Avoiding Texas Harassment Charges
Texas Harassment charges carry serious penalties, and you may be surprised to learn how easily these charges can apply. Having a better understanding of these charges can help you avoid them in the first place and can help you build a stronger defense if you do find yourself on the wrong end of a harassment charge.
The charge of harassment relates to intentionally harassing, tormenting, embarrassing, abusing, annoying, or alarming someone else. This is an extremely broad charge that can apply in a wide array of circumstances. It is hard to imagine a person who has not engaged in behavior that fits this definition at one time or another – and to one degree or another. Reviewing the kinds of harassment charges that are most common makes it easier to pinpoint the kind of behaviors that typically cross the legal line.
Communications that Are Obscene
Anyone who engages in obscene communications that are not mutually reciprocated – whether by phone, in written form, or via electronic means – can face harassment charges.
Communications that Are Threatening
Threatening someone else – whether by phone, in written form, or via electronic means – in a manner that leaves the person reasonably alarmed regarding any of the following can also be considered harassment:
His or her safety
The safety of his or her family
The safety of his or her property
Harassment via False Reporting
If you are alleged to have knowingly and intentionally shared false information about someone else’s death or serious injury in a manner that causes the person whom you have informed to become alarmed, you could be charged with harassment.
Harassment via Telephone
Any of the following that involves the intention of harassment (as defined above) can qualify as harassment by telephone:
Calling someone incessantly
Making anonymous calls
Failing to hang up
Knowingly allowing someone else to use your phone for any of the above pursuits
Harassment via Electronic Means
Sending repeated electronic communications – such as emails, texts, IMs, or messages via social media platforms – in a manner that reasonably leads the recipient to feel harassed (as described above) can precipitate harassment charges.
Punishments and Penalties
The punishments and penalties for a harassment conviction are far from insignificant, and they range according to the seriousness of the charge. Harassment is a Class B misdemeanor that can carry up to 180 days behind bars and can include fines of up to $2,000. If the convicted party has a previous charge of harassment on his or her record, the punishment can be elevated to include up to a year in county jail and up to $4,000 in fines.
Do Not Put Off Consulting with an Experienced Killeen Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you are facing harassment charges, Brett Pritchard at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard is the lawyer to call. Mr. Pritchard is an experienced advocate who knows how to bring serious criminal cases to the most favorable resolution possible. We care about your case, so please do not hesitate to contact or call us at 254-501-4040 for more information today.