Depending on where you live, phone harassment may fall under the state's general harassment laws or a law that specifically addresses harassment by phone. Regardless of which harassment law your state has on the books, it is typically illegal under both types to call another person with the intent to scare, threaten or intimidate her.
General Harassment Laws Often Ban Abusive Phone Calls
Harassment, whether or not by phone, is behavior meant to intimidate, annoy or threaten another person, or place that person in fear for their safety or that of their family. Many states don't have a specific phone harassment law. However, using your phone to harass another person is often one of several prohibited activities. For example, calling someone without identifying yourself solely to alarm, abuse, threaten or abuse that person is harassment under New Hampshire's general harassment law. Similarly, Missouri's general harassment law includes anonymously calling someone to intimidate, frighten or cause emotional distress.
Some States Define Phone Harassment
In states that do have specific phone harassment statutes, similar language is used. For example, Ohio's phone harassment law includes such acts as calling another person to threaten such acts, calling another person to threaten, harass or abuse her, not identifying yourself when you call, continuing to call when told not to, and proposing sexual activity. Washington state's phone harassment law is similar, outlawing calls meant to torment, harass, intimidate or embarrass the recipient. Illinois' phone harassment law bans much of the same behavior, but also calls meant to harass a child under 13.
- LAWriter Ohio Laws and Rules: Ohio Revised Code, Section 2917.21
- Washington State Legislature: Revised Code of Washington, Section 9.61.230
- Illinois General Assembly: Illinois Compiled Statutes, (720 ILCS 5/) Criminal Code of 2012
- Louisiana State Legislature: Revised Statutes, Section 14-285
- West Virginia Legislature: West Virginia Code, Section 61-8-16
- US Legal: Harassment Law and Legal Definition
- Arizona State Legislature: Arizona Revised Statutes, Section 13-2921
- New Hampshire General Court: Revised Statutes Annotated, Title LXII, Chapter 644, Section 4
- Arizona State Legislature: Arizona Revised Statutes, Section 13-707
- Missouri General Assembly: Missouri Revised Statutes, Section 565.090