Criminal harassment is a serious offense. Often we see defendants who have been accused of harassment who claim their emotions got the best of them. They were angry and in the process of losing their temper, they broke the law. But loss of control is no excuse for criminal behavior. Whether you admit to breaking the law or if you believe the charges against you are bogus—we can help.
Under New York law, Harassment and Aggravated Harassment don’t involve the physical harming of another person—that would be an assault. But these crimes do involve putting someone in fear. And putting someone in fear for their safety is considered a serious thing. The penalties for these offenses, therefore, can seem particularly harsh.Charged with a crime in New York? Please call (888) 435-4744.
A criminal defense lawyer can help you understand the charges against you and what options might be available. They will aggressively pursue your best interests in court and help ensure your constitutional rights are protected at every stage of the game.
New York Harassment Laws
There are a few different classifications of Harassment laws in New York. Beginning with First Degree Harassment, the charges and penalties get progressively more severe.
First Degree Harassment – NY Penalties
Harassment in the first degree is defined as:
- Intentionally and repeatedly harassing another person by following them in a public place, or
- Engaging in a course of conduct which places another person in reasonable fear of physical injury.
This is considered a B Misdemeanor charge. A B Misdemeanor can carry up to 90 days in jail.
Ref: NY State Law §240.25
Second Degree Aggravated Harassment
Aggravated harassment in the second degree is considered more serious than a straight harassment charge. This offense is defined as acting with the intent to annoy, threaten, or alarm another person and:
- Communicating with them or causing someone to communicate with them in a way likely to cause annoyance or alarm, or
- Shoving, kicking, hitting, etc. another person because of their race, color, national origin, or religion.
This criminal offense is classified as an A Misdemeanor charge which carries a potential 1 year in jail.
Ref: NY State Law §240.30
First Degree Aggravated Harassment
There are two different ways to be convicted of this serious criminal offense. You could be charged with first degree aggravated harassment if:
- You’re accused of committed second degree aggravated harassment and you’ve been convicted of a 1st degree aggravated harassment charge in the past 10 years, or if you:
- Act with the intent to annoy, alarm, or threaten another person based on their race, color, national origin or religion and did more than $50 worth of damage to property used for religious purposes.
Unlike other harassment charges, this one is considered an E Felony charge. Depending on your criminal history, this could carry up to 4 years in prison.
Ref: NY State Law §240.31
Anytime you face potential jail time and a criminal record, you need to take things very seriously. Criminal charges don’t wait and neither should you. Contact our offices today to discuss your case and how we might be able to help.