Harassment can take on a variety of different forms, thus there are a variety of different criminal charges you can face when you harass an individual. These charges can range from gross misdemeanors up to even a class B felony. It is important to take these charges seriously because the prosecutor certainly will.
The most common form of harassment is when you unlawfully threaten to cause bodily injury, damage a person’s property, or physically restrain another person. These threats can be made either by a person’s own words or by their intentional conduct. This crime is a gross misdemeanor. However, if you have previously been convicted of harassing the same individual or a member of their family/household, or you threaten to kill the person, then it could be charged as a class C felony.
A more serious type of harassment is malicious harassment, which is a class C felony, meaning the maximum penalty is five years in prison and a $10,000 fine. This form of harassment is just like the standard type except the motivation is different. If the reason for the harassment is because of the victim’s perceived race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, or a mental, physical, or sensory handicap, then it is deemed malicious in nature.
Another typical type of harassment is telephone harassment, which is a gross misdemeanor but could potentially rise to a class C felony depending on the circumstances. Telephone harassment is when you call an individual with the intent to harass, intimidate, torment, or embarrass them. This can be accomplished through a variety of ways, including lewd or profane language or calling repeatedly or calling at odd hours with the above described intent.
Stalking is also a form of harassment. Stalking is when an individual intentionally and repeatedly follows another person with the intent to frighten, intimidate, or harass. If the person did not intend to but knew or reasonably should have known their actions would make the person afraid, feel intimidated or harassed, then they also could be convicted of stalking. In its standard form, stalking is a gross misdemeanor, which means the maximum penalty is 364 days in jail and a $5,000 fine. However, in certain circumstances, such as you carrying a deadly weapon at the time of the incident or a previous conviction of stalking the same person, stalking can be charged as a class B felony.
If you are facing a harassment accusation, do not hesitate to give our Everett, Washington, office a call. We will be more than happy to answer your questions and provide you with guidance through this difficult situation.