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Is Hacking into Someone’s Email or Creating an Online Account in the Name of Another Person a Crime

Yes indeed. The crime is known as Online Impersonation and is a misdemeanor. This crime is found in the Louisiana Criminal Code at La. R.S. 14:73.10. Here is the language of the statute. It is explained below.


Is Hacking into Someone’s Email or Creating an Online Account in the Name of Another Person a Crime
Is Hacking into Someone’s Email or Creating an Online Account in the Name of Another Person a Crime

Online impersonation


A.(1) It shall be unlawful for any person, with the intent to harm, intimidate, threaten, or defraud, to intentionally impersonate another actual person, without the consent of that person, in order to engage in any of the following:


(a) Open an electronic mail account, any other type of account, or a profile on a social networking website or other Internet website.


(b) Post or send one or more messages on or through a social networking website or other Internet website.


(2) It shall be unlawful for any person, with the intent to harm, intimidate, threaten, or defraud, to send an electronic mail, instant message, text message, or other form of electronic communication that references a name, domain address, phone number, or other item of identifying information belonging to another actual person without the consent of that person and with the intent to cause the recipient of the communication to believe that the other person authorized or transmitted the communication.


B. For purposes of this Section, the following words shall have the following meanings:


(1) "Access software provider" means a provider of software, including client or server software, or enabling tools that do one or more of the following:


(a) Filter, screen, allow, or disallow content.

(b) Select, choose, analyze, or digest content.

(c) Transmit, receive, display, forward, cache, search, organize, reorganize, or translate content.


(2) "Cable operator" means any person or group of persons who provides cable service over a cable system and directly, or through one or more affiliates, owns a significant interest in such cable system, or who otherwise controls or is responsible for, through any arrangement, the management and operation of such cable system.

(3) "Interactive computer service" means any information service, system, or access software provider that provides or enables computer access by multiple users to a computer server, including a service or system that provides access to the Internet and such systems operated or services offered by libraries or educational institutions.

(4) "Social networking website" means an Internet website that has any of the following capabilities:

(a) Allows users to register and create web pages or profiles about themselves that are available to the general public or to any other users.

(b) Offers a mechanism for direct or real-time communication among users, such as a forum, chat room, electronic mail, or instant messaging.

(5) "Telecommunications service" means the offering of telecommunications for a fee directly to the public, regardless of the facilities used.


C.(1) Except as provided in Paragraph (2) of this Subsection, whoever violates any provision of this Section shall be fined not less than two hundred fifty dollars nor more than one thousand dollars, imprisoned for not less than ten days nor more than six months, or both.


(2) When the offender is under the age of eighteen years, the disposition of the matter shall be governed exclusively by the provisions of Title VII of the Children's Code.


D. The provisions of this Section shall not apply to any of the following or to any person who is employed by any of the following when the actions of the employee are within the course and scope of his employment:


(1) A social networking website.

(2) An interactive computer service provider.

(3) A telecommunications service provider.

(4) A cable operator.

(5) An Internet service provider.

(6) Any law enforcement officer or agency.


What are some examples of online impersonation?


1. This crime is charged when someone hacks into the email account of another person without that person’s permission. When someone sends, without permission, an email, from another person’s account leading the recipient of the email to believe that the email is from the holder of the email account, they have committed the crime of online impersonation. The intent of the sender of the email must be to harm, intimidate, threaten, or defraud another person.


The crime is also committed under the same circumstances mentioned above when the person sends, without consent of the holder, an instant message, text message, or other similar form of electronic communication belonging to another actual person with the intent to cause the recipient of the communication to believe that the other person authorized or transmitted the communication.


2. The crime of online impersonation is also committed when, without consent, one person opens an email account, any other type of account, or a profile on a social networking website or other Internet website, with the intent to harm, intimidate, threaten, or defraud, to intentionally impersonate another actual person.


3. This crime is also committed when, without consent, posts or sends one or more messages on or through a social networking website or other Internet website with the intent to harm, intimidate, threaten, or defraud, to intentionally impersonate another actual person.


Conclusion


In Louisiana, online impersonation is a misdemeanor. With first time misdemeanors, the accused does not normally do jail time. But a person accused of online impersonation needs an experienced criminal attorney to work through the various laws of evidence and procedures that could be used against him.


Contact Us Today


Gaynell Williams LLC Attorney at Law offers a free initial consultation to discuss your case. The first consultation can be in person or it can be virtual, on the Internet. Call Gaynell Williams today at (504) 302-2462 for a free consultation as soon as possible. We will work around your schedule. New Orleans lawyers Gaynell Williams LLC Attorney at Law have offices in Gretna and Downtown New Orleans by appointment only.


Disclaimer


This information has been provided for informational purposes only, is not intended, and should not be construed as legal advice. Please consult your attorney in connection with any specific situation under Louisiana law and the applicable state or local laws that may affect your legal rights.


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