Table of Contents Hide
- What are Harassment Charges?
- Harassment Charges Explained
- Types of Harassment Charges
- How to File Harassment Charges
- How to Get Harassment Charges Dismissed
- Can I press charges for harassment online?
- Harassment Charges FAQs
- What is an example of harassment?
- What happens when you get charged with harassment?
- Can someone go to jail for harassment?
- Related Articles
If you are being harassed, you must decide how to obtain legal protection. The type of relationship you have with the harasser, your age, and the nature of the harassment will influence what type of legal protection you can seek and what you must prove to obtain it. Learn about the many types of harassment charges, how to file them, and how to get them dismissed online in the sections below.
What are Harassment Charges?
Harassment charges can arise when tempers flare and one person makes another feel intimidated. The threat is often to injure the person or any other person or to do bodily harm to another’s property. The threatened person usually starts the investigation—usually with a 911 call for an accusation of harassment brought against a defendant by the state. Law enforcement may respond and make an arrest on occasion, but in many situations, a person is unaware they have been charged with harassment until they receive a summons in the mail.
Harassment Charges Explained
Harassment charges can be brought if the offender had the purpose of harassing someone and one of the three following behaviors occurred:
The first sort of prohibited behavior is communication with another person. These include anonymous messages, communications made at particularly inconvenient hours, communications made in excessively vulgar language, or communications made in any other manner likely to offend or alarm. Under N.J.S.A. 2C:33-4, utilizing the phone, email, social media, or any other form of contact to disturb, annoy, or offend someone qualifies.
#2. Strikes, kicks, and offensive touches
Striking, kicking, shoving, abusive touching, or threatening to do so is the second category of prohibited behavior under this harassment violation. This type of behavior is more commonly charged as simple assault rather than harassment. When there is no actual bodily injury as a result of the striking, kicking, or inappropriate touching, Harassment charges should be filed instead of Simple Assault charges.
#3. Unusual or repeated behavior
Engaging in any other course of alarming conduct or frequently conducting acts with the intent to alarm or gravely annoy another person is the third type of prohibited harassment behavior. As the defendant, you must intend to alarm or substantially annoy.
Types of Harassment Charges
Harassment charges can be of several types, and harassers are constantly coming up with new ways to torture individuals. These new methods could also be related to the usage of the internet, as we have seen in several situations.
Do you have the impression that you are being followed every time you leave your house or workplace? You could be being followed. Being followed online means that your online account is monitored and you receive messages and emails on a daily basis that make you feel uneasy.
Cyberbullying is a common problem these days, with easy ways to stalk someone on the internet and send them nasty content and emails to make their life difficult. Not only that, but a harasser might amass strong evidence against you and post it online for all to see.
#3. Hate crimes
Despite the fact that we live in the modern era and have abandoned the customs of the uneducated, we still discriminate against and harass others just because they are of a different color, religion, race, handicap, or gender.
#4. Sexual harassment
This sort of harassment might be the most damaging mentally, especially if the victim has complex mental disorders. Sexual harassment can occur at work, at home, or even outside. It can occur verbally as a statement, physically as a touch, or by exposing implicit material in front of the victim.
Verbal harassment that is directed directly at the mind can cause mental agitation. It can include making difficult statements and ignoring someone’s presence.
Personal harassment in the workplace can occur as a result of discrimination or intimidation by a superior. Someone who makes your life or works a living misery is probably trying to bring you down.
How to File Harassment Charges
If you have discovered that you are being severely harassed and that it is affecting your daily life, you can take action to protect yourself from serious injury. If a harassment action appears to be rapidly escalating to your detriment, you should contact the authorities as soon as possible or file harassment charges in person or online. Furthermore, if you are subjected to harassment or abuse on a regular basis, you can contact the police and request that they arrive as soon as the other party begins the disruptive behavior.
This allows the offender to go to jail and fulfill his or her sentence promptly. Making a phone call in this situation, however, can be challenging for some people. They can go to the police station and file harassment charges in person or online. The police will be alerted and may take appropriate action or supply you with reinforcements to protect yourself. If the harasser persists in their actions, you can contact the police again and seek assistance from the court.
#1. Collect Evidence
The harasser’s intent to make you feel afraid, intimidated, or harassed is always difficult to prove. This evidence must be acquired. Keep copies of any written correspondence that establishes intent, and record any calls where you make it apparent that the person’s behavior is having a negative impact.
#2. Try to resolve the problem without going to court.
Try to tackle the problem through conversation or writing. Put things in writing, since any written correspondence can serve as proof that you attempted to fix the issue if you end up needing to go to court.
For example, if you are the victim of in-person stalking, prepare a “stop and desist” letter and submit it to the stalker. Demand an immediate halt to all harassing behavior.
Report anyone who is monitoring you online through social media platforms and chat rooms. In cases of job discrimination, you must first exhaust administrative remedies by filing a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
The same is true in cases of housing discrimination. In such circumstances, you must file harassment charges with the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, either in person or online.
#3. Take out a restraining order
Consider obtaining a temporary restraining order. This is especially significant in cases of domestic violence. A restraining order is a civil remedy, but breaking it might result in criminal charges.
Go to court and request a form to fill out and submit to the court. Provide them with evidence and fill out the form appropriately.
The court may summon you and the harasser to appear in court for a hearing. You will be granted a temporary restraining order until the evidence is reviewed and a permanent restraining order is issued. If the case becomes complicated, seek the assistance of an attorney.
#4. File a harassment order
Call or go to the police station to file a harassment order. The harasser may be visited by the police. If they don’t, they’ll be more likely to comply the next time you approach them because there’s now a file.
There are no expenses associated with filing a harassment order. The respondent may be ordered to pay court fees by the judge.
However, if the judge determines that any false representations in the petition were made and that the request for the order was made in “bad faith,” the judge may order you to pay court filing fees.
#5. Prosecutor Files Charges
The prosecutor will be contacted by the police. When it comes to filing charges, prosecutors have the last say. In general, a victim cannot bring charges or compel an unwilling prosecutor to file charges.
The prosecutor has the last choice, exercising “prosecutorial discretion.” Prosecutors are attorneys who work for or are hired by federal, state, and municipal governments to prosecute suspected criminal criminals on behalf of the communities they serve.
Prosecutors may decline to bring charges if they believe a conviction is doubtful. Legally acceptable evidence is required to prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Proceeding with charges would be pointless if the evidence was not present (or was likely to be suppressed before trial).
If your prosecutor refuses to bring charges, you may be able to use a “writ of mandamus.” A private individual may file this writ, which requests a court order requiring an official to undertake a duty that the official is legally obligated to perform.
If you live in one of the rare jurisdictions that allow private prosecution, you could hire an attorney to prosecute the suspect.
#6. Press Charges
If your prosecutor believes that a conviction is possible, the harasser will be summoned to court and charges will be filed against them. Harassment can be charged as a Gross Misdemeanor or a Felony, depending on your allegations and the facts surrounding the act(s).
Gross Misdemeanor Harassment offenses are heard in municipal and district courts. Harassment accusations filed at the felony level are heard in Superior Court.
Courts evaluate various considerations before deciding what to charge the defendant with, including past crimes and if the defendant violated a restraining order.
If the harassment occurs within city borders, your city or the state will file harassment charges against the perpetrator. At this stage, the perpetrator becomes the defendant and should get a lawyer.
If they do not enter a plea of guilty, you may be required to testify in court. If you haven’t already, hire an attorney.
How to Get Harassment Charges Dismissed
If you have been charged with criminal harassment, there are a few options for getting the charges dismissed. Signing a peace bond is one efficient way to have your harassment charges dismissed. If you sign a peace bond, you must stay away from the complainant and refrain from contacting them for a year. During this period, you will also be required to comply with restrictions like maintaining the peace and being of good behavior; as well as report to probation as needed. However, if you sign the peace bond; the harassment charges against you will be dismissed or dropped, and you will escape a criminal record.
Completing a diversion program is another method to get your criminal harassment charges dropped or dismissed. You may be able to participate in the Alternative Measures Program (AMP) or a mental health diversion program. If you are diverted, you will be required to participate in activities such as counseling; community service, or other treatments (if you are in a mental health diversion program). This usually happens over the course of a few months. When you complete the program, the harassment charges against you will be dismissed or dropped; you will be able to avoid a criminal record.
However, owing to the severe and serious nature of this violation, obtaining this form of resolution may be extremely difficult. As a result, if you have been charged with criminal harassment, you should contact a criminal defense lawyer right away.
Can I press charges for harassment online?
Yes, you can file for online harassment. Online harassment is frequently a minor charge. However, depending on the gravity of the offense, it may be considered a felony. If you are being harassed online, you should keep any documentation of the harassment to enable you file it in due time. Screenshots of threatening messages, emails, or social media posts may be included. You should also keep track of any phone calls or voice messages left for you. Once you have acquired this proof, you should contact an attorney or a law enforcement officer in your area to discuss how to file harassment charges, either in person or online.
Going through harassment and then court trials can be mentally and physically demanding. You must take care of yourself while pursuing justice so that the perpetrator does not escape without punishment. You must be forceful in front of the person who harmed you to send the message; that they cannot mess with you again, or that they made a mistake in doing so in the first place.
Consult a psychotherapist both during and after the process to preserve yourself from the catastrophic aftereffects of the harassment. If you believe you should not or will not be able to face the harasser in court; you can ask your prosecutor or hire a lawyer to make allegations on your behalf to avoid reliving the traumatic memories.
Harassment Charges FAQs
What is an example of harassment?
Offensive or insulting jokes, racial or ethnic slurs, pressure for dates or sexual favors, unwelcome comments regarding a person’s faith or religious garb, or offensive graffiti, cartoons, or photos are all examples of harassment.
What happens when you get charged with harassment?
Because felonies are more serious than misdemeanors, the consequences will be more severe. If you are charged with a first-degree misdemeanor, you might face up to a year in jail, 12 months on probation, and a $1,000 fine.
Can someone go to jail for harassment?
If the person continues to harass you after you obtain an injunction, they have violated the law and could face prison time. You have the right to proceed to civil court even if you have not reported the incident to the police. You went to the police, but the CPS chose not to charge the guy who harassed you.
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