Harassment is a Class 3 misdemeanor. Harassment charges often occur in the domestic violence context, but are not limited to domestic violence situations. A conviction for harassment can result in a sentence of imprisonment in the county jail of up to 6 months.

In order to prove the crime of harassment, the prosecutor must establish that you intended to harass, annoy, or alarm the victim, and did one of the following:

  1. Striked, shoved, kicked, or otherwise touched a person or subjected him to physical contact
  2. In a public place, directed obscene language or made an obscene gesture to or at another person
  3. Followed a person in or about a public place
  4. Initiated communication with a person, by telephone, computer, computer network, or computer system in a manner intended to harass or threaten bodily injury or property damage, or made any comment, request, suggestion or proposal by telephone, computer, computer network, or computer system that is obscene
  5. Made a telephone call or caused a telephone to ring repeatedly, with no purpose of legitimate conversation
  6. Made repeated communications at inconvenient hours that invaded another’s privacy and interfered in the use and enjoyment of another’s home or private residence or other private property
  7. Repeatedly insulted, taunted, challenged, or made communications in offensively coarse language to another in a manner likely to provoke violent or disorderly response.

What can constitute a harassment charge may surprise you. For example, spitting on another can constitute “physical contact” sufficient to constitute harassment. Oftentimes, individuals are charged with harassment under situations which may present First Amendment defenses based on constitutionally protected speech. In other situations, it may be possible to disprove a harassment charge by establishing that the defendant did not possess the requisite intent.