Harassment crimes in Arizona are treated very harshly and are usually prosecuted as felony offenses. A conviction carries significant penalties including prison, probation, jail time, and fines. It comes with major consequences that can ruin your life and reputation, and potentially affect your ability to find a good job, housing, or secure credit. We have seen many harassment crime cases and charges against innocent civilians. Let us help you prevent wrongful accusations against your name. At Snader Law Group, we do not just have the know-how and legal experience, we also empathize with our clients. We understand you.
If you have been accused of criminal harassment, it is important to take the charges seriously as they may result in a permanent criminal record. With the help of a knowledgeable Phoenix criminal defense attorney at Snader Law Group, you may be able to obtain a better outcome in your case. Call our Arizona criminal defense law firm now and schedule an initial consultation.
Why Do I Need a Harassment Defense Lawyer in Phoenix?
Harassment is a serious criminal charge and is considered a violent crime that carries severe long-term consequences. Your job, your home, and your family are at stake. Without the legal representation of a competent Phoenix harassment defense attorney, you’re prone to making mistakes that can result in your conviction.
At Snader Law Group, we have extensive experience in successfully defending clients against harassment charges in Arizona. When confronted with this situation, we ensure that your rights are protected and that your criminal defense case is being handled in the best way possible. Our criminal defense law firm will help you build a strong defense in court and help you fight for your freedom. Contact us now to know more about your legal options.
What is Harassment?
Harassment is defined in several different ways. People commit this criminal offense if they engage in an act that is directed at a specific person causing a reasonable person to be seriously harassed, annoyed, or alarmed. A credible harassment defense attorney in Phoenix AZ can help you know the nature of the charges.
Many harassment cases are linked to domestic violence. The accused may have caused unintentional harm to the accuser. If the alleged victim perceives a threat or feels emotionally harmed, he or she may press charges even if the effects of these actions were unintentional. Harassment charges may also be filed if one spouse wants to undermine the other’s potential for custody in divorce cases.
In Arizona law, you commit harassment if, with intent to harass or with the knowledge that you are harassing another individual, you:
- Contact a victim, whether as an anonymous or known individual, in a way that harasses him or her. This can be communicated verbally, mechanically, electronically, telephonically, telegraphically, or in writing.
- Keeping a person under surveillance, or asking another party to keep a person under surveillance, for no legitimate reason
- Continue to follow someone in or near a public place for no legitimate reason, even after being asked to leave
- Interfering with the delivery of any public utility to someone
- Making a false report to law enforcement, social services, or a credit agency
- Repeatedly commit an act to harass someone
What are the Penalties for Harassment in Arizona?
The penalties for harassment may vary depending upon the case’s circumstances and any earlier convictions on your criminal record. For any person who has a prior record, the penalty is enhanced. This means you will likely spend a long time in prison. When dealing with harassment charges, it is imperative to seek legal help from a reliable Phoenix harassment defense lawyer to protect your rights and avoid harsh penalties. In Arizona, harassment charges can range from a class 1 misdemeanor to a class 5 felony, depending on the situation.
Class 1 Misdemeanor
Most forms of harassment cases are considered class 1 misdemeanors. A class 1 misdemeanor is punishable by up to 6 months in prison, a fine of up to $2,500, and up to 3 years of probation.
Class 5 Felony
Harassment against a public officer or employee is a class 5 felony. This felony charge is punishable by 6 months to 2.5 years in prison, up to 3 years of probation, and a maximum fine of $150,000 plus surcharges. The punishment and consequences are enhanced if the convicted party has one or more prior convictions of harassment.
What are the Defenses Against Harassment in Arizona?
There are a variety of defenses for individuals charged with criminal harassment. The most effective legal defense can be determined based on the circumstances of the criminal offense. This includes the relationship between the accused and the alleged victim. The most important step in determining the best defenses available to you is consulting a skilled Phoenix harassment defense lawyer who can properly assess your criminal case.
The Victim Was Not Seriously Annoyed, Harassed, or Alarmed
This type of defense strategy is often used in harassment charges that are not filed by the victim. Instead, they might be filed by a family member without the alleged victim’s consent.
Even if the defendant knows he or she is harassing the victim and their actions qualify as harassment, the charge is not considered valid unless the alleged victim felt harassed. If the fear or annoyance of the alleged victim was not reasonable, or if the alleged victim was not truly alarmed or annoyed, then the facts do not satisfy the statute, and you are not guilty of harassment.
Lack of Intent or Knowledge
To prove a harassment case, Arizona laws require that the defendant acts with direct intent and knowledge to harass a victim. It means that even if the actions of the defendant alarm, annoy, or harass the victim, the defendant cannot be charged with harassment if they didn’t intend to or know that they were causing harm.
Miranda Rights Violations
One of the most common legal defenses against harassment charges is arguing that your case involves a Miranda rights violation. In any criminal case, the arresting law enforcement officer must read you your rights, and you’re eligible for every single one of them. If the law enforcement officer fails to deliver on either end, the court can discard the testimony and evidence unlawfully collected against you. In some cases, a serious Miranda rights violation may even result in dropping the harassment charges against you.
Lowering the Charge from a Felony to a Misdemeanor
In certain situations, if the action is non-violent or if it’s a first-time offense, Arizona law allows courts to lower a class 6 felony to a class 1 misdemeanor. Even if you’re guilty of harassment, taking advantage of this opportunity can mean the difference between spending 6 months in jail instead of 2 years in prison.
Call Our Seasoned Phoenix Harassment Defense Attorney Now!
Being charged with harassment can be an overwhelming and daunting experience. You may even face the permanent stigma of being a convicted felon. In addition, cases involving harassment can lead to broken relationships and embarrassment. When you’re facing harassment charges in Arizona, it’s imperative to seek legal advice from our experienced Phoenix harassment defense lawyers at Snader Law Group as soon as possible.
Our criminal defense law firm knows how to navigate Arizona harassment laws and the criminal justice system. Our Arizona board-certified criminal attorney Howard Snader can provide the aggressive and proactive defense you need. We can help you build strong defenses to the charge and spot weaknesses in the prosecutor’s case.
Protect your rights and secure your freedom. Call us now and schedule an initial consultation.