A Criminal Harassment Conviction Can Threaten Everything
Once you realize the severe penalties that await you upon conviction, you will want to do everything possible to win a criminal harassment case in Colorado. Why?
Because Colorado law and prosecutors understand that criminal harassment can potentially terrorize and upend the lives of individuals on the receiving end of such conduct. They also know that the threats central to harassment charges often precede actual acts of violence that cause serious physical injury or death. That is why El Paso County prosecutors will aggressively pursue convictions for criminal harassment and why you will face life-changing consequences if they are successful.
The most important thing you can do to win a criminal harassment case in Colorado is to hire a local Colorado Springs criminal defense lawyer with substantial experience and a track record of success defending clients against such charges. You have rights and defenses that can lead to either an acquittal or a reduction of the charges. An experienced and tenacious attorney will thoroughly review and evaluate the prosecutors’ case, challenge their allegations and evidence, and present the defenses that can win a criminal harassment case.
What Criminal Harassment Is – And Isn’t – In Colorado
You won’t need to hire a lawyer to win a criminal harassment case just because you may say or act rudely or obnoxiously to other people. Being rude and obnoxious is not against the law. However, Colorado law recognizes that some conduct towards others crosses the line between annoying and threatening, between being classified as a jerk or a harasser.
Under Colorado’s primary criminal harassment law, C.R.S.18-9-111, several types of behavior and communications occurring in person, on the phone, and over the internet constitutes a criminal offense.
Doing the following actions “with intent to harass, annoy, or alarm another person” in Colorado, can result in prosecutors charging you with the crime of harassment:
- Physical contact. Striking, shoving, kicking, or otherwise touching a person or subjecting them to physical contact.
- Obscene language or gestures. Using obscene language or making an obscene gesture to or at another person in a public place.
- Stalking. Tracking a person in or around a public place (more on this below).
- Online harassment. Communication through internet or email with the intention to harass or threaten bodily injury or property damage or make any obscene comment, request, suggestion, or proposal using a electronic means.
- Phone harassment. Telephone calls or causing a telephone to ring repeatedly (whether the parties speak or not), without the purpose of legitimate communication.
- Fighting words. It is criminal harassment to repeatedly insult, taunt, challenge, or make communications in offensively coarse language such that it is likely to provoke a violent or disorderly response.
Except for stalking, harassment is a class 3 misdemeanor. However, harassment can be a class 1 misdemeanor if the harassment is occurring because of a person’s actual or perceived race, religion, color, ancestry, or national origin.
Stalking is a Particularly Serious Form Of Harassment
Stalking is a form of harassment that comes with particularly harsh consequences under Colorado law. You can face stalking charges and a conviction if you purposefully and repeatedly participate in conduct that involves a credible threat to an individual and/or causes them severe emotional distress.
Examples of repeated behavior that could result in a stalking charge include:
- Following someone and showing up wherever they are.
- Sending unwanted gifts, letters, cards, or emails.
- Damaging a person’s home, car, or other property.
- Monitoring phone calls or computer use.
- Using technology or other tools to track someone’s movements.
- Driving by or loitering in front of a person’s home, school, or work.
- Threatening to hurt an individual, members of their family, friends, or pets.
- Publishing false or private information or spreading rumors about someone, including over the internet, in public, or by spoken word.
Because of the potentially serious consequences of legitimate stalking offenses, a first stalking conviction in Colorado is a class 4 felony and comes with a potential one to a three-year prison sentence and fines from $1,000 – $100,000 for the first offense.
How Your Defense Lawyer Can Win a Criminal Harassment Case
To obtain a conviction for criminal harassment, prosecutors must prove all of the elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. An experienced Colorado Springs criminal harassment attorney can protect your rights and win a criminal harassment case by challenging the prosecutor’s evidence and raising several defenses, including:
- You did not communicate with the alleged victim.
- You did not threaten or contact the alleged victim.
- You did not intend to annoy, harm, or alarm anyone.
- Your communication was not obscene or patently offensive.
Any charge of harassment can get you time in prison, thousands of dollars in fines, and a lasting stain on your career, relationships, and reputation. If you face harassment or stalking charges, you should contact an experienced Colorado Springs criminal harassment defense lawyer as soon as possible for the best chance to win a criminal harassment case.
To Win A Criminal Harassment Case, Hire The Best Colorado Springs Criminal Harassment Lawyer
Because you are facing severe consequences upon conviction, you need an attorney with the experience and insight to help you win a criminal harassment case. You need the best criminal defense attorney in Colorado Springs who has experience as an El Paso County prosecutor and knows how to bring the best defense for your charges.
Schedule your free consultation with Colorado Springs’ best criminal defense attorneys today.