Stamford Harassment Lawyer
Harassment carries stiff penalties, and can also be followed by a lengthy or permanent criminal protective order that can prohibit you from entering your home or having contact with your husband, wife, or kids.
In particular, statements made over the phone, in text messages, in emails, or through social media or other forms of communication may constitute a criminal violation with penalties that include jail time and substantial fines. That is why it is essential for anyone facing a criminal arrest for this offense to meet with Stamford harassment lawyers who know the laws, understand available defense strategies, and can apply them to your particular case circumstances. A skilled defense attorney is your best asset in your case.
Communications Covered by Harassment Statutes
Our Stamford lawyers understand the two different classes of harassment, first and second degree. Both crimes involve communications made via certain media, including:
- Telephone (landline and cell phones)
- Computer network (email, social media)
- Any form of written communication
While the statute was enacted before the advent of certain social media and before texting became as common as it is today, the statutory definition has been interpreted to include virtually any form of communication that is transmitted electronically (such as a phone call or text message) or written (such as a letter or note).
How is Harassment Defined Under State Law?
Essentially, there are three types of communications that will constitute harassment under criminal laws and which can lead to an arrest in the second degree. The first is the use of “indecent or obscene language” over the telephone.
The second and third types involve “intent to harass, annoy or alarm another person.” If an individual places a telephone call with such intent, that call constitutes harassment even if the parties do not actually speak at all. In other words, if one party calls another and hangs up, that can still qualify as harassment if it is shown that the call was placed with an intent to harass, annoy or alarm the other. By the same token, if an individual communicates through written or electronic media such as text, email or social media post with that “intent to harass, annoy or alarm,” that communication constitutes harassment as well. All three of these types of communications would be classified as harassment in the second degree.
Certain additional circumstances would aggravate the crime to a first-degree harassment arrest. If the communication is made by phone, electronic media or written word and is made with the “intent to harass, annoy, alarm or threaten,” and it contains a threat to kill or seriously injure another, and that communication is made by an individual who has been previously convicted of a felony, then the communication can get someone arrested for harassment in the first degree. A lawyer in Stamford could help someone facing harassment charges.
Penalties for First and Second Degree Harassment
Harassment in the second degree, which is the crime most commonly charged, is classified as a Class C misdemeanor. Connecticut law provides that those convicted of Class C misdemeanors may be sentenced to up to 90 days in prison and a fine of up to $500.
First-degree harassment is treated as a Class D felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000. In addition, if an individual is convicted, a court may order a psychiatric evaluation. A Stamford attorney could help someone mitigate the potential penalties of a harassment charge.
Consulting a Stamford Harassment Attorney
In cases involving harassment charges, proving the intent of the parties involved is of key importance. A skilled attorney will know how the laws apply to the circumstances of your case and can provide advice as to how to proceed to build the best defense for your situation. To protect your rights, contact a Stamford harassment lawyer as soon as possible.