The act of transmitting specific materials with the aim to cause distress or anxiety under Section 1 of the Malicious Communication Act 1988 is now a summary only offence, which means it may only be dealt with in the Magistrates' Court. The maximum penalty for this offence is imprisonment for one year.
Malicious communications are defined as letters, emails, online posts and other transmissions of a threatening nature or intended to harass, alarm or annoy. They can be written or electronic and can be direct or through another person. For example, if you send an email to many people at once containing a virus, that would be regarded as malicious communication. So would writing something offensive on an internet forum and posting a link to it. There are several examples on page 3 of the handout provided by the CPS.
There are two types of malicious communication: public and private. With public malicious communications, the intention is that others should see them. This could be anything from graffiti on buildings to tweets to blogs that anyone can read. It can also include messages posted on social networking sites like Facebook or MySpace. Private communications are those sent directly from one person to another, for example, emails, texts, phone calls and personal visits. They do not have to be made publicly to constitute malicious communication.
These are the 1988 Malicious Communications Act and the 1997 Protection from Harassment Act. 1. The act of sending letters or other forms of communication with the intention of causing discomfort or concern.
There are two major items of legislation to be mindful of while writing emails and letters. These are the 1988 Malicious Communications Act and the 1997 Protection from Harassment Act. 1. The act of sending letters or other communications with the goal to cause distress or concern.
Malicious communications are a criminal punishable by jail, fines, or community service, depending on the gravity of the offense. To convict you, the prosecution must establish beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed the crime of transmitting harmful communications.
The transmission of a single message that causes fear to its recipient can be considered harassment under certain circumstances. If you send several such messages, then you have been found guilty of harassment and may be sentenced as such. Depending on the state, harassment may be an offense under local laws as well as federal law. In some states, sending repeated anonymous threats over the internet would be considered harassment.
States define harassment different ways, but usually include any type of communication that causes fear in another person. This could be as simple as repeatedly calling someone's work number until they hang up, or sending multiple emails with the same subject line (e.g., "You're going to die."). States also consider whether the communication was made in a place where it could be heard by others (e.g., inside a house), if it used language known to be associated with violence (such as "kill" or "murder"), and whether it included specific details about the victim's family or workplace.
In addition to being punished by law, victims of harassment may seek civil remedies from their employer or against perpetrators individually.
Section 1 of the Malicious Communications Act 1988 ("MCA 1988") states that anybody who transmits an indecent, excessively offensive, obscene, or threatening/menacing communication to another person intends to cause the receiver grief or worry. It can be punished by up to five years in prison.
The MCA 1988 covers "indecent" communications, which are defined as follows:
"Indecent" means grossly vulgar, obscene, or indecent at the time of publication and of a kind likely to offend against the standards of morality accepted by reasonable people.
According to section 3(2) of the MCA 1988, a threat/menacing communication is one that threatens or menaces another person with intent to induce fear of injury to any person.
A threat/menacing communication is also one that contains a reference to an act of violence where such an act is intended or likely to create fear.
Threats/menacing communications include but are not limited to communications made in letters, emails, online, through social media, etc.
The MCA 1988 applies to all parts of the world.
If you transmit an indecent, excessively offensive, obscene, or threatening/menacing communication you could be arrested and imprisoned for up to five years.
There are two major items of legislation to be mindful of while writing emails and letters. These are the 1988 Malicious Communications Act and the 1997 Protection from Harassment Act. 1. The act of sending letters or other forms of communication with the intention of causing discomfort or concern. 2. The term used to describe a person who sends these types of messages for financial gain.
In order for something to be considered malicious, it must cause harm or distress. For example, if I write a letter to an ex-employer stating that I am going to report them to the government for not paying their workers enough, this would be considered harassment. However, if I send my former employer good reviews on social media, this would not be considered harassment as it is not intended to cause them harm nor do they suffer any form of loss as a result.
The main thing to remember when writing letters and emails is that you should only write about matters in which you have actual evidence. If you make unfounded allegations, you could find yourself in trouble with police or your target party.
Police officers have the power to request your telephone records from your service provider. They can also demand your mobile phone account details when applying for a warrant. Your communications company will usually hand over your information upon request. However, you have rights under data protection laws to withhold information that is exempt from disclosure.
Section 14-277.7-Transmitting Threats (a) A person commits a Class 1 misdemeanor if, without lawful authority, he willfully threatens to physically injure the person or that person's child, sibling, spouse, or dependent, or willfully threatens to damage the property of another; (2) the threat is communicated; and (3) the threat is carried out. Willful means intentional.
The crime of making a false alarm requires proof that: (1) the defendant made a false report; (2) with intent to frighten, intimidate, or harass someone; (3) causing public alarm. Making a false alarm can be a misdemeanor or felony depending on the circumstances. False alarms that cause physical injury, damage to property, or create a risk of imminent physical injury or damage are felonies. Misdemeanors may be punished by up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500. False alarms that cause emotional distress do not constitute a criminal offense unless the defendant intends to cause such distress.
The crime of disorderly conduct includes both willful and malicious transmissions of threatening communications. "Willful" means done intentionally without legal justification or excuse. "Malicious" means done without legal justification or excuse, but without intent to harm. If you send several emails over an extended period of time, it might be considered repetitive harassment and could subject you to prosecution for disorderly conduct.
It is also a crime to make terroristic threats.