Harassment is a misdemeanor offense in Texas that stems from communications made to annoy, alarm, or abuse another. It is closely related the offense of stalking, which is a felony offense.
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.
What is the Punishment for Harassment in Texas?
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.
What are Examples of Harassment?
- Harassment can be making incessant telephone calls, emails, or texts that are obscene.
- Harassment can be threats to inflict bodily harm made in writing, over the phone, by text, or other electronic message.
- Harassment can be falsely reporting a death or serious bodily injury in order to alarm a person.
- Harassment can be making the phone ring incessantly.
- Harassment can be sending constant text messages that are likely to harass, annoy, alarm, abuse, torment, embarrass, or offend.
- Harassment can be calling and hanging up repeatedly.
- Harassment can be repeatedly sending emails, texts or other electronic messages in a manner reasonably likely to harass, annoy, alarm, abuse, torment, embarrass, or offend another.
What is Considered Obscene?
Obscene means a “patently offensive description of or a solicitation to commit an ultimate sex act.”
What is an Electronic Communication?
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.
Challenging Harassment Prosecutions
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. As a result, many prosecutions for harassment can be successfully challenged.
Contact a Fort Worth Harassment Lawyer for Legal Help
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. We can help. Our team of attorneys are experienced handling all types of misdemeanor and felony cases and will fight to achieve the most favorable outcome possible. Contact us today for a free case evaluation with a harassment lawyer.