Denton Harassment Charges

A man was recently charged with harassing a public servant in the Denton area. The man charged had been given a notice of criminal demand before his arrest. The man was later arrested for trespassing at America’s Best Value Inn and was taken to the Denton City Jail. This article serves to illustrate one of the many ways in which harassment charges are made in Texas. Harassment laws are enforced in Texas to criminalize undesirable or threatening behavior.

What Constitutes Harassment in Texas

Texas law defines harassment based on the intent of the person committing the offense as well as the behavior that is actually performed. Texas Penal Code Section 42.07 states that to be charged with harassment, a person must have the intent to abuse, alarm, annoy, embarrass, harass, or torment another person. There are many different types of behavior that Texas courts have found constitute harassment. Some examples of harassing behavior including requesting obscene activity from another person, threatening bodily harm against another person or that person’s property, conveying false reports about the death of another person, intentionally and repeatedly calling another person in an annoying manner, or sending electronic communications of an abusive or threatening manner.

Distinguishing Harassment from Bullying and Stalking

Harassment is similar to bullying and stalking, but there are some significant differences between the three acts. The main difference is that harassment often occurs via email, telephone, or text messages, while stalking and bullying often involve physically pursuing or sending items in a threatening manner.

Distinguishing Between Just Joking or Harassment

People can be charged with harassment even if they are only joking. In these cases, prosecution still must prove that the person sending the communication had the intent to abuse, alarm, annoy, embarrass, or torment someone. In some cases, a case must proceed to a jury who will make a decision about whether communication was actual harassment or someone who was “just joking.”

Penalties Associated with Harassment Charges

A person who is charged with harassment faces some serious penalties. Being convicted for the first time of harassment can result in a person facing up to six months in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,000. A second conviction for harassment will result in even more serious charges and is considered a Class A misdemeanor that results in a person facing up to one year in jail and/or a fine of up to $4,000. People who are charged with harassment can also be served restraining orders, which prohibit them from having any contact with the person that the order protects. Violating a protective order can result in a person facing serious penalties.

Speak with a Denton Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you or a loved one has been charged with harassment, the legal counsel at Wheeler Law Office can help you navigate the various obstacles that arise. We can help you create a strong defense to respond to harassment charges and can even negotiate for a plea bargain to reduce the resulting penalties if you are convicted. Contact our law office today for assistance.

(image courtesy of Malik Earnest)