policy that addresses bullying. If your son or daughter runs afoul of the district’s policy, he or she may face a variety of educational consequences. These likely include detention, suspension or expulsion. Unfortunately, while not usually as serious as a criminal record, educational discipline may harm your child’s future.
You do not want the young one in your family to face the consequences that come with a criminal record. Fortunately, by understanding what Colorado law and school policy say about cyberbullying, you can help your kids stay out of trouble. Alternatively, if prosecutors have already charged your son or daughter with a crime, you can better plan mounting an effective defense.