Texting and calling someone may seem harmless, but in some cases it crosses a line and becomes illegal. When is texting and calling considered harassment in Colorado? Here’s what you need to know about this crime:
Harassing Texts and Phone Calls
The law defines many different types of harassment, but one of the most common ones involves harassing texts and phone calls. Calling another person over and over can be considered harassment, even if the person doesn’t answer or you hang up when he does. Sending texts—even if they are sent anonymously—can be considered harassment if they contain obscene, harassing, or threatening messages.
The time of day that you place these calls or send these texts may be used to determine if your behavior is harassing or not. Repeatedly contacting someone at an inconvenient hour is illegal. Most people assume that an “inconvenient hour” refers to the middle of the night, since this is when people would be the most annoyed by a phone call or text. But, that’s not the only time of day that could be considered inconvenient. It can be argued that any hour of the day is inconvenient if the calls or texts interfere with the victim’s ability to enjoy her privacy in her home.
The Intent of the Crime
In order for a behavior to be labeled as harassment, the intent of the accused must be to harass, annoy, or alarm the victim. A prosecutor must be able to prove intent to convict a defendant of harassment. A defendant who never intended on causing any harm by calling a victim or sending a text message should not be convicted of harassment.
There are a number of penalties that you may face if you are convicted of harassment. This crime is usually charged as a class 3 misdemeanor with maximum penalties of up to six months in jail and up to $750 in fines. However, the crime can be charged as a class 1 misdemeanor if the victim was targeted because of her race, religion, or national. Defendants who are convicted of a class 1 misdemeanor can face up to $5,000 in fines and 18 months in jail.
Harassment may be a misdemeanor, but it still carries serious penalties. If you have been charged with harassment, seek legal representation at once. Let the criminal defense attorneys at Reisch Law Firm defend you against these charges. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.