Westport Harassment Lawyer
Many people are unaware of the crime of harassment in Westport, Connecticut and would be surprised to learn how easy it can be to violate this criminal statute. In fact, just using profanity on the telephone can be enough to constitute a violation.
Westport criminal lawyers know, allegations of domestic violence often lead to charges of harassment and the penalties are substantial, so it is important to take decisive action as soon as possible. Hiring an experienced domestic violence attorney who can start right away to file motions with the court to preserve vital evidence. Westport harassment lawyers can begin productive discussions with state prosecutors that can benefit your case.
What is Harassment?
Connecticut law classifies two different forms of harassment, both of which involve written or electronic communications. Harassment in the first degree is a felony and Harassment in the second degree is a misdemeanor and generally the more commonly charged of the two in Westport Connecticut. Both versions of this offense can be punished by a significant fine and a substantial period of incarceration.
To get arrested in Westport, Connecticut for harassment in the first degree, an individual must have a previous conviction for a serious felony. If such an individual communicates a threat in writing or via electronic message to physically injure or kill another person, the individual is considered to have committed harassment in the first degree. Individuals charged with this offense should seek the help of a Westport harassment lawyer who can help protect their reputation.
What Role does Intent Play?
As noted above, very often an individual must be acting with a certain intent in order to be found guilty of harassment. That means that it is crucial to act quickly in harassment cases to collect and preserve evidence that can demonstrate not only what was communicated, but also prove the lack of intent behind such communication.
How Does Someone Commit Second Degree Harassment?
The Connecticut criminal code defines three different situations that will be considered harassment in the second degree. According to the statute, an individual commits second-degree harassment when using “indecent or obscene” language on the telephone. It may be critical to contact a Westport harassment lawyer regarding any indecent charges one may be facing.
An individual will also be considered to have committed second-degree harassment when communicating by:
- Mail, text, email
- Social media messaging
- A computer network
- Any other form of written or electronic communication
- With the intent to “harass, annoy or alarm” another
Someone can get arrested for harassment in the second degree when making a telephone call / sending electronic messages (or repeated calls or messages) with the intent to harass, annoy or alarm in a manner that is likely to cause the intended reaction. Notes that the calls may constitute harassment even if the parties do not speak.
Common Imposed Penalties
Connecticut law sets forth minimum and maximum penalties that may be imposed on those convicted of certain classes of crimes. First-degree harassment is classified as a Class D felony and is therefore punishable by a minimum of one year in prison and the maximum sentence of five years. The court may impose a fine of up to $5,000. Harassment in the second degree is classified as a Class C misdemeanor with a maximum sentence of three months of imprisonment and a potential fine of up to $500. In addition, individuals convicted of either offense may be ordered to undergo a psychiatric examination.
Contacting a Lawyer
It is important for individuals to preserve as much evidence as possible and avoid taking actions that could jeopardize your case. If you have been charged with harassment, it may be critical to speak with a Westport harassment lawyer as soon as possible. An attorney will provide advice and serve as your advocate throughout the entire process, working hard to bring about the best resolution in your case.