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October 16, 2021 at 4:30 PM
by Pushkal Mishra
Cyber Stalking

If you’re facing federal cyberstalking criminal charges, you’ve found yourself in a very serious situation. You’re likely facing steep punishments in the form of high fines, long prison sentences, or possibly both. You’re also likely to be up against an incredibly skilled, trained, and experienced team of federal prosecutors. With all of these factors taken together, the process you’re facing is going to be a very challenging one.

You should never face a situation like this alone. When you’re up against a skilled legal team, you need an equally skilled one to represent and defend you. You need the expert federal criminal defense attorneys at Mishra X Trial Lawyers. From our experience to our expertise and specialties, we’re one of the most well-equipped criminal law firms to defend you against a federal charge.

In this post, we’ll give you a better sense of your situation, what to look for in a defense attorney, and why we believe we may be the best choice for you.

What’s the federal offense of cyberstalking?

Cyberstalking is the use of the internet to harass or threaten another person, practically speaking.

More specifically, cyberstalking charges are generally brought under 18 U.S.C. § 2261A(2), which reads as follows:

[Whoever] with the intent to kill, injure, harass, intimidate, or place under surveillance with intent to kill, injure, harass, or intimidate another person, uses the mail, any interactive computer service or electronic communication service or electronic communication system of interstate commerce, or any other facility of interstate or foreign commerce to engage in a course of conduct that—

(A) places that person in reasonable fear of the death of or serious bodily injury to a person . . . ; or

(B) causes, attempts to cause, or would be reasonably expected to cause substantial emotional distress to a person . . . ,

shall be punished as provided in section 2261(b) or section 2261B, as the case may be.

How does one get charged for cyberstalking?

You can be charged for conducts illustrated below and taken from real cases:

—A federal grand jury returned a one-count indictment against defendant, charging him with cyberstalking, where he secretly made a video recording of an adult female staying at his residence as an Airbnb guest. Defendant persisted in contacting the victim through Facebook accounts and demanded that she send him a sexually explicit video or he would send an explicit picture of her to her friends and family.

—A former technology professional was charged in a felony information with two counts of cyberstalking. He engaged in an extensive and escalating online campaign that targeted two individuals known to him. That campaign involved death threats, body shaming, and hate speech.

—One defendant charged with multiple counts of cyberstalking repeatedly sent a victim unsolicited online messages over a period of several years. When she blocked him from contacting her from one of her online accounts, he created new online accounts and then continued sending her messages, including graphic messages in which he insulted the victim, demanded she engage in sex acts with him, and threatened to sexually assault her. When the victim demanded that he stop harassing her, he threatened to kill her and her family. The same defendant also harassed another victim, who deactivated her social media accounts after he solicited her to engage in a sexual relationship with him. Later, after she reactivated her social media accounts, he sent her numerous online messages threatening to kill her unless she responded to his demands for sex acts.

—A Pasadena man was indicted for cyberstalking when made a series of detailed threats to harm, rape, and kill victims he met in social and business settings. For example, after one victim reported prior threats from defendant to law enforcement authorities, he allegedly sent the victim an email stating in part: “someone I can guarantee will come out and first bash you head in, rape you slash your throat and burn your car and house.”

What can I expect if I am convicted?

Generally speaking, a conviction for cyberstalking leads to a maximum statutory penalty of five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. Specifically though, any sentence would be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.

As an example, where defendant threatened to distribute explicit photos of the victim if she ceased communicating with him or failed to provide more photos when asked, he was convicted and sentenced to 33 months in prison and 3 years of supervised release.

In another case from 2020, defendant sent harassing and intimidating messages to the victim (who was a prior intimate partner of defendant), repeatedly threatening victim’s physical safety and privacy. The court there sentenced defendant to 46 months of imprisonment and 3 years supervised release following imprisonment. The court also ordered defendant to pay restitution for hotel costs the victim incurred after she was forced to flee her home to hide from defendant.

Choosing a defense attorney

Under such serious circumstances, your best chance at a positive outcome in your case is finding a federal crimes defense attorney with the skill and experience to represent you effectively. Finding such an attorney, though, may be easier said than done. Many people find a defense attorney by referral or personal acquaintance. If you don’t know one, or at least don’t know one qualified for a federal case, you’ll need to know what to look for as you do your research.

Generally, you’ll want to look for an attorney who’s experienced and has a track record of positive results. There are a variety of ways in which a defense attorney can specialize in a particular area of practice, so you’ll also want one who has that experience and positive track record trying cases like yours. Ideally, you’ll want one whose clients are happy to recommend them to you and have faced similar charges to yours.

Why Mishra X Trial Lawyers?

We’ve written about some of the specific benefits of working with our legal team previously on our blog. To summarize, though, we stand out because of our experience, variety of specialities, communication style, and willingness to fight for the best result possible given the circumstances of your case. We particularly specialize in federal cybercrimes, an area of law which many other older firms may not practice or fully understand. We’ve practiced federal criminal law for years, and worked under federal judges in the past, giving us a unique understanding of the federal trial process and a better sense of how to work and communicate with a judge.

Get a consultation with us now!

If you’re in Southern California and need a top-level legal team to fight a federal charge of cyberstalking, contact the Irvine-based federal criminal defense attorneys at Mishra X Trial Lawyers. We have the experience and expertise you need to get the best result possible in your case. Schedule your free consultation with us now or call us at 949-343-9734.