H. B. 4124
(By Delegates Smith, Lawrence, L. Phillips,
M. Poling, D. Campbell, Walker and Hunt)
[Introduced January 19, 2012; referred to the
Committee on the Judiciary.]
A BILL to amend the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, by adding thereto a new section, designated §61-2-31, relating to creating the criminal offense of online impersonation for purposes of harming, intimidating, threatening or defrauding another person; providing criminal penalty for violation; providing definitions; and providing that the offense is supplemental to other laws.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended by adding thereto a new section, designated §61-2-31, to read as follows:
ARTICLE 2. CRIMES AGAINST THE PERSON.
§61-2-31. Unlawful impersonation over Internet; penalty; definitions; supplemental to other laws.
(a) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a person may not knowingly and without consent impersonate another person through or on an Internet website or by other electronic means for purposes of harming, intimidating, threatening or defrauding another person.
(b) A person who violates subsection (a) of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not less than $250 and not more than $1,000, or confined in jail not more than one year, or both fined and confined.
© For purposes of this section:
(1) An impersonation is credible if another person would reasonably believe, or did reasonably believe, that the defendant was or is the person who was impersonated; and
(2) “Electronic means” includes, but is not limited to, opening an e-mail account, registering a website domain name or opening an account or profile on a social networking Internet website in another person's name.
(d) This section is supplemental to any other provision of law and does not preclude prosecution under any other provision of law.
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to create the offense of online impersonation for purposes of harming, intimidating, threatening or defrauding another person.
§61-2-31 is new; therefore, it has been completely underscored.