Harassments Charges and Defenses in Texas

What is harassment in Texas?

Harassment, as defined by Texas law, involves intentional behavior meant to annoy, torment, alarm, abuse, or embarrass another person. It can occur in various forms, including, but not limited to, phone calls, electronic messages, or physical actions.

If you’ve been accused of harassment, you need to consult with our Dallas harassment lawyer.

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Harassment charges are often filed after a relationship goes south. One person in a personal or professional relationship accuses another of incessant, unwanted calls, texts, emails, or other communication.

A nuisance can quickly become a criminal offense if a person contacts another with the intent to harass, annoy, alarm, abuse, torment, or embarrass, according to Texas Penal Code § 42.07(a).

Are you facing harassment charges in Dallas? Call the Board Certified criminal defense attorneys at Varghese Summersett to discuss your case.

This post will explain what constitutes harassment in Texas, the punishment for a conviction, and the best way to fight the charge.

What is the punishment for harassment in Texas?

Generally, harassment is a Class B misdemeanor in Texas. However, if you have been convicted of a previous harassment charge, the offense will be enhanced to a Class A misdemeanor, according to the Texas Penal Code. A Dallas harassment lawyer will devise a strategy to fight the charges.

harassment charges in Texas

What is the current state of the law in Texas regarding the harassment statute?

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals upheld the harassment law, which makes it a crime to send repeated emails, texts, and other electronic messages with the intent to harass, annoy, embarrass, or offend. The decision was split, with a 5-4 ruling in two related cases.

The majority opinion, written by Judge Scott Walker, stated that the law does not violate the First Amendment’s free-speech protections because it focuses on the nature of the conduct (repeated messages intended to harass) rather than the content of the messages. Walker also noted that the First Amendment does not protect communication that invades substantial privacy interests in an intolerable manner.

However, Presiding Judge Sharon Keller disagreed, arguing in a dissenting opinion that the law’s focus on electronic “communications” indicates an intent to regulate speech. She expressed concern that the law encompasses a vast amount of speech protected by the First Amendment, especially given that electronic methods of communication include the Internet and social media platforms.

The cases involved two men, Charles Barton and Nathan Sanders, who were charged with harassment by sending text messages and emails. Both men challenged the law as unconstitutionally vague and broad, arguing that it implicates a great deal of speech protected by the First Amendment. This issue may ultimately reach the United States Supreme Court.

What are examples of harassment in Dallas?

Dallas harassment lawyer

  • Incessant obscene telephone calls, emails, or texts.
  • Threatening to inflict bodily harm by phone, in writing, text, or other electronic communication.
  • Falsely reporting a death or serious bodily injury to alarm another person, their family or household, or a person’s property.
  • Making someone’s phone ring incessantly.
  • Sending constant text messages likely to harass, annoy, alarm, abuse, torment, embarrass, or offend.
  • Repeatedly calling and hanging up.
  • Repeatedly sending emails, texts, or other electronic messages in a manner reasonably likely to harass, annoy, alarm, abuse, torment, embarrass, or offend another.
  • Phoning someone and intentionally failing to hang up or disengage the connection.
  • Knowingly allowing a telephone under your control to be used by another to commit any of the above actions.
  • Publishing on the Internet, including social media platforms, repeated electronic communications in a manner reasonably likely to cause emotional distress, abuse, or torment to another person (unless made in connection with a matter of public concern).

A Dallas harassment lawyer can help someone accused of such behavior by explaining a misunderstanding or intentions.

The stakes are high. Hire the best lawyers.


What is considered obscene in Dallas?

Texas law defines obscenity concerning harassment as a “patently offensive description of or a solicitation to commit an ultimate sex act.”

What is considered electronic communication in Dallas?

Texas defines electronic communication as a sign, signal, writing, image, sound, data, or intelligence transmitted over a wire, radio, or other electronic, magnetic, or optics system.

What are the best ways to challenge Dallas harassment charges?

In some harassment cases, the person charged did not intend to engage in harassing behavior. A skillful Dallas harassment lawyer will ably articulate your true intentions and present your side in the most favorable possible light.

In other harassment cases, the alleged victim can be proven to be exaggerating the alleged harassment by reviewing phone records.

Call Varghese Summersett for a top Dallas Harassment Lawyer

If you or a family member is charged with harassment, you need legal representation immediately. The quicker an adept Dallas harassment lawyer is working for you, the better your outcome is likely to be.

The skilled defense team at Varghese Summersett includes Board Certified criminal defense attorneys with a long history of success defending their clients.

During a free consultation, our defense attorney will help put your case in perspective, review your options, and discuss the best way to fight the charge. Call to speak with a Dallas harassment lawyer at 214-903-4000.

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