(CBS Detroit) A new law goes into effect this week aimed at treating cyberbullying as a punishable crime in Michigan.

The new law, Public Act 457 formally identifies cyberbullying as a misdemeanor, and states that it is a crime punishable by 93 days in jail or a fine of up to $500.

Additionally, “a pattern of repeated harassment,” or intimidating behavior could carry a 5-year sentence or $5,000 fine.

A violator whose continued online harassment causes the death of a victim can be sentenced to a maximum of 10 years in jail for the felony and/or a $10,000 fine.

The new law was approved by former Michigan Gov. Snyder, and will officially go into effect this Wednesday, March 27. Michigan ranks ninth among the top 10 states with bullying problems.

According to the law, cyberbullying includes posting a message or statement in a public media forum about any other person if both of the following apply:

  • The message or statement is intended to place a person in fear of bodily harm or death and expresses an intent to commit violence against the person.
  • The message or statement is intended to communicate a threat or with knowledge that it will be viewed as a threat.

Click here for more information on the new law.

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