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Cyberstalking is a Crime in Illinois

Posted on in Cybercrime

A little over a year ago, Naperville Illinois resident Travis Edwards was convicted of computer fraud, computer tampering and cyberstalking related to his ex-girlfriend, who was attending Northern Illinois University. Angry over his girlfriend breaking up with him, Edwards began making, deleting and altering purchases using his ex-girlfriend's email, social and financial accounts. Calling himself "Hacker X", Edwards also "made comments about purchasing Chicago Bears tickets, stealing identities and altering passwords". When he began threatening her with physical harm, the ex-girlfriend finally contacted NIU's police department

Edwards later admitted to NIU police that he had threatened to hurt his ex-girlfriend by sending numerous email messages to her, but said he would have never acted on them. Edwards also states that he had deleted items on her Facebook account and attempted to buy images from an internet service using his ex's bank account information. If convicted of cyberstalking, Edwards could be looking at spending three years in jail in addition to court fines and costs.

According to Illinois law, cyberstalking, aggravated cyberstalking, sending obscene messages and electronic harassment is the act of someone "transmitting a threat of immediate or future bodily harm, sexual assault, confinement, or restraint" towards a particular individual or a family member of that individual. Cyberstalking is also considered illegal when the person or family member of the person being cyberstalked experiences "reasonable apprehension of immediate or future bodily harm, sexual assault, confinement or restraint.”

A first conviction of cyberstalking carries a Class 4 felony grade, with further convictions  considered Class 3 felonies, carrying the possibility of a two to five year sentence in the state penitentiary. In addition to computers, cyberstalking also includes the use of any communication electronically transferred through signals, writings, signs, sounds or data using photo-optical, electromagnetic or photoelectric systems.

However, cyberstalking is a relatively new crime, and there is a fine line between hurtful - yet legal - Internet behavior, and cyberstalking. If you've been accused of cyberstalking in Illinois, hire an experienced Chicago criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible.

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