Legal Information: Arkansas

Statutes: Arkansas

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February 14, 2022

5-71-209. Harassing communications

(a) As used in this section, “electronic device” includes a computer, cell phone, tablet, smartphone, or any other device that connects to the internet or is used in the electronic transmission of communication or information.

(b) A person commits the offense of harassing communications if:

(1) With the purpose to harass, annoy, or alarm another person, the person:

(A) 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;

(B) Makes a telephone call or causes a telephone to ring repeatedly, with no purpose of legitimate communication, regardless of whether a conversation ensues;

(C) Knowingly permits any telephone or electronic device under his or her control to be used for any purpose prohibited by this section;

(D) 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

(E) 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; or

(2) With the purpose to frighten, intimidate, or distress emotionally another person, the person:

(A) 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

(B) 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.

(c) 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.

(d) Harassing communications is a Class A misdemeanor.

(e)(1) Upon the pretrial release of the defendant, a judicial officer shall enter a no contact order in writing consistent with Rule 9.3 and Rule 9.4 of the Arkansas Rules of Criminal Procedure and shall give notice to the defendant of penalties contained in Rule 9.5 of the Arkansas Rules of Criminal Procedure.

(2) The no contact order under subdivision (e)(1) of this section remains in effect during the pendency of any appeal of a conviction under this section.

(3) The judicial officer or prosecuting attorney shall provide a copy of the no contact order under subdivision (e)(1) of this section to the victim and arresting agency without unnecessary delay.

(f) If the judicial officer has reason to believe that mental disease or defect of the defendant will or has become an issue in the case, the judicial officer shall enter orders consistent with § 5-2-327 or § 5-2-328, or both.

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