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Legal Statutes: Ohio

UPDATED October 12, 2012

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Chapter 2917. Offenses Against the Public Peace

back to top2917.21 Telecommunications harassment

(A) No person shall knowingly make or cause to be made a telecommunication, or knowingly permit a telecommunication to be made from a telecommunications device under the person's control, to another, if the caller does any of the following:

(1) Fails to identify the caller to the recipient of the telecommunication and makes the telecommunication with purpose to harass or abuse any person at the premises to which the telecommunication is made, whether or not actual communication takes place between the caller and a recipient;

(2) Describes, suggests, requests, or proposes that the caller, the recipient of the telecommunication, or any other person engage in sexual activity, and the recipient or another person at the premises to which the telecommunication is made has requested, in a previous telecommunication or in the immediate telecommunication, that the caller not make a telecommunication to the recipient or to the premises to which the telecommunication is made;

(3) During the telecommunication, violates section 2903.21 of the Revised Code;

(4) Knowingly states to the recipient of the telecommunication that the caller intends to cause damage to or destroy public or private property, and the recipient, any member of the recipient's family, or any other person who resides at the premises to which the telecommunication is made owns, leases, resides, or works in, will at the time of the destruction or damaging be near or in, has the responsibility of protecting, or insures the property that will be destroyed or damaged;

(5) Knowingly makes the telecommunication to the recipient of the telecommunication, to another person at the premises to which the telecommunication is made, or to those premises, and the recipient or another person at those premises previously has told the caller not to make a telecommunication to those premises or to any persons at those premises.

(B) No person shall make or cause to be made a telecommunication, or permit a telecommunication to be made from a telecommunications device under the person's control, with purpose to abuse, threaten, or harass another person.

(C)(1) Whoever violates this section is guilty of telecommunications harassment.

(2) A violation of division (A)(1), (2), (3), or (5) or (B) of this section is a misdemeanor of the first degree on a first offense and a felony of the fifth degree on each subsequent offense.

(3) Except as otherwise provided in division (C)(3) of this section, a violation of division (A)(4) of this section is a misdemeanor of the first degree on a first offense and a felony of the fifth degree on each subsequent offense. If a violation of division (A)(4) of this section results in economic harm of one thousand dollars or more but less than seven thousand five hundred dollars, telecommunications harassment is a felony of the fifth degree. If a violation of division (A)(4) of this section results in economic harm of seven thousand five hundred dollars or more but less than one hundred fifty thousand dollars, telecommunications harassment is a felony of the fourth degree. If a violation of division (A)(4) of this section results in economic harm of one hundred fifty thousand dollars or more, telecommunications harassment is a felony of the third degree.

(D) No cause of action may be asserted in any court of this state against any provider of a telecommunications service or information service, or against any officer, employee, or agent of a telecommunication service or information service, for any injury, death, or loss to person or property that allegedly arises out of the provider's, officer's, employee's, or agent's provision of information, facilities, or assistance in accordance with the terms of a court order that is issued in relation to the investigation or prosecution of an alleged violation of this section. A provider of a telecommunications service or information service, or an officer, employee, or agent of a telecommunications service or information service, is immune from any civil or criminal liability for injury, death, or loss to person or property that allegedly arises out of the provider's, officer's, employee's, or agent's provision of information, facilities, or assistance in accordance with the terms of a court order that is issued in relation to the investigation or prosecution of an alleged violation of this section.

(E) As used in this section:

(1) “Economic harm” means all direct, incidental, and consequential pecuniary harm suffered by a victim as a result of criminal conduct. “Economic harm” includes, but is not limited to, all of the following:

(a) All wages, salaries, or other compensation lost as a result of the criminal conduct;

(b) The cost of all wages, salaries, or other compensation paid to employees for time those employees are prevented from working as a result of the criminal conduct;

(c) The overhead costs incurred for the time that a business is shut down as a result of the criminal conduct;

(d) The loss of value to tangible or intangible property that was damaged as a result of the criminal conduct.

(2) “Caller” means the person described in division (A) of this section who makes or causes to be made a telecommunication or who permits a telecommunication to be made from a telecommunications device under that person's control.

(3) “Telecommunication” and “telecommunications device” have the same meanings as in section 2913.01 of the Revised Code.

(4) “Sexual activity” has the same meaning as in section 2907.01 of the Revised Code.

(F) Nothing in this section prohibits a person from making a telecommunication to a debtor that is in compliance with the “Fair Debt Collection Practices Act,” 91 Stat. 874 (1977), 15 U.S.C. 1692, as amended, or the “Telephone Consumer Protection Act,” 105 Stat. 2395 (1991), 47 U.S.C. 227, as amended.
(2011 H 86, eff. 9-30-11; 2010 S 162, eff. 9-13-10; 1998 S 215, eff. 3-30-99; 1998 H 565, eff. 3-30-99; 1997 H 182, eff. 10-1-97; 1995 S 2, eff. 7-1-96; 1980 H 164, eff. 4-9-81; 1972 H 511)