This section of the Newspaper is brought to you by Sheriff “Jake” Kopec as to raise awareness of the West Virginia State Law and to educate the public in laws that are set forth by legislation. This month I would like to discuss harassing phone calls. One of the key elements of this code section is intent to harass. Commonly this becomes an issue when the offender in the circumstance is told to stop calling or texting but the conduct continues.
The Code states :
§61-8-16. Obscene, anonymous, harassing, repeated and threatening telephone calls; penalty.
(a) It 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 is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not more than $500, or confined in jail not more than six months, or both fined and confined.