Under Arizona law, you’ve committed harassment if you’ve caused communication with someone via telephonic, electronic, or verbal means with the intention to harass them. To receive this charge, you must engage in behavior that would cause a reasonable individual to feel seriously harassed, annoyed, or alarmed.
Additionally, the behavior must have in fact harassed, annoyed, or alarmed that person. Harassment is a serious offense, so it’s important to seek legal support if you’re dealing with this charge. They may be able to get your felony charge reduced to a misdemeanor or dismissed entirely.
Harassment Laws in Mesa
In addition to contacting or communicating with someone in a harassing manner, harassment can mean following someone in public for no reason after they ask you to stop. It may also involve surveilling someone without a legitimate reason, repeatedly committing harassing acts, and making false reports to social service agencies, credit agencies, or law enforcement.
Harassment can also take the form of interfering with a regulated or public utility’s delivery. Or filing a non-consensual lien against an employee or public officer (in an attempt to “get even” and without a legitimate cause or official court judgment). To receive a conviction for this crime, you must have been acting with sufficient knowledge or intent.
If you commit harassment against the same victim who is protected under an injunction or valid court order, or have a previous domestic violence conviction, you may get an aggravated harassment charge. For an aggravated harassment charge, you may get a class 5 or class 6 felony on your record.
Harassment Penalties in Mesa
If the victim of harassment is a non-government official, and you have no lien against you for harassment, your crime may be classed as a class 1 misdemeanor. For this type of crime, you may spend up to 6 months in jail, get probation for up to 3 months, receive an order to attend counseling and classes, and owe a $2,500 fine (plus a surcharge).
If the victim of the crime is a government official and you filed a non-authorized lien against them, you may be guilty of a class 5 felony. If it’s your first offense, you may get up to a year in jail or go to prison for up to 2.5 years. With prior felonies on your record, the prison sentence escalates to up to 7.5 years.
In certain situations, courts in Mesa will allow you to have a class 6 felony charge reduced to a class 1 misdemeanor. This is especially likely if the crime was your first offense and didn’t involve violence. By working with a skilled harassment defense lawyer to lower your penalties, you could spend far less time in jail for a harassment charge.
Avoiding a felony conviction is always preferable, since it will come with a social taboo in addition to limiting your opportunities in life.
Defenses for Harassment in Mesa
If you were accused of harassment after picketing or engaging in a lawful demonstration, you can’t receive a conviction as you were using your rights to free speech. In other cases, someone may bring a harassment charge against you in the midst of a custody or divorce situation in order to get the upper-hand.
Your defense lawyer could show these factors and potentially get your charges dismissed. Other common defenses include Miranda Rights violations and challenging a search warrant’s legal validity. If you requested to speak with an attorney and were denied this right, that could also support your case.
JacksonWhite Law in Mesa, Arizona
JacksonWhite Law has been serving clients in the Mesa area since 1983. We offer a full range of legal assistance and have plenty of experience navigating cases just like yours with great success. As one of the biggest firms in the East Valley, we work to provide advanced, insightful legal solutions to families, businesses, and individuals throughout the state of Arizona.
From fines, to probation and jail time, being in legal trouble is no laughing matter. It could harm your opportunities in life and even make it harder to find a place to live. Speak with one of our skilled criminal defense lawyers today to get answers to your questions and to protect your future.
JacksonWhite Mesa Office
Our Mesa office is on the northwest corner of W. Pepper and N. Center Street. You may park on Pepper or in the parking garage nearby.
The Mesa city court is located on the northwest corner of Pomeroy Street and 1st Avenue. You’ll find a public parking garage behind the building, which you can access from Pomeroy or Main Street.
Call the JacksonWhite Criminal Law team at (480) 467-4370 to discuss your case today.