This blog answers these common questions: What is criminal harassment in Colorado? What happens if you get accused of harassment? Can you go to jail for harassment?
What is considered harassment in Colorado
Colorado Springs residents that suddenly learn they are facing harassment charges immediately have two questions: What is criminal harassment in Colorado? and What happens if you get accused of harassment?
In most states, criminal harassment involves conducting behavior with the intent to alarm, annoy, torment, or terrorize. In general, the action must cause a credible threat to a person’s safety or that of their family before it rises to the level of harassment.
If you are being accused of or charged with criminal harassment in Colorado Springs, the accuser is claiming you intended to harass, annoy or alarm them. The critical component and one that can be challenging to prove is your intent at the time of the alleged behavior.
The state of Colorado categorizes criminal harassment as a class three misdemeanor (in most cases). It comes with a maximum penalty of six months in jail and a $750 fine. Harassment cases involve a lot of, “he said, she said” and vagaries.
Having a local qualified defense attorney like James Newby in Colorado Springs will help clarify the facts of the case and represent your side of the story in a non-emotional way. The ramifications of a harassment conviction go way beyond a fine and possible jail time. The shadow follows you around long after your penalties get served.
Striking, shoving, kicking or touching another person is harassment
Hitting, touching, or any variety of similar behaviors with intent to harass is the most common harassment offense in Colorado. You are prohibited from any touching of another done with the intent to harass, annoy, or alarm.
If the harassment leads to injury, the charge can upgrade to assault. Directing obscene language or gestures to another person in a public place when done with intent to harm can be considered harassment.
Phone or electronic harassment
Obscene, annoying, constant, threatening communication via phone or any electronic device is considered harassment if there is intent to harm. Or, if there is no legitimate conversation, the calls are outside regular hours, and they invade their privacy.
Learn More on Electronic Harassment: Kiana Arellano’s Law – Colorado’s strengthened electronic harassment law
Following a person in a public place is harassment
If the behavior escalates, it can become stalking. In Colorado, stalking is a severe offense.
If you are facing stalking charges, you are looking at significant prison time and hefty fines. According to Colorado Law, stalking entails repeated attempts to follow, approach, or contact a person or their family or others they have a relationship in a manner that causes a reasonable person to feel emotional stress.
A stalking conviction in Colorado comes with a potential one to three years in prison and fines from $1,000 – $100,000 for the first offense. That jumps to a class four felony with two to six years in prison and fines from $2,000 to $500,000 for a subsequent offense or if the offense is committed in violation of a protection order.
Speak with a harassment defense attorney
The seriousness of any harassment charge requires a serious defense attorney like James Newby who can help mount a strong defense against very significant allegations that can have a life-long impact. James is a former El Paso County DA and an experienced and creative Colorado Springs assault attorney with proven defense results. If you are facing criminal harassment or stalking charges, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney.