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Doxing a public safety official is an assault crime

On Behalf of | Mar 11, 2024 | Criminal Law

In this age of social media, it’s terrifyingly easy to ruin another person’s life through the Internet.

One such approach is the act of “doxing,” which is slang for publicly releasing private information about individuals without their consent. While it can be a prank, doxing can paint a target on victims if sensitive information such as their address or workplace spreads to the wrong people. This is especially dangerous if the leaked information belonged to a public safety official such as a police officer, firefighter or EMT.

Under Pennsylvania law, doxing an official isn’t just a breach of privacy but an assault crime.

Doxing as an endangerment offense

It’s illegal under state law to reveal a public safety official’s personal information on social media. The law also prohibits persons from revealing the information of the official’s family or household members.

State law considers doxing a crime whether or not the offender intended others to use the leaked personal information to threaten, intimidate or commit crimes against the official or their family.

The penalties for doxing

The offense of endangering a public safety official is a misdemeanor of the first degree. A conviction would lead to up to $10,000 in fines and five years of imprisonment.

However, if the doxing results in bodily injury to the official or their family, the offense becomes a felony of the second degree. A person convicted faces up to $25,000 in fines and up to 10 years in prison.

It can be dangerous to reveal sensitive details about someone else online. You might accidentally share important details about an official and face criminal charges for it. A legal professional with criminal defense experience may be able to advise you on your case and represent you.



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