How to Deal with Defamation and File a Cease and Desist Letter in the State of Texas
Defamation is a crime that happens when someone makes false and harmful statements about another individual or party. There are two distinguishing types of defamation, “libel”, which is referencing a statement in writing or posted online, and “slander”, which is typically orated.
To establish a defamation case, the offense must have been published in some way, resulting in harm to the subject’s image, opportunities, and even physical or mental well-being. When responding to defamation, many choose to file a “cease and desist” letter, instructing the perpetrator to cease all illegal actions, before further actions are taken. Learn more about defamation and how to understand the State of Texas’s particular laws, below.
Defining Defamation in the State of Texas
Identifying Slander Versus Libel
In court, the two elements of defamation are slander and libel:
- Libel can be identified by the reality that it leaves a permanent record, like an email, radio or TV broadcast, newspaper article, or website posting
- Slander does not usually leave a record and can be as simple as a spoken statement or a hand gesture towards another person
Identifying the type and manner of defamation that occurred is the first step to proving any claim, or solidifying whether you can send a cease and desist letter.
What is Not Defamation in the State of Texas?
Proving defamation is reasonably simple, but different legal loopholes prevent claims from being identified as slander or libel in the American court system, to prevent an overbreadth of cases and to distinguish the types of cases at hand:
- This is a statement of preference, and cannot be defamatory, as defamation must be either true or false.
- However, there is an exception to this clause; if a defamatory statement is not presented as an opinion and is publicized, you might have the grounds to sue for slander or libel.
Freedom of Speech
- Within the United States’ Constitution lies the First Amendment, validating the fact that individuals have a right to not be a victim of falsehoods that could impugn their character.
- To sum, defamation is not illegal in conceptual terms. Defamation is simply a pretense of the legal system to afford damages to people who have been harmed by freedom of speech, which is legal.
- This false light claim exists when a false statement about an individual is published, making the implication that the statement is credible when it is not.
- False light is vindicated to “protect a plaintiff’s mental and emotional well-being” rather than their reputation, which defamation guards.
- Disparagement is a clause that seeks to preserve the financial and economic interests of the plaintiff or their business.
- Defamation exists to protect personal interests, but disparagement focuses on more extrapersonal boundaries, such as property ownership and non-liquid assets.
The State of Texas and Online Defamation
In an increasingly technological world, online defamation and slander are extremely prevalent. In Texas, harassing another individual via electronic communications may result in punishment.
In Texas, it is a crime to:
- Target anyone or any third party online
- Target any individual online, or cause emotional harm and distress
- Target any individual online, to further a threat against them or their family member, causing suspicion of assault or future attacks
- Solicit another person to commit a crime against another individual on a computerized convention
- Use a website that was searchable for at least 24 hours to harass, threaten or engage in a criminal act against another person
Texas and Online Defamation
- Texas defines “harassment” as when anyone:
- Intentionally communicates an obscene proposal
- Threatens someone
- Conveys a false report
- Makes a call or sends a message that is intended to harass, annoy, alarm, embarrass, or torment
- The State of Texas recognizes Online Impersonation as when:
- Someone creates a web page or website and;
- Sends defamatory messages under the guise of another individual without that person’s permission
- The State of Texas acknowledges Disruptive Activities as;
- When someone uses force or threats to obstruct people’s homes
- Prevents a party from attending work or personal obligations
- Restricts a person from entering and exiting public spaces
Punishments for Online Defamation Within the State of Texas
If convicted, someone accused of any of the following offenses faces the following:
- For a Class A or B misdemeanor, they can face 180 days in jail or up to $2,000 in fines
- Additional financial obligations as a result of civil suits that are intended to compensate for damages
Suing for Defamation of Character in Texas
In Texas, the legal jurisdiction states that the elements of a defamation claim are:
|A False Statement||A plaintiff made a false statement to a third party|
|A Fault||The fault by the defendant amounted to negligence and caused reputational or material harm|
|Damages||The individual who perpetrated the defamation acted purposefully or negligently|
Examples of Defamation Per Se in the State of Texas
In Texas, some statements are valid defamation per se, so dangerous that they will always be considered defamation and will always have been assumed to have incurred some harm:
- Accusations of moral turpitude
- Accusations of Criminality
- Accusations of Having a Terrible Disease
Should You Write A Cease and Desist Letter?
- Writing a cease and desist letter is a complicated process that can discredit your case, if not done with utmost care
- If you cannot prove the damages you’ve suffered, detail all components of corresponding evidence from a judicial standpoint, and compose a judicially sound letter, you may run the risk of your letter being thrown out and even being unsuccessful if you are forced to go to court
- Many attorneys who are willing to draft cease and desist letters will charge an extremely high amount of money for even responding to your questions!
Discover How to Draft A Cease and Desist Letter Using DoNotPay!
DoNotPay is a trustworthy solution! The Cease and Desist letter DoNotPay drafts will detail the information about the case, demand retraction, warn against future statements, and will order that the accused begins to abide by Texas state guidelines.
All you need to do is:
1. Search Defamation on DoNotPay.
2. Tell us about your situation.
- Were the statements slander or libel?
- What were the statements?
- Why are they false or misleading?
- What consequences have you suffered as a result of these statements?
3. Based on your location, DoNotPay will immediately generate a formal demand letter on your behalf, with the most relevant state legislation regarding defamation.
That’s it! You can expect a well-drafted cease and desist letter to your inquiry or specific case, in an instant!
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