Cyber bullying a crime in Michigan starting Wednesday

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(WILX) -- Starting on Wednesday, it will be illegal in Michigan to bully someone over the internet.

As cyber bullying threats increase online this new law will officially make it illegal to harass someone over the internet in our state.

That includes posting messages publicly online with the intent to threaten someone.

Or making posts that are intended to put someone in fear of bodily harm or death.

If you're found guilty of either of those misdemeanors you could face up to 93 days in jail, a fine of $500, or both.

The punishments go up from there.

If you are guilty of two or more acts of online harassment, it becomes a felony and a five year sentence with a $5000 dollar fine.

If your harassment leads to someone dying, that is ten years in jail and a $10,000 fine.

The Michigan State Police say having this new law will help them greatly.

In the past, their hands have often been tied when it comes to prosecuting cyber bullying crimes.

Detective Lieutenant Liz Rich says, "Traditionally law enforcement hasn't been able to anything about cyber bullying, now we're able to have the opportunity to something when someone calls and ask for assistance. Cyber bullying is a problem we're having all across Michigan and we recognize it is a very serious problem and now we can actually do something about it starting tomorrow. "

Right now Michigan ranks 9th out of the top ten states with bullying problems.

Those behind the new law hope by increasing the punishments for cyber bullying, this will help combat our state's growing problem.

In the past, the only laws addressing bullying applied to students with schools being required to address cyber bullying in their anti-bullying policies.

This new bill will now protect everyone from online harassment, even adults.