Under Arizona law, harassment is a crime that can affect both children and adults. ARS § 13-2921(E) defines harassment as conduct that is directed at a certain individual that would cause a reasonable person to feel seriously annoyed, alarmed, or harassed.
Due to advancements in technology, harassment is not only limited to physical encounters. It can also occur over the telephone, computer, or some other electronic device. In addition, harassment can affect all types of people, including employees, public officers, and others who may feel that they have experienced undue distress.
Harassment law in Arizona can be complex and without legal counsel, you could suffer the maximum punishment of this crime. If you have been charged with harassment, it is important to reach out to the Peoria harassment defense lawyers at JacksonWhite Law to discuss your case.
Harassment Laws in Peoria
In Arizona, harassment is a serious crime that can result in penalties that affect nearly all aspects of your life. There are different types of harassment that can influence punishment, such as sexual harassment, workplace bullying, and retaliation. You may be charged with harassment, or intent to harass if you:
- Contact, anonymously or not, another person by verbal, mechanical, electronic, telephonic, telegraphic, or written means in a way that harasses
- Follow another person in a public place for no legitimate purpose even after being asked to stop
- Repeatedly commit an act that harasses another person
- Interfere with the delivery of a public or regulated utility to a person
- Surveil a person for no legitimate purpose
- Make a false report to law enforcement, social service agency, or credit agency
If you are charged with aggravated harassment, the penalty can be more serious. Aggravated harassment occurs when you perform a harassing act against another person after the alleged victim has been granted an order of protection.
Harassment Penalties in Peoria
The punishment for a harassment conviction in Arizona is dependent on a number of factors, such as who the victim is and whether or not a lien has been filed. If the alleged victim is a government official and a non-authorized lien has been filed, it is considered a Class 5 felony. Possible punishments include probation, up to one year in jail, and six to two-and-one-half years in prison. If there has been one prior conviction, the offender may face one to three-and-three-fourths years in prison. If there are two prior convictions, the possible prison term can increase to three to seven-and-one-half years.
If the alleged victim of the harassment is not a government official and there has been no lien filed, the charge will typically be classified as a Class 1 misdemeanor. Possible penalties for this classification include up to three years of probation, up to six months in jail, mandatory classes and/or counseling sessions, and a $2,500 fine with an 84 percent surcharge.
Defenses for Harassment in Peoria
You can trust your Peoria harassment defense lawyer to recommend the best defense based on your unique case and the evidence presented. When building a defense, your lawyer will go forward with the primary goal of having your charges reduced or possibly dropped.
Some of the most common defenses for harassment in Peoria include proving a lack of knowledge or intent. The alleged offender may also be able to prove that the victim was not seriously annoyed, alarmed, or harassed from the act. In some instances, a Peoria criminal defense lawyer may argue that the alleged offender’s Miranda rights were violated and therefore the charges should be dropped or lowered from a felony to a misdemeanor.
Arizona Statutes § 13-604 allows the court system in Arizona to lower a Class 6 felony to a Class 1 misdemeanor in certain situations. This may occur when the act of harassment was non-violent or if it was the alleged offender’s first offense. This reduction in charges can result in considerably less jail time if convicted.
JacksonWhite Law in Peoria, Arizona
A charge of harassment can bring about uncertainty. You may not know where to turn or the best defense to use in court. Fortunately, the Peoria harassment defense lawyers at JacksonWhite Law are available to walk you through the process.
To avoid having harassment charges permanently damage your reputation, finances, and life as a whole, it is important to work with a capable legal team that will investigate the facts of your case and protect your rights. Reach out to the criminal defense lawyers at JacksonWhite Law today at our Peoria location to discuss your case.
Call the Peoria JacksonWhite Criminal Law team at (480) 467-4370 to discuss your case today.