Plenty of people just don’t get along with each other, but sometimes a person intentionally threatens or intimidates another. Such behavior can result in a criminal charge for harassment.
The crime of harassment occurs when one person acts in a way designed to annoy, provoke, threaten, or otherwise cause another person emotional distress. This may include stalking, hate crimes, and cyberbullying. Each harassment case turns on its own set of circumstances, and it can be difficult to determine whether someone’s conduct constituted harassment or was simply insensitive or thoughtless.
That’s why if you have been accused of harassment you need the advice of an experienced attorney.
Dan is a qualified lawyer with the knowledge, resources, and skill to effectively preserve evidence, prepare your case, and ensure that your rights are protected. He is admitted to practice in all Kentucky state courts, the federal courts in both the Eastern and Western Districts of Kentucky, and in the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. Let him help you today.
What is harassment?
Harassment is a crime of intent, which means that the defendant’s guilt hinges on whether he or she acted with the intent to intimidate, harass, annoy, or alarm another person. If the required intent is there, then it is a crime to attempt to, threaten to, or actually strike, shove, kick or make any type of physical contact against another person as well as to publicly make an offensively coarse utterance, gesture, or display, or address abusive language to any person present. You might also be accused of this type of harassment if you follow a person in a public place or commit acts that alarm or seriously annoy another person for no legitimate legal purpose.
Further, it is possible to be charged with the offense of harassing communications, which deals primarily with seeking to harass, annoy, or alarm a person using the telephone, Internet, U.S. mail or some other type of written communication. This also covers harassing “crank” phone calls where no one speaks. In fact, cyberbullying can be charged under Kentucky’s harassment law when the alleged bully engages in two or more acts that alarm or seriously annoy the victim and serve no legitimate reason. Harassment with Physical Contact and Harassing Communications are both Class B misdemeanors, which are punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a maximum $250 fine. Harassment Without Physical Contact is a Violation, punishable by only a fine.
Ways to Defend Harassment Accusations
The First Amendment protects free speech and may offer a defense to some harassment charges. However, freedom of speech is not an absolute right, and whether a particular communication constitutes free speech or crosses the line into criminal conduct is not always easy to determine. Other possible defenses include showing that the questionable act or communication was for a legitimate purpose, that the alleged harassment was an unintended consequence of the defendant’s actions, and that a reasonable person would not have been alarmed by the defendant’s behavior (the victim was hypersensitive). There are also procedural defenses available, such as a coerced confession, being read Miranda rights improperly, an invalid search warrant, or a denial of the right to counsel.
Securing a Defense Attorney
Fayette County Harassment Defense Attorney Dan Carman offers a free consultation so that he can learn about the facts of your case and begin to develop a legal defense strategy tailored to your circumstances. A native of Lexington and a graduate of the University of Kentucky College of Law, Dan is dedicated to helping those in his community who may find themselves struggling with serious allegations. Not all criminal charges have to end in convictions. Contact him today and tell him your side of the story. Call his office at (859) 685-1055, his cell at (859) 396-1049, or fill out his online contact form.