Types of Harassment, Potential Defenses in Harassment Cases
In New Hampshire, harassment is typically charged as a misdemeanor. Most often, a charge of Harassment involves some type of prohibited communication, typically telephone calls, that are made with the purpose of annoying, threatening, or alarming another. It constitutes harassment to make repeated communications at inconvenient hours or to use inappropriate language with the purpose of annoying or alarming another. Harassment also encompasses “insults,” “taunts,” or “challenges” in a manner likely to “provoke a violent or disorderly response.”
If you are charged with harassment, you may not know what legal steps to take to protect your rights. That’s why partnering with our skilled lawyer at Hayes Law, PLLC can help you through every step of the legal process.
Types of Harassment and Penalties
New Hampshire has several laws related to harassment that prohibit various types of behavior. The following are key harassment laws you should know:
Under New Hampshire’s Revised Statute 644:4, harassment is defined as a person’s behavior intended to harass, annoy, or alarm another person. Harassment may include physical contact, threats, or even verbal abuse. If convicted of harassment, an individual will face misdemeanor penalties.
Stalking is a criminal offense in New Hampshire under Statute 633:3-a, which describes stalking as a pattern of behavior, including following or surveilling someone, that causes a reasonable person to fear for their safety or the safety of their family. The behavior must also be intended to cause fear, intimidation, or harassment. A stalking conviction is a Class A misdemeanor, but subsequent offenses within a seven-year period are charged as a Class B felony.
Using technology or cyberbullying to harass, bully, or stalk someone may be referred to as online harassment. Cyberstalking or online harassment involves unlawful conduct, including the following:
- Sending threats, suggestive images, or repeated unwanted communications via text, messaging, social media, or email
- Posting damaging or false information on social media or online
- Impersonating someone on social media, email, or a website
- Enabling others to post private, personal, false, or offensive information about another
Online harassment can often fall into a gray area of harmful but not yet criminal. However, it doesn’t take much to cross the line into illegal conduct when the behavior makes the victim fear for their safety or suffer emotional distress.
Hate Crimes and Intimidation
Hate crimes and intimidation tactics based on a victim’s actual or perceived race, color, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, sexual preference, or religion can be charged as harassment and a hate crime. Similarly, targeting specific types of victims of harassment can result in criminal charges for intimidation.
Potential Defenses in Harassment Cases
It’s essential to handle a harassment case with an experienced harassment defense lawyer on your side to protect your legal rights throughout every step of the legal process. We can evaluate your best legal options based on the specific facts and circumstances of the case and determine the applicability of the following defenses:
- Lack of intent: Harassment requires a specific intent to harass, annoy, or alarm the victim. If the defendant did not have this intent, they may argue that their actions were not harassment.
- Mistaken identity: If the defendant was misidentified as the perpetrator of harassment, they may argue that they were not involved in the alleged harassment.
- False accusations: The defendant may argue that the victim falsely accused them of harassment for personal gain, revenge, or other reason.
- Self-defense: In some cases, a defendant may argue that their actions were in self-defense or in defense of others.
- Consent: If the victim consented to the defendant’s actions, the defendant may be able to argue that there was no harassment.
Navigating a harassment case can be complex without a harassment defense lawyer on your side. At Hayes Law, PLLC, we know that every harassment case is different. Our skilled harassment defense lawyer will determine the best potential defenses to lessen or expunge the charges against you and protect your rights every step of the way during the legal process.
Contact Our Nashua Harassment Attorney at Hayes Law, PLLC For Legal Help Today
If you are charged with harassment, you may not know what steps to take next. However, you don’t have to go through the legal process alone. That’s where hiring an experienced and aggressive harassment attorney in Nashua, New Hampshire comes in. Our harassment defense lawyers can fight the charges and mount a defense to protect your rights.
Pick up the phone and call our harassment attorneys from Hayes Law, PLLC at (978) 314-4950 or fill out our free consultation form today. We will do everything we can to lessen or mitigate the harassment charges against you.