Defense Against Harassment Charges
Harassment is a confusing type of charge. The harassment statute is a legislative response to criminalizing various exceptions to First Amendment rights, such as fighting words, words that present a clear and present danger, and obscenity. The difficulty in applying the harassment statute is that it is incredibly difficult, for example, to define what obscenity is. As one United States Supreme Court Justice once remarked: “I can’t define it, but I know it when I see it.” This is hardly a concrete standard on which to base a prosecution. The most common application of the harassment statute is the first provision that criminalizes harassment in the context of touching, striking, shoving and kicking someone.
An experienced attorney can help you protect your rights if you have been accused of harassment. At Pearson & Paris, P.C., we have more than 50 years of combined legal experience that we will use in your defense. Perhaps more importantly, our top criminal defense attorney is a former senior prosecutor who knows how district attorneys handle these cases. That knowledge allows us to create effective strategies ranging from negotiation to courtroom battles.
Whether in the Denver area or anywhere in Colorado, harassment is committed in a variety of ways. A person commits harassment if, with intent to harass, annoy or alarm another person, he or she: (1) strikes, shoves, kicks or otherwise touches a person or subjects that person to physical contact; (2) in a public place directs obscene language or makes an obscene gesture at another person; (3) follows a person in or about a public place; (4) initiates communication with a person, by telephone, text message, instant message, etc., in a manner intended to harass or threaten bodily injury or property damage; (5) makes a telephone call or causes the telephone to ring repeatedly with no purpose of legitimate conversation; (6) makes repeated communications at inconvenient hours that invade the privacy of another and interfere in the use and enjoyment of another’s home or private residence of other private property; or (7) repeatedly insults, taunts, challenges or makes communications in offensively coarse language to another in a manner likely to provoke a violent or disorderly response.
Possible Consequences For Harassment
Harassment is generally charged as a class 3 misdemeanor. When a person is convicted of a class 3 misdemeanor, he or she may be sentenced to: (1) probation, with a possible jail sentence as a condition of probation of up to 60 days, or up to a two-year work release sentence as a condition of probation, or (2) the offense is punishable by a jail sentence of up to six months.
Possible Defenses For Harassment
The central defense in a harassment case will often center on “lack of intent.” Since any of the various ways of committing harassment must be accompanied by a specific intent to harass, annoy or alarm, the defense will focus on the fact that the acts were done either accidentally or unknowingly, but in the context of legitimate conversation.
The remaining defenses that may be applied in a harassment case apply with equal force to those that may apply in any other criminal case. This includes an analysis of any violation of constitutional rights, such as the right to remain silent, the right to counsel, the right to have any searches and seizures based on probable cause, a proper warrant, and the right to due process in the proper preservation of evidence that may be used against you. Many other defenses are available that rely on scrutinizing and exposing weaknesses in the prosecutor’s case, such as biased or incompetent witnesses, flawed crime scene investigation, flawed administration and procedures in collecting breath, blood or urine for forensic testing, incompetent computer evidence, flawed photo lineups and inaccurate crime scene/accident reconstructions.
It is important that you hire a skilled and experienced harassment lawyer to defend you in a harassment case in Wheat Ridge, Jefferson County, or across Colorado.