Getting a harassment charge of any kind can have devastating consequences; one that may taint you for the rest of your life. However, many people don’t truly understand what it means and as a result, may find themselves wrapped in the crosshairs of the legal system.
Criminal harassment also referred to as stalking, is when someone, without lawful authority, engages in conduct that causes some other person to fear for their safety. This conduct encompasses a variety of actions such as
- Regularly following a person or someone they know from one location to another
- Frequent communication with the other person or anyone with whom they are familiar, whether directly or indirectly;
- Besetting, disturbing, or watching the residence the other person or someone they know lives as well as their place of work
- Engaging in conduct that is threatening to the other person or to their family members.
If found guilty, the penalty for criminal harassment is a maximum of ten years in prison. Additionally, a conviction for criminal harassment can lead to a criminal record, fines, probation, and/or restraining order prohibiting them from contacting the victim.
In some cases, even if a person is found guilty of criminal harassment, he or she may avoid jail and a criminal record. At the hearing, the judge will take into account the nature of the offense and the individual circumstances of the defendant.
This is why it is imperative that you get a good criminal lawyer early on. This will be essential in determining the outcome of your case.
Importance Of Hiring A Criminal Attorney
If you are under investigation for a criminal harassment charge, it is vital that you arrange a competent attorney.
Regardless of whether you are guilty or innocent, getting your case handled by a criminal defense attorney is a good idea. Dealing with a police officer, completing paperwork, posting bail, etc., can be overwhelming.
Moreover, making erorrs can lead to more severe punishment, more money, or a bigger charge on your record. Having to take care of this burden puts a strain on your family, friends, and your responsibilities. Good legal representation can help you to make the most of the situation, which is why you should hire one.
If you, or anyone you know, has recently been charged with criminal harassment, there are a few ways you may be able to get them dropped. The possible solutions to a sexual harassment charge are mentioned below:
Provide Record Proof
If the complainant is alleging harassing emails, texts, or phone calls, you can always prove that it was a two-way conversation. If successful in doing so, there is a high likelihood that the prosecutor may drop the charges.
This would involve gathering all of the emails, text messages, or phone call data. By doing so, you may be able to demonstrate that the complainant was actively engaging in the conversations.
Another way of having your criminal harassment charges dropped is by entering into a peace bond. Depending on the severity of the allegations, the prosecutor may drop the charges if you enter into a peace bond for a specific period of time under certain conditions.
Generally, a peace bond runs for twelve months. And the conditions are that you have no contact with the complainant and also attend to some sort of counseling. There are a number of benefits of entering into a peace bond.
First, the criminal charges are withdrawn. This leaves you with no criminal record. Secondly, it saves you the cost and the stress of having to take the matter to trial. It is important to remember that a peace bond is not an admission of guilt. Also, it does not appear on a criminal record.
Alternative Measures Program
Alternative Measures Program, more commonly known as AMP, is another way of getting out of your criminal harassment charges. This is a program that diverts offenders from the traditional court system and upon completing certain pre-set conditions, such as counseling or community service, the charge may be withdrawn.
This also leaves you with no criminal record for the offense. Similar to a peace bond, it is not an admission of guilt either and does not appear on the criminal record.