The charge of harassment is a serious charge in the State of Texas, and a conviction can lead to far-reaching consequences that can haunt your future. In Texas, harassment is defined in broad terms that refer to intentionally harassing, embarrassing, annoying, alarming, tormenting, offending, or abusing someone else. This definition is so all-encompassing that it is possible to engage in harassing behavior without even realizing it. Better understanding the charge can help you avoid facing it.
The Various Forms of Harassment Charges
Harassment charges come in many makes and models, but they all carry significant weight.
Electronic communications – in all its many forms – has become so prevalent that it is not difficult to think of ways that such communications could reach the point of harassing, embarrassing, annoying, alarming, tormenting, offending, or abusing someone else. While this is a relatively new component of harassment charges, the State of Texas takes the offense very seriously. (Sending Sexually Explicit Electronic Photos without Permission is Now Illegal in Texas)
The act of knowingly and falsely reporting a serious or fatal injury to a person in a person reasonably likely to alarm the person receiving the report (Read more about personal injury law)
Harassment by Telephone
Our phones can be serious weapons of harassment, and the intentional acts of making someone’s phone ring incessantly, making anonymous calls, and/or intentionally refusing to hang up after a call can all reasonably lead to someone else feeling harassed, embarrassed, annoyed, alarmed, tormented, offended, or abused, which is the crime of harassment by telephone. Knowingly letting someone else use your phone to do any of the above will also suffice.
Obscene communication is a form of harassment in which the alleged perpetrator uses any form of communication (whether electronic, written, or over the phone) to propose, suggest, request, or comment about something that is obscene and that is, therefore, offensive to the recipient.
When you threaten someone else – in writing, electronically, or by phone – to the point that the other person is alarmed (and reasonably so), it is a form of harassment known as threatening communication. The threat involved can be aimed at the recipient, at his or her family or loved ones, and/or at the recipient’s personal property. (Click here to learn more about avoiding Texas harassment charges)
Harassment Charges and Attendant Penalties
If you are convicted of a harassment charge in Texas, you are looking at the following:
A Class B misdemeanor on your record
Up to 180 days in the county jail
Up to $2,000 in fines
If you have a previous harassment conviction, it can bump your jail time up to one year and your fines up to $4,000.
It Is Time to Consult with an Experienced Attorney
Brett Pritchard at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard – proudly serving Killeen, Texas – is a trusted criminal defense attorney who is very much on your side. Our dedicated legal team is here to help, so please do not hesitate to contact or call us at 254-501-4040 for more information today.