Can your online activity violate a restraining order?

On Behalf of | Jun 29, 2023 | Blog, Criminal justice |

In today’s digital age, our lives extend far beyond physical boundaries. Activities online hold as much weight as those in the physical world. In Arkansas, you might wonder whether your online activities can violate a restraining order, especially since most restraining orders explicitly mention physical contact or proximity.

You need to understand how a restraining order works and how your online behavior could potentially breach its conditions.

Restraining order conditions and online conduct

A restraining order generally prohibits a person from making any contact, whether direct or indirect, with the individual who sought the order. This extends to all forms of communication, including digital or online channels. Sending messages, emails or attempting to reach the individual through social media platforms counts as contact. Even liking or commenting on the individual’s posts can be a violation of the restraining order, given that these actions can be indirect contact.

Online harassment and restraining orders

Online harassment, commonly known as cyberstalking, is a form of harassment conducted through digital channels. In Arkansas, the law considers cyberstalking a serious offense and a restraining order can apply to online harassment. Any activity that makes the protected person feel threatened or harassed, such as tagging them in threatening posts, sharing their personal information or creating fake profiles to interact with them, can violate a restraining order.

Compliance with the restraining order

The best way to ensure that you do not violate your restraining order online is to avoid any interaction, direct or indirect, with the protected individual. Refrain from visiting their online profiles, posting about them or attempting to communicate with them through any digital platform. If you share mutual friends or online spaces, be cautious about what you post to avoid any potential indirect contact.

Arkansas law considers online activity when enforcing restraining orders. Any form of contact or harassment, whether it happens online or offline, can lead to a violation. which can lead to severe consequences.