There is nothing more annoying than that person who insists on constantly emailing, texting, messaging, tweeting, etc. after you have asked them to stop. Sadly, this can happen fairly often at the end of a break up with a romantic partner or even platonic friends. What can one do to stop it?
Practical Non-legal Suggestions
Depending on what method of communication is being used, often you can easily block the person’s phone number if the communication is originating from the phone. Most phone carriers allow you to do this online or you can stop by a local store for assistance. Some carriers require you to update your blocked numbers every 90 days unless you pay for a service to keep them in place. Be sure you speak with your phone carrier about their policy. The downside to this; however, is if the person decides to use multiple phones or changes their number to contact you. This may require you to change your phone number, which is an inconvenience for you, but may fix your problem. You should only give your new number out to those you trust will not give it to the harassing person and do not put in in any social media profiles.
Social media and email offers similar blocking options. You should check with the social media outlet to see what options you have. Before blocking the person, send one more communication to state that you are asking them to cease any further communication you (and your immediate family if applicable.)
If you have had the person come to your house or place of business, you may want to add that they are not to come about your property or workplace as well. Doing this in some form of writing is helpful should legal action need to be taken; you can provide evidence of your notice to the person to stop contacting you. A civil restraining order may be necessary to prevent the harassing person from contacting you.
Civil Restraining Orders – What is your relationship with the harassing person?
If the harassing person is one of the following:
(1) Are current or former spouses;
(2) Are persons of opposite sex who live together or have lived together;
(3) Are related as parents and children, including others acting in loco parentis to a minor child, or as grandparents and grandchildren. For purposes of this subdivision, an aggrieved party may not obtain an order of protection against a child or grandchild under the age of 16;
(4) Have a child in common;
(5) Are current or former household members;
(6) Are persons of the opposite sex who are in a dating relationship or have been in a dating relationship. For purposes of this subdivision, a dating relationship is one wherein the parties are romantically involved over time and on a continuous basis during the course of the relationship. A casual acquaintance or ordinary fraternization between persons in a business or social context is not a dating relationship.
You may be entitled to a domestic violence restraining order pursuant to Chapter 50B of the North Carolina General Statutes depending on the substance of the communication, as well as the number of times they are communicating with you, and if the action creates substantial emotional distress for you.
If this person does not fall into one of these categories, you may need to look at Chapter 50C of the North Carolina General Statutes to see if you would qualify for a Civil No Contact Order. This would be the relevant statute if, for example, you had a friendship that has turned sour.
North Carolina has a law against cyberstalking. Below is the text of that law:
(a) The following definitions apply in this section:
(1) Electronic communication. – Any transfer of signs, signals, writing, images, sounds, data, or intelligence of any nature, transmitted in whole or in part by a wire, radio, computer, electromagnetic, photoelectric, or photo-optical system.
(2) Electronic mail. – The transmission of information or communication by the use of the Internet, a computer, a facsimile machine, a pager, a cellular telephone, a video recorder, or other electronic means sent to a person identified by a unique address or address number and received by that person.
(b) It is unlawful for a person to:
(1) Use in electronic mail or electronic communication any words or language threatening to inflict bodily harm to any person or to that person’s child, sibling, spouse, or dependent, or physical injury to the property of any person, or for the purpose of extorting money or other things of value from any person.
(2) Electronically mail or electronically communicate to another repeatedly, whether or not conversation ensues, for the purpose of abusing, annoying, threatening, terrifying, harassing, or embarrassing any person.
(3) Electronically mail or electronically communicate to another and to knowingly make any false statement concerning death, injury, illness, disfigurement, indecent conduct, or criminal conduct of the person electronically mailed or of any member of the person’s family or household with the intent to abuse, annoy, threaten, terrify, harass, or embarrass.
(4) Knowingly permit an electronic communication device under the person’s control to be used for any purpose prohibited by this section.
(c) Any offense under this section committed by the use of electronic mail or electronic communication may be deemed to have been committed where the electronic mail or electronic communication was originally sent, originally received in this State, or first viewed by any person in this State.
(d) Any person violating the provisions of this section shall be guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor.
(e) This section does not apply to any peaceable, nonviolent, or nonthreatening activity intended to express political views or to provide lawful information to others. This section shall not be construed to impair any constitutionally protected activity, including speech, protest, or assembly. (2000-125, s. 1; 2000-140, s. 91.)
If you feel that the person harassing you has violated this law, you can go to your local magistrate’s office and pursue pressing charges. Your case would then be handled through the criminal justice system, and you would work with your local district attorney’s office with regard to that case.
A Raleigh Attorney is Available to Consult about Your Harassment Case
Addressing continued harassment can be very stressful and upsetting, as well as disruptive to your life. If you are facing such a situation, we would encourage you to contact an attorney that can help you understand what various legal remedies are available to help you. Our attorneys have handled many cases involving both domestic violence orders and civil no contact orders, and are available for a consultation to assist you.
You can schedule a consultation with our Raleigh family attorney’s by calling 919-301-8843 or by completing the form below.
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