Harassment charges are often filed after a relationship – personal or professional – goes awry and an individual is accused of calling, texting, or emailing another incessantly. What may first seem like a nuisance can turn into a criminal charge if the individual is making contact with the intent to harass, annoy, alarm, abuse, torment, or embarrass the other person.
Harassment cases are generally Class B misdemeanors, but if you have been convicted of a harassment case in the past the offense will be enhanced to a Class A misdemeanor. Harassment is codified under Penal Code Section 42.07.
Obscene means a “patently offensive description of or a solicitation to commit an ultimate sex act.”
An electronic communication is a sign, signal, writing, image, sound, data or intelligence that is transmitted over a wire, radio, or other electronic, magnetic or optics system.
The most important thing to do if you are charged with harassment is to contact a skilled criminal defense attorney who can offer perspective and begin uncovering the digital trail that could lead to the prosecutor reanalyzing their position.
In Ex parte Barton, the Second Court of Appeals decided the harassment statute in its use of the words “harass, annoy, alarm, abuse, torment, or embarrass” were too vague, and that the statute was overbroad as written. See Ex parte Barton 02-17-00188-CR. As a result, many prosecutions for harassment can be successfully challenged. The State is expected to seek a decision from the Court of Criminal Appeals on this issue.
If you need assistance building a defense for charges of unwanted behavior, call a Fort Worth harassment lawyer for assistance with each step of a case.