Criminal harassment is referred to as “criminal” because it involves threatening or disturbing conduct that is criminal in nature and violates the law. It is not just annoying behavior but involves acts that cause a person to fear for his safety or the safety of his family members, friends, or associates. Criminal harassment can be either classified as general criminal harassment or aggravated criminal harassment. General criminal harassment is usually a misdemeanor offense, and the penalties are less severe than for aggravated criminal harassment. Both crimes involve unwanted contact from someone else that causes the victim to feel threatened or afraid for their safety.
The main difference between them is how much danger the victim feels from the actions of the other person. An aggravated case can also lead to stalking charges if there are repeated unwanted contacts such as following someone home, appearing at places where they frequently go, and sending them unwelcome gifts or letters. This article explores general and aggravated criminal harassment, their definitions, and penalties if you are convicted of either one of these offenses.
Understanding Criminal Harassment
Criminal harassment is usually defined as repeated, hostile or unwanted contact from another person that makes the victim feel threatened or fearful. Criminal harassment can be carried out in person or over the phone. It can also be carried out through letters, emails, texts, or through use of social media. All states in the U.S. have laws against certain types of harassment. While many of these laws use the word “harassment,” criminal harassment is a separate crime. People who engage in criminal harassment are not just annoying neighbors but are taking actions that are criminal in nature and that violate the law. A person can be found guilty of criminal harassment even if he or she does not have any intention to follow through with their threats. Criminal harassment is a very serious crime, and the penalties can be severe. People who are convicted of criminal harassment can face jail time, hefty fines, and a criminal record that can seriously affect their future.
Types of Criminal Harassment
Criminal harassment can be either classified as general criminal harassment or aggravated criminal harassment. General criminal harassment is usually a misdemeanor offense, and the penalties are less severe than for aggravated criminal harassment.
The main difference between them is how much danger the victim feels from the actions of the other person. A person commits general criminal harassment when he or she repeatedly contacts another person, threatens, or annoys that person, and does not have a legitimate reason for doing so. There is no specific number of times the person must contact the victim for it to qualify as criminal harassment. The unwanted contact can be one incident, and that may be enough to warrant charges.
Penalties for Criminal Harassment
The penalties for general criminal harassment vary by state but can include a jail term of up to one year, a fine, or both. The penalties for aggravated criminal harassment vary more widely, depending on the state. In some states, aggravated criminal harassment is a felony offense that can result in a lengthy prison term. The exact penalty will depend on the facts of your case and the specific laws in your state. If you are charged with criminal harassment, it is important to speak to a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Your attorney can advise you of the best course of action based on the facts of your case and the laws in your state.
Many States offer diversions or alternative sentencing for those found guilty of harassment violations. These are often online classes that allow students to avoid jail time, fines and other possible sentencing options. If you have been assigned an harassment course by the court, Advent eLearning has the solution. Our courses comply with court requirements and when completed successfully students are provided with certification of completion that can be shared with the court.
In addition to harassment courses, Advent offers a wide variety of courses with content addressing a variety of issues including:
For more information on Advent eLearning programs or to get started on one of our classes. Go to adventelearing.com
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