Misdemeanor charges should be taken very seriously. While the penalties may not be as severe for misdemeanors as they are for felonies, facing a misdemeanor conviction still means you will potentially be hit with substantial fines, possible jail time, and other collateral damage to your personal and professional life. A misdemeanor conviction will end up on your permanent criminal record. It is something you will need to disclose on things like job and housing applications. The consequences of a misdemeanor conviction extend far outside of the justice system. This is why you should take a misdemeanor charge, such as one for aggravated harassment in the second degree seriously.
What is aggravated harassment in the second degree?
Aggravated harassment goes beyond a simple “harassment” charge in New York. There are different forms of aggravated harassment, most of which involve an intent to harass another person which is followed by certain conduct specified in the New York Penal Code. For instance, a person has an intent to harass another person and then communicates with the other person through telephone, mail, or electronic means, and threatens physical harm to the person. If you do this and knew that your actions would cause the other person to reasonably fear for his or her physical safety, then you may be charged with aggravated harassment.
In a case of aggravated harassment in the second degree, there may be a threat of harm, or there may be actual physical contact involved. The physical contact is not an essential element of an aggravated harassment charge. Nor is substantial harm necessary. As stated above, a real threat of harm that reasonably places another person in fear of harm or fearing for their physical safety is enough, combined with the intent to harass and harassing conduct, to substantiate an aggravated harassment charge.
In harassment cases, it is common to challenge the assertion that a certain course of conduct was actual harassment as opposed to just being insensitive, inflammatory, or rude. New York courts have said that profanity on its own does not constitute an intention to harass. Courts will consider many factors in determining whether conduct should be legally deemed to be harassing in nature. Courts will consider things like the age and gender of the alleged victim as well as his or her occupation. A person found guilty of aggravated harassment may be sentenced to up to 12 months in jail.
New York Misdemeanor Defense Attorneys
Misunderstandings often result in harassment cases. You may not have intended to harass another person, but your communications were taken out of context or the other person may have been particularly sensitive. Whatever the reason, you should not face the legal consequences of a harassment charge because of the misunderstanding. The dedicated criminal defense attorneys at CDH Law will help defend you against these charges so that the harassment charge does not become a conviction. Contact us today.