There are three key types of harassment charges – all of which must be taken seriously. Each charge can range from a gross misdemeanor to a Class C no contact orders, and court-ordered treatment.
The standard form of harassment is generally when an individual unlawfully threatens to cause bodily injury, damage a person’s property, or physically restrain another person. These threats can be made either by words or by someone’s intentional conduct. This crime is a gross misdemeanor. However, there are circumstances where this charge could be a Class C Felony, such as a prior harassment conviction against the same victim or a member of the victim’s family/household or a threat to kill the person.
Malicious harassment is similar to standard harassment, except the reason for the act is due to the victim’s perceived race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, or mental, physical, or sensory handicap. This crime is a Class C Felony, which means the maximum penalty is five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Telephone harassment is similar to normal harassment, except it is done over the phone. If you call an individual with the intent to harass, intimidate, torment, or embarrass them, it could be construed as telephone harassment. This would include, but is not limited to, using lewd or profane language on the phone or calling repeatedly or at odd hours with the above intent. Telephone harassment is a gross misdemeanor but in some instances could be charged as a Class C Felony.
If you are facing a harassment charge, give our office a call to discuss your options and the potential penalties with an experienced Washington criminal defense attorney.