Senate
House
Joint
Bill Status
WV Code
Audits/ Reports
Educational
Contact
home
home

Introduced Version House Bill 3029 History

   |  Email


H. B. 3029

 

         (By Delegates Phillips, Frazier, Miley, Brown,

              Caputo, Longstreth, Moore, Skaff, Ellem,

                        Hamilton and Sobonya)

         [Introduced February 7, 2011; referred to the

         Committee on the Judiciary then Finance.]

 

 

A BILL to amend and reenact §61-3C-14a of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, and to amend and reenact §61-8-16 of said code, all relating to crimes using computers, telephones and electronic communications devices; creating offenses for the unlawful transmission of obscene, anonymous, harassing and threatening communications and data by mobile phone, personal digital assistant or other electronic communications device; clarifying provisions pertaining to the unlawful obscene, anonymous, harassing and threatening communications by traditional voice communication by telephone; creating a felony offense for certain repeat offenses using a computer, mobile phone or other electronic communications device; and establishing criminal penalties.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:

    That §61-3C-14a of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended and reenacted; and §61-8-16 of said code be amended and reenacted, all to read as follows:

ARTICLE 3C. WEST VIRGINIA COMPUTER AND MOBILE DEVICES CRIME AND ABUSE ACT.

§61-3C-14a. Obscene, anonymous, harassing and threatening communications by computer, cell phones and electronic communication devices; penalty.

    (a) It is unlawful for any person, with the intent to harass or abuse another person, to use a computer, mobile phone, personal digital assistant or other electronic communication device to:

    (1) Make contact with another without disclosing his or her identity with the intent to harass or abuse;

    (2) Make contact with a person after being requested by the person to desist from contacting them;

    (3) Threaten to commit a crime against any person or property; or

    (4) Cause obscene material to be delivered or transmitted to a specific person after being requested to desist from sending such material.

    (b)(1) For purposes of this section, the “use of a computer, mobile phone, personal digital assistant or other electronic communication device” includes, but is not limited to, the transmission of text messages, electronic mail, photographs, videos, images or other nonvoice data by means of an electronic communication system, and includes the transmission of such data to another’s computer, e-mail account, mobile phone, personal digital assistant or other electronic communication device.

    (5) For purposes of this section, “obscene material” means material that:

    (A) An average person, applying contemporary adult community standards, would find, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest, is intended to appeal to the prurient interest, or is pandered to a prurient interest;

    (B) An average person, applying contemporary adult community standards, would find, depicts or describes, in a patently offensive way, sexually explicit conduct consisting of an ultimate sexual act, normal or perverted, actual or simulated, an excretory function, masturbation, lewd exhibition of the genitals, or sadomasochistic sexual abuse; and

    (C) A reasonable person would find, taken as a whole, lacks literary, artistic, political or scientific value.

    (b) (c) It is unlawful for any person to knowingly permit a computer, mobile phone or personal digital assistant or other electronic communication device under his or her control to be used for any purpose prohibited by this section.

    (c) (d) Any offense committed under this section may be determined to have occurred at the place at which the contact originated or the place at which the contact was received or intended to be received.

    (d) (e) Any person who violates a provision of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not more than $500 or confined in a county or regional jail not more than six months, or both fined and confined. For a second or subsequent offense, the person is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not more than $1,000 or confined in a county or regional jail for not more than one year, or both fined and confined. For a third or subsequent offense, the person is guilty of a felony and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not more than $5,000 or imprisoned in a state correctional facility for not more than two years, or both fined and imprisoned.

ARTICLE 8. CRIMES AGAINST CHASTITY, MORALITY AND DECENCY.

§61-8-16. Obscene, anonymous, harassing, repeated and threatening telephone calls; penalty.

    (a) It shall be is unlawful for any person with intent to harass or abuse another by means of telephone to:

    (1) Make any comment, request, suggestion or proposal which is obscene; or

    (2) Make a telephone call, whether or not conversation ensues, without disclosing his or her identity and with intent to harass any person at the called number; or

    (3) Make or cause the telephone of another repeatedly or continuously to ring, with intent to harass any person at the called number; or

    (4) Make repeated telephone calls, during which conversation ensues, with intent to harass any person at the called number; or

    (5) Threaten to commit a crime against any person or property.

    (b) It shall be unlawful for any person to knowingly permit any telephone under his or her control to be used for any purpose prohibited by this section.

    (c) Any offense committed under this section may be deemed to have occurred at the place at which the telephone call was made, or the place at which the telephone call was received.

    (d) Any person who violates any provision of this section shall be is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not more than $500, or imprisoned confined in the county jail not more than six months, or both fined and imprisoned confined.



    NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to address the issue of cyberbullying by amending and clarifying the applicable laws to create appropriate penalties for the misuse of computers and mobile phones, personal digital assistants and other electronic communication devices to harass, abuse or threaten other persons. It includes enhanced felony penalties for convictions of third or subsequent offenses.


    Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from the present law, and underscoring indicates new language that would be added.

This Web site is maintained by the West Virginia Legislature's Office of Reference & Information.  |  Terms of Use  |   Web Administrator   |   © 2014 West Virginia Legislature ***