“Harassment” is a broad term that the criminal justice system uses to describe various behaviors. Two common types of harassment are stalking and cyberstalking. Here in Texas, the two are very different offenses. You might have also heard the term “harassment” used to describe behavior in the workplace. There are certain kinds of harassment that results in criminal charges, while other types usually fall under the jurisdiction of the civil courts.
If someone accuses you of engaging in alarming behavior that terrorizes them or makes them fear for their personal safety, the Dallas police may charge you with criminal harassment. There are various forms and levels of harassment, and being aware of the differences can keep you from crossing any legal lines and getting arrested.
Misdemeanors & felonies
Like with many other criminal offenses, harassment charges can range from low-level misdemeanors to felonies. For example, if you already have a harassment charge on your record, an additional conviction on the same offense will probably bring more severe consequences. The same is true when there is already a restraining order in place, as the next offense could result in even more serious charges.
Types of harassment
Under Texas criminal law, harassment occurs when a person has the intent to annoy, alarm, abuse or take some other damaging action toward another person. For example, if the perpetrator initiates communication with the victim and then makes an obscene comment, it could be donsidered harassment.
In general, any act that alarms the victim in any way might be harassment in the eyes of the law. Making false claims that someone close to the victim has suffered some kind of physical injury or death could be construed as harassment. So can repeatedly calling someone anonymously with the intent to annoy, embarrass or offend them.
Harassment is a serious charge with consequences that include fines and jail time. Furthermore, criminal convictions negatively impact almost all aspects of your personal and professional life. If you are facing harassment charges, understand that you have the right to build a proper defense in order to fight back.