Online Harassment: Accused of Violating Kiana Arellano’s Law in CO?

In an increasingly digital world, the prevalence of online harassment and cyberbullying has become a growing concern. Recognizing the need to address these issues, many states, including Colorado, have enacted legislation aimed at combatting online harassment and protecting individuals from digital threats. One such law is Kiana Arellano’s Law, named after a Colorado teenager who tragically took her own life after being relentlessly bullied online. This blog aims to explore how Kiana Arellano’s Law works to police bad online behavior, the legal implications for those accused of violating the law in Colorado, and the importance of building a strong defense with an experienced criminal defense lawyer.

Understanding Kiana Arellano’s Law:

Kiana Arellano’s Law, also known as HB 15-1072, was enacted in Colorado in 2015 with the goal of addressing cyberbullying and online harassment. The law specifically targets individuals who engage in electronic harassment or cyberbullying that causes serious emotional distress to another person. Under Kiana Arellano’s Law, electronic harassment is defined as using an electronic device to communicate obscene, lewd, or profane language or suggest a lewd or lascivious act with the intent to intimidate, harass, or bully another person.

Legal Implications for Violating Kiana Arellano's Law

Types of Online Harassment Covered by Kiana Arellano’s Law:

  1. Cyberbullying:
    • Cyberbullying involves using digital communication platforms, such as social media, messaging apps, or online forums, to harass, intimidate, or humiliate others. This can include spreading rumors, sharing embarrassing photos or videos, or sending threatening messages.
    • Kiana Arellano’s Law recognizes cyberbullying as a form of electronic harassment and imposes penalties on individuals who engage in such behavior with the intent to cause serious emotional distress to their victims.
  2. Threats Made via Social Media:
    • Social media platforms have become common avenues for individuals to make threats or engage in harassing behavior towards others. Threats made online can range from general expressions of hostility to specific threats of violence or harm.
    • Kiana Arellano’s Law holds individuals accountable for making threats via social media or other electronic means, recognizing the serious impact such behavior can have on victims’ mental and emotional well-being.

Legal Implications for Violating Kiana Arellano’s Law:

  1. Criminal Charges:
    • Violating Kiana Arellano’s Law can result in criminal charges, with penalties ranging from fines to incarceration, depending on the severity of the offense. Individuals found guilty of electronic harassment may face misdemeanor or felony charges, depending on the circumstances of the case.
    • Prosecutors must prove that the accused engaged in electronic harassment with the intent to intimidate, harass, or bully another person and that their actions caused serious emotional distress to the victim.
  2. Civil Liability:
    • In addition to criminal charges, individuals accused of violating Kiana Arellano’s Law may also face civil liability for damages resulting from their actions. Victims of online harassment may pursue civil lawsuits against their harassers to seek compensation for emotional distress, medical expenses, and other damages.

Denver Criminal Defense Lawyer

Building a Strong Defense:

  1. Legal Representation:
    • If accused of violating Kiana Arellano’s Law or facing charges related to online harassment, seeking legal representation from an experienced criminal defense lawyer is crucial. A skilled attorney can provide guidance, advocate on behalf of the accused, and work to achieve the best possible outcome in the case.
  2. Evidence Collection:
    • A strong defense strategy may involve gathering evidence to challenge the prosecution’s case and refute allegations of online harassment. This may include collecting digital communications, social media posts, and witness testimony to support the accused’s version of events.
  3. Constitutional Rights:
    • Individuals accused of violating Kiana Arellano’s Law are entitled to certain constitutional rights, including the right to remain silent, legal representation, and a fair trial. A knowledgeable defense attorney can help protect these rights and ensure that the accused receives a fair legal process.
  4. Impact on Mental Health:
    • The consequences of online harassment can extend far beyond the digital realm, causing significant harm to victims’ mental and emotional well-being. Studies have shown that individuals who experience cyberbullying and electronic harassment are at increased risk of developing anxiety, depression, and other psychological issues. The relentless nature of online harassment can leave victims feeling isolated, helpless, and afraid, leading to profound emotional distress.
  5. Community Awareness and Prevention Efforts:
    • In addition to legal measures, community awareness, and prevention efforts play a crucial role in addressing online harassment and cyberbullying. Schools, parents, and advocacy groups can work together to educate individuals, especially young people, about the importance of respectful online behavior and the potential consequences of cyberbullying. By promoting empathy, kindness, and digital literacy, communities can create safer online environments and reduce the prevalence of online harassment. Moreover, supporting victims of online harassment and providing access to resources and support services can help mitigate the harmful effects of cyberbullying and empower individuals to seek help when needed.


Combatting Online Harassment:

Kiana Arellano’s Law is a crucial tool for combatting online harassment and cyberbullying in Colorado, holding individuals accountable for their harmful behavior towards others. Understanding the legal implications of violating Kiana Arellano’s Law and the importance of building a strong defense is essential for those accused of online harassment. By working with experienced legal counsel and understanding their rights, individuals can effectively navigate the complexities of the legal system and seek a favorable resolution to their case.


About the Author:

Denver-based criminal defense and DUI attorney Jacob E. Martinez is a knowledgeable and experienced litigator with a record of success providing innovative solutions to clients facing criminal charges of any severity. Countless legal organizations have recognized Mr. Martinez for his exemplary defense work, including Avvo, Best DWI Attorneys, Expertise, Lawyers of Distinction, The National Trial Lawyers, and others. He was also named one of the 10 Best in Client Satisfaction in Colorado by the American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys and is Lead Counsel rated.