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Harassment charges are typically filed as a class 3 misdemeanor, carrying a potential sentence of six months in jail or a fine of up to $750. There are some elements that may enhance the charges or make the case seem like it has a chance for conviction.
When harassment is used to intimidate or terrorize another person and is bias-motivated — based on their actual or perceived race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, class, age, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, or political affiliation — it may be charged as a hate crime. A hate crime charge elevates potential harassment sentencing to a class 1 misdemeanor with up to 18 months in jail and up to $5,000 fine.
In 2015, Kiana Arellano’s law was passed by the state legislature that adds:
“Directly or indirectly initiates communication with a person or directs language toward another person, anonymously or otherwise, by telephone, telephone network, data network, text message, instant message, computer, computer network, computer system, or another interactive electronic medium in a manner intended to harass or threaten bodily injury or property damage, or makes any comment, request, suggestion, or proposal by telephone, computer, computer network, computer system, or another interactive electronic medium that is obscene.”
This law does not enhance sentencing but means that charges do not require actual contact or face-to-face interaction.
Often, when another charge cannot be filed in a domestic situation — battery, stalking, sexual assault, etc. — LEO may use harassment charges as a reason to arrest you. If you are facing other domestic charges, harassment charges can be used to heighten those charges as an aggravating factor.
Potential Harassment Defenses
A conviction of Colorado misdemeanor harassment carries
For you to be charged with and found guilty of criminal harassment, law enforcement officers (LEO) are required to prove that you repeatedly made contact with your accuser with the intent to bother, annoy, or alarm them. The difference between harassment and attention is in the eye of the beholder and can shift as a matter of perspective and feeling. If you have been charged with harassment, don’t take a plea bargain just because the sentencing is light. Harassment charges in Colorado are typically used when LEO has nothing else to charge you with or their case for other charges is weak. Some defenses to harassment charges that have successfully been used to avoid misdemeanor conviction, jail time, and fines include:
- Freedom of speech
- Lack of intent to bother the accuser
- Unaware that the attention was unwanted or bothersome
- Romantic persistence
- Misperception by accuser — misidentification or interpretation
- Insensitivity is not a crime!
When you contact the criminal defense team at the Law Offices of Murphy and Price in Colorado Springs, we will proactively begin building your defense to reduce the impact on your life. Don’t hesitate to call the best legal team on your side — connect with us today.
While harassment charges are generally only filed as misdemeanors, it can still have severe and lasting consequences on your future and reputation. Get the defense you deserve when you enlist the help of the talented criminal defense team at the Law Offices of Murphy and Price, LLP. Our experienced Colorado Springs-based legal team can help you decide which options you have and aggressively defend your case. Contact us to schedule your consultation today.