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Topic Tuesday



This week's topic is harassing communications. Harassing communications is against Arkansas Law, statute code 5-71-209. Harassing communications is similar to harassment but is done with an electronic device.

     According to Arkansas law, a person commits the offense of harassing communications if: with the purpose to harass, annoy, or alarm another person, the person: Communicates with a person, anonymously or otherwise, by telephone, telegraph, mail, email, message delivered to an electronic device, or any other form of written or electronic communication, in a manner likely to harass, annoy, or cause alarm; makes a telephone call or causes a telephone to ring repeatedly, with no purpose of legitimate communication, regardless of whether a conversation ensues; knowingly permits any telephone or electronic device under his or her control to be used for any purpose prohibited by this section; threatens by telephone, in writing, or by electronic communication, including without limitation by text message, social media post, facsimile transmission, email, and internet service to take an action against another person that is known by the person to be unlawful; or places two (2) or more telephone calls anonymously, at an hour or hours known by the person to be inconvenient to another person, in an offensively repetitious manner or without a legitimate purpose of communication, and by this action knowingly annoys or alarms the other person.      It can also be considered harassing communications if: with the purpose to frighten, intimidate, or distress emotionally another person, the person communicates by telephone to another person that a person has been injured, killed, or is ill when the communication is known by the person to be false; or communicates with another person by any method described in subdivision (b)(1) of this section, without legitimate purpose in a manner the person knows, or reasonably should know, would frighten, intimidate, or cause emotional distress to a similarly situated person of reasonable sensibilities.     
     An offense involving use of a telephone or electronic device may be prosecuted in the county where the defendant was located when he or she used the telephone or electronic device, or in the county where the telephone made to ring by the defendant or the electronic device that received a message or email from the defendant was located.

Harassing communications is a misdemeanor offense that is handled within District Court. Harassment charges are normally filed with an affidavit to the District Court with evidence presented by the victim, such as phone records, text messages, pictures, videos, etc.

Next Topic Tuesday will inform readers about disorderly conduct.

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