Is texting harassing semi-threatening messages by phone against the law?

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Is texting harassing semi-threatening messages by phone against the law?

I met a guy through an on-line game. We exchanged cell numbers and began calling and sending each other text messages by phone. We didn’t hit it off and now he is upset. He has begun sending me harassing borderline threatening messages through text to my cell phone. I probably responded to 2 or 3 of these messages but never threateningly. I currently live in CA; he kives in SC. I would like to know what the law is in regard to this kind of matter. I have saved as much of the messages as I could.

Asked on April 15, 2011 under Criminal Law, California

Answers:

MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

It is never a good idea to interact and respond to someone who is sending you threatening text messages. Depending on the state laws in which he leaves and depending on the state laws in which you live, sending text messages that are threatening or harassing can be a crime.  However, keep in mind that in many situations, unless he has made other physical acts towards acting out those or completing those threats, the most you might be able to get is some sort of restraining order. Talk to the police but also talk to a civil law attorney and see if this is something that can be dealt with solely through a lawyer or with police involvement. If you are a minor and he is as well, there may be other issues and of course if you are a minor and he is not, there are a whole host of other laws that may come into play. Be safe and make sure you ignore all text messages received by this person.


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