Harassing Phone Calls / Telephone Harassment — Louisiana

Telephone Communications:  Improper Language and Harassment — La RS 14:285

Under Louisiana law, the term telephone harassment is defined as any of the following:

(1) Engage in or institute a telephone call, telephone conversation, or telephone conference, with another person, or use any telecommunications device to send any text message or other message to another person directly, anonymously or otherwise, and therein use obscene, profane, vulgar, lewd, or lascivious language, or make any suggestion or proposal of an obscene nature or threaten any illegal or immoral act with the intent to coerce, intimidate, or harass any person.

(2) Make repeated telephone communications or send repeated text messages or other messages using any telecommunications device directly to a person anonymously or otherwise in a manner reasonably expected to abuse, torment, harass, embarrass, or offend another, whether or not conversation ensues.

(3) Make a telephone call and intentionally fail to hang up or disengage the connection.

(4) Engage in a telephone call, conference, or recorded communication by using obscene language or by making a graphic description of a sexual act, or use any telecommunications device to send any text message or other message containing obscene language or any obscene content, anonymously or otherwise, directly to another person, when the offender knows or reasonably should know that such obscene or graphic language is directed to, or will be heard by, a minor. Lack of knowledge of age shall not constitute a defense.

(5) Knowingly permit any telephone or any other telecommunications device under his control to be used for any purpose prohibited by this Section.

B. Any offense as set forth in this Section shall be deemed to have been committed at either the place where the communication originated or at the place where the communication was received.

“Telecommunications device” means any type of instrument, device, or machine that is capable of transmitting or receiving telephonic, electronic, radio, text, or data communications, including but not limited to a cellular telephone, a text-messaging device, a personal digital assistant, a computer, or any other similar wireless device that is designed to engage in a call or communicate text or data.

In general “Harassing” means: A repeated pattern of verbal communications or nonverbal behavior without invitation.

Penalties

Any offense committed by use of a telephone as set forth in this Section shall be deemed to have been committed at either the place where the telephone call or calls originated or at the place where the telephone call or calls were received.

Whoever violates the provisions of this Section shall be fined not more than five hundred dollars, or imprisoned for not more than six months, or both.

Upon second or subsequent offenses, the offender shall be fined not more than five thousand dollars, or imprisoned with or without hard labor for not more than two years, or both. A second offense is a felony.

Legal Assistance

Attorney Elizabeth B. Carpenter has successfully helped many people who have been either victims of telephone or text message harassment or criminally charged with making harassing phone calls or sending harassing text messages. If you feel as if you need the legal assistance, contact Ms. Carpenter today.

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