Harassment charges are frequently added to other common charges within New York State, from assault, sexual assault, menacing, stalking, and criminal contempt. However, harassment charges may also stand on their own and can carry jail time if a conviction occurs and only an experienced assault lawyer can help you.
Harassment in the Second Degree (Penal Law § 240.26): An extremely common offense, you can be charged pursuant to this statute in ways that would perhaps seems far from criminal or illegal. According to § 240.26, you are guilty this offense if you have the intent to harass, annoy or alarm some person and you either make physical contact with them, follow a person around in public areas, or engage in a course of conduct of annoyance or alarm to that person without any legitimate reason to do so. Notably, a § 240.26 conviction remains on your permanent record and can be consequential when facing future background checks or subsequent prosecutions.
Aggravated Harassment (Penal Law § 240.30): Frequently, individuals find themselves charged pursuant to this statute, which can manifest itself in relatively innocent and noncriminal ways., following repeated communications made to another person, whether by text, email, or telephone. Generally, the government will set out to prove that you communicated with another person in a manner that caused annoyance or alarm, or contacted a person with no purpose of legitimate communication. You may also be charged under this statute if you contacted a person because of their race, sexual orientation, gender, or other cultural beliefs.
When charged with any form of harassment, a family or criminal court will issue an order of protection and instruct you to refrain from contacting and coming into physical contact with the protected party during the remainder of the case. Failure to abide by this order of protection can result in an additional criminal contempt or violation of an order of protection charge.
If you are being prosecuted for harassment, hire a former prosecutor and preeminent defense attorney who has dealt with these charges on both sides of the courtroom. Being accused of these offenses can have a lasting impact. The steps your defense attorney takes in the face of these accusations, by way of investigation and creative advocacy, will both increase your chances of successfully walking away from these accusations and shape the rest of your life.
The sooner you put your case in the hands of an experienced criminal defense lawyer, the more likely your matter will end favorably.