Every arrest and conviction for a harassment offense is a serious matter with significant consequences. However, the penalties tied to this conviction are even more significant in cases of aggravated harassment. It is vital to discuss these charges with a Wellington aggravated harassment Lawyer immediately following an arrest.
If you are facing aggravated harassment charges, any delay in seeking legal advice could work against you. The Prosecution will not hesitate to pursue charges aggressively, and only strong legal counsel can even the playing field. A dedicated defense Attorney could help you understand your options in an aggravated harassment case.
Understanding Aggravated Harassment
State law does not recognize the crime of harassment or aggravated harassment. While many jurisdictions create an individual offense related to this behavior, that is not the case in Wellington. Instead, the offense of stalking covers acts of harassment in addition to an array of other acts.
The law defines harassment as a repeated course of conduct that causes intentional emotional distress, particularly when there is no legitimate purpose for that behavior. Harassment could involve repeatedly calling someone and hanging up or following them in public areas. This behavior must be repetitive, as a single incident cannot result in a viable stalking charge. A knowledgeable Lawyer in Wellington understands the relationship between stalking and aggravated harassment charges and how to defend against them.
Standard vs. Aggravated Harassment Charges
There are important differences between harassment and aggravated harassment charges. These differences are essential, as aggravated charges can lead to substantially higher penalties. A Wellington Attorney could defend against allegations of aggravated harassment while protecting an individual’s rights.
Three elements can increase a harassment charge to aggravated harassment. The first is when a credible threat is made by the accused. A credible threat involves a verbal or nonverbal threat that puts another person in reasonable fear of harm. The second is when the alleged victim is under the age of 16. The third is when a person violates a no contact order following the conviction of a sex crime.
The penalties for aggravated harassment can vary. Each offense is a Felony, which means there is the possibility of significant Prison time. In most cases, a conviction will result in up to five years in Prison.
Defenses to Aggravated Harassment Charges
There could be several different, viable defense strategies available in these cases. One of the benefits of hiring an aggravated harassment Lawyer in Wellington is that they could evaluate a case to determine the best possible defense strategy.
One of the strongest defenses in these cases is based on the first amendment rights of the accused. Constitutionally protected activities—like protesting or picketing—offer a strong defense. In these cases, the constitutional right to free speech provides a person with a legitimate purpose for being somewhere.
Lack of Knowledge
Harassment is a crime of intent. Aggravated harassment charges are inappropriate when the accused is involved in behavior that they are unaware has an impact on another person. For example, repeatedly showing up at the same place as another person is not harassment if it is a coincidence.
Call a Wellington Aggravated Harassment Attorney Immediately
The consequences of an aggravated harassment conviction are severe. Thankfully, not every person arrested for this charge will face a conviction. If you are dealing with allegations of aggravated harassment, now is the time to seek legal counsel. Reach out to a Wellington aggravated harassment Lawyer today.