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What you post on social media can have criminal consequences

On Behalf of | Aug 17, 2021 | Criminal Defense

An approved building project has been in the news and not necessarily for good reasons. A Costco Wholesale store is coming to Stuart, but not all residents are happy about it. One individual made his or her feelings known by posting a threatening message on social media directed toward city commissioners and their families. While legal action may not be taken in this particular case, Florida laws allow people to be charged for posting such messages online.

What happened?

On Aug. 12, it was reported that an individual who opposes the 49-acre development project that the city commissioners recently approved took to Facebook with certain grievances. However, it went beyond expressing opposition to the project. It was threatening city commissioners and their families, by prompting others to post photos of the city officials’ homes, license plates, children, cars and other family members online so they can be easily identified. It also mentioned tar and feathers. One of the city commissioners spoke with reporters saying his family is off-limits and that such threats are not okay.

Police did investigate the matter. They say the threat was not credible, so no charges are expected. However, if this individual does it again, charges may be pursued.

What the law says

Newly passed legislation calls for individuals who post certain information online with the intent to intimidate or harass others to face first-degree misdemeanor charges. The goal is to end cyberbullying and the mob mentality that has taken over social media. The consequences associated with a conviction on such charges may include jail time and fines — among various others. Florida residents who find themselves facing criminal charges for messages they have posted on social media can turn to an experienced defense attorney for assistance addressing the matter and fighting for the best outcome possible.